As most people do, I had some expectations when I first came to university. Not necessarily expectations that needed to be met, but expectations that were unconsciously created in my head about how university would be and how the experience would be overall.
Of course, different people create different expectations. I will talk about the expectations I had versus the reality and what actually happened during my first year of uni.
Before coming to uni, when I was still in high school, all teachers would say was that you would only study subjects you like at university. It wouldn't be like school where you're studying subjects that don't interest you. I mean this with no bad intent, but that may not be entirely true.
Let me explain. I absolutely preferred my modules at university during the first year to the subjects I took in school. However, that doesn't mean that I loved every single one of them. I didn't, and that's okay.
We do more general modules during the first year that will help us choose our optional modules in the next few years. It may mean that you're not interested in all of them, but they are still essential for your degree. I think this is an important 'reality' to talk about.
This is so that when you come to university, you are not disappointed or upset. I recommend looking at your modules before starting university and familiarising yourself with them (whether you are still applying or already know you will attend the university). It's okay not to love every single module you take, and, in my opinion, they are all important.
It is also super nice that we get to choose two modules – in my course, it might be different in different courses – for the second year, as it allows us to determine the direction we want to go. Now, this may not apply to everyone, it was simply something I went through in the first couple of weeks that I think is important for future students to know.
With that being said, before coming to university, I thought the workload would be hefty. We don't receive a grade average that counts towards our final grade during the first year, which was something I was unaware of before coming. This is, so we all get to the same level of knowledge and have the same opportunities.
I don't know if it was because I had taken some modules in high school that were similar to the ones I was taking during this year, but the workload was way lighter than I thought. After talking to friends, we all said that there is less work, but our work is a lot harder and more in-depth than in high school. This was quite good because it allowed me to join different activities and societies at the university.
I have heard, and I think it is common knowledge for the first years, that the second year of uni is quite hard and heavy on the workload, but maybe I'll write a blog post a year from now and let you know 🙂 Because the workload was manageable with good time management, it also allowed me to go out and explore Bath way more than I thought I was going to. Not only on nights out with friends but also visiting more tourist places. Bath is a beautiful city, and my advice to all of you is to visit Bath and not take the city for granted.
The last and probably biggest assumption about university that I had was that my flatmates and I would be really close and genuinely become friends. This turned out to be the reality. Even though it doesn't always happen, and that's okay.
I was pretty lucky and really couldn't have asked for a better flat. My flatmates and I got along from the first day and think it is really good having a good relationship with the people you live with. I'm really glad that it all worked out and that my expectation became a reality for this one. It is really good to have a support system within the flat. It's almost as if we are our own little family.
My advice for first-year students
With that being said, this isn't so much of an assumption but more something I didn't think about and just thought it would be like when I was in school. The first year of university flies by. Literally, it was one of the fastest academic years of my life.
You're always so busy with work, going out, and making friends that everything goes by quickly. It's bittersweet, really. So my advice is to take in every moment and enjoy your first year, enjoy living in student accommodation and living with your flatmates and make the best out of your first year of university!