UMASS Blog

Five common myths about being a first year student

It’s one of those situations you can never imagine yourself actually being in before you are stood outside the accommodation entrance, wondering what crazy part of your brain told you that university was a good idea.

For me, it didn’t really sink in that I was at university until I was lying in my bed on the first night with my brain screaming at me: you are now fully responsible for yourself! You have to go food shopping! You have to wash your own underwear!

I think that’s how it is for a lot of people. At school, everyone makes such a big deal of university, that once you’ve actually made it, the whole scenario seems unreal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying university is not a big deal – it’s probably one of the most exhilarating and life-changing experiences you will have in your life, but when people build something up in their minds, it leads to a lot of misconceptions being formed.

University is wrapped up in a lot of myths – everything from what lectures will be like, to what friends you will make. So I’m writing this post to address some of these myths and to reassure you that, if you’re panicking right now, things really aren’t as scary as they seem.

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You have to drink to have fun

This is probably one of the most common misconceptions about university and one that is the least true. 1For example, the events during Welcome Week, which include bowling trips, quiz nights, club nights, treasure hunts and movie and pizza nights, offer students the opportunity to get involved in a variety of activities. Each university hall of residence has a student-elected Junior Common Room (JCR) who work together to enhance student life in halls.  The JCRs are well-aware that there is a good proportion of students who don’t drink alcohol and therefore make it their aim to have all-inclusive icebreaker events that everyone can get involved with. Manchester is such a diverse city with so much going on, that you won’t be stuck for choice of what to do!

 

I’m going to be too homesick to enjoy Welcome Week

This is another worry that a lot of first year students have, but there is so much support at hand that it should not worry you at all. I thought I was going to be really homesick, but I was so busy during Welcome Week that there really wasn’t time to think about what’s going on at home! A few of my friends were homesick, but we all had each other to talk to about it, so it didn’t last for long.

You will be surprised how quickly first term goes – before you know it, you will be back home for Christmas!

 

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 I have to change who I am to fit in

No! There are thousands of students in Manchester, all as unique and different as you can imagine! With all the different subjects, societies and communities within the University, you will find your people. What makes us different is why we make such a great University!

 

 

I will find my best friends in Welcome Week

Apart from those I met in halls, who are still my best friends today, it’s highly unlikely you will complete your circle of friends by the end of day one. Welcome Week is a great opportunity to meet as many people as possible and try things you’ve never done before – like joining crazy societies and taking impromptu trips! However, don’t panic if you don’t find your ‘best friends’ during the first week. A large majority of the friends I have now are a mix from my subject and halls, but a lot of them I only met after Welcome Week.

 

I don’t need to work hard in first year, it doesn’t count!
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I wish this one was true, but alas, it is not. Although my first year didn’t count, I still felt it was important to work as hard as you can.  It is important to build up a good reputation among tutors and try to improve as much as possible to set yourself

in good stead for second year.

Your first year is a really good opportunity to get to grips with university level of study and you’re not going to get any better if you don’t put any effort in. Also, it feels good when you get grades back and you can see how much you’ve improved from the start of the year! However, it’s also a good idea to keep a balance between working hard and having fun – first year is about making great friends and trying out lots of new things to start your university career off with a bang!