When you’re in high school, the prospect of going to uni is often focused on choosing the right school subjects and achieving a great ATAR, but there are so many other things that aren’t discussed as often.
What are your expectations of university, both academically and socially? If you have friends and family who’ve gone to uni, there’s probably a bunch of stuff they’ve forgotten to mention.
Here are ten things people don’t tell you about university.
1. You get to be yourself and find your tribe
This is a time when you can break out of your shell and be yourself. You’ll also meet so many like-minded people. If you have a quirky sense of humour that nobody understood in high school, there will be others just the same. Or if you want to find fellow Game of Thrones fanatics who agree with your controversial view that the final season was the best ever, you can. It’s typical to make friends through class but joining clubs and societies is another great opportunity. Chess, photography, dance – your tribe is waiting.
2. It’s less cliquey than high school
Goodbye high school and all that cool group/nerd group/sporty group business. One of the differences between high school and university is that university students are more open-minded, mature, and the vast majority are willing to have a chat to their fellow student.
3. Nobody cares about your ATAR
All of Year 11 and 12 has been focused on climbing the summit of your academic life: conquering ATAR. Now here’s the most welcome news of the day: once you get into uni, nobody cares what score you got and you’ll probably never be asked anyway. This is a major relief if you didn’t do as well as you’d have liked. It’s also worth mentioning that your high school performance isn’t necessarily a sign of your future success at university.
4. You’ll have loads of class-free time
After 12 years of being told when and where you need to be, uni schedules can be mind boggling. But here’s the thing: you’ll need to be far more proactive about your studies now and put in more study hours than you might think. There are lots of opportunities to join clubs and sporting teams, work different hours at your job, and you can meet up with people for coffee whenever you like throughout the day.
5. You’re not stuck with the course you enrolled in
You probably spent most of your final school year carefully weighing up which degree is right for you. This wasn’t a wasted exercise but the fact is lots of people change their minds once enrolled. You might figure this out in your first week, or maybe in your second year. Even better news, you can (usually) swap courses fairly easily.
6. It’s okay to miss home and your old life
You’ll be adulting with more freedom than you could have ever imagined. So why then, would you feel sad or lonely? For young students, especially those who have moved out for the first time or are far away from home, this is an enormous life change. It’s okay to be homesick. It’s okay to miss your friends or your old routine. It’s even okay to miss high school! It will naturally take time to adjust but if you’re finding it really hard, there are lots of support services available.
7. Your teachers can help in multiple ways
Your lecturers and tutors are not just there to present a class. They’re very approachable, they’ll happily give you advice on assignments or topics you’re unsure about, and they can even be a reference for jobs you’re applying for. If you’re a high achiever, they might even recommend you for a graduate position they’ve heard about.
8. Work experience matters
Don’t wait until you’re about to graduate to do work experience. This is an invaluable part of your academic life and employers look favourably on those who had the motivation to do unpaid work in their future field while juggling their studies. And it will show you what you do and don’t like about your future career.
9. There’s nobody watching over your shoulder
You’ve had gentle prompting all the way through your academic life so far. Your teacher reminding you about assignment due dates, or your mum and dad pestering you to finish homework, for example. At uni, nobody will chase you for assignments or tell you off for not attending lectures. This sounds like a blessing but it really means you are now fully responsible for yourself and whether (or not) you succeed.
10. Avoid pulling all-nighters
Although this is sometimes worn as a badge of honour, leaving assignments until the last minute or cramming for exams is a total recipe for disaster. Not to mention a mountain of stress for you. Start your assignments early and take a course on time management and other crucial study skills. Future self with thank you.
To see for yourself what uni is really like, join us at Open Day on Sunday 26 July 2020.