Going to uni: Expectations vs. reality

23 Feb 2020
Student socialising with friends

Going to uni for the first time can be a pretty life-altering experience. Suddenly your life is turned upside down, with a new town, new accommodation and new people. If you’re a student counting down the days until September, it’s only natural that you’re feeling a bit anxious, and I’m guessing that your head is filled to the brim with lots of different expectations.

So I’ve gathered some of the thoughts and worries I had before coming to uni, followed by how things actually turned out. Perhaps you worry about the same things I did, but let me assure you, everything’s gonna turn out just fine.


1. “Everyone’s going to be so much smarter than me!”

You’re going into the first year of your course and so is everyone else you’ll be in lectures with. You’ll all be together in a situation where your job is to learn the subject matter, and of course, you won’t be expected to excel at or already know everything you’re going to learn before coming to uni. Everyone brings different types and amounts of experience to the table; some of your peers may have studied before, some may have taken a gap year and some may be adults going back into uni, but you also bring your own experience. Don’t worry about everyone else being so much smarter than you, they’re here to learn too.

2. “I won’t fit in anywhere or make any friends”

There are over 7000 students at the University of Winchester. This means that there are a lot of different people, with different thoughts, views, interests, characteristics and abilities. Combine this with the fact that most students come to uni without really knowing anyone, and this creates a situation that makes it very easy to make friends and acquaintances. With such a great variety of people, finding someone that fits you and that you enjoy hanging out with isn’t hard at all.

3. “I’m not good at anything, I can’t join any clubs or societies”

Yes, you can! As already mentioned, there are so many exciting and interesting clubs and societies, and almost all of them welcome beginners with open arms and a “you can do this” kind of attitude. What a perfect way to learn something new and maybe even find your new favourite activity!

4. “All the lecturers are going to be really strict and scary”

Of course, no lecturer is the same, just like no student is the same. This means that they all have their distinct and personal teaching methods and techniques. However, when that is said, it’s also important to make it clear that personally, I have yet to meet a lecturer at the uni who doesn’t want what’s best for their students. The good thing about going to a smaller university is that all your lecturers end up knowing you personally; they know your name, your academic strengths and what you’re struggling with in their modules. Yes, they expect you to work hard, pay attention and be prepared for your lectures, but in return they do their best to help every student enjoy and get the most out of their course. They help you achieve your goals and they want you to succeed.

Yes, you’re supposed to have a couple of butterflies in your stomach now that the start of term is getting closer. But just remember that you’re entering a learning situation with lots of other students, who all want to get the most out of their university time, just like you do. Just try your best and be open to new experiences, and you’ll have a great time.

Just remember: you’ve got this.

About the author

Andrea Johansen - BA (Hons) Creative Writing

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