Where do I begin? It’s been quite an eventful 3 months. University is a funny place. It’s all-consuming and loud and messy and fascinating and new. Moving to a new country for university is an even bigger challenge. But it’s beautiful. New places become familiar, strangers become friends and home becomes dearer. I found out that I’d got into the University of Warwick in July and I left in September.
I had assumed certain truths about university and the experience I was going to have once I got there. You’ll be surprised to know that 3/4th of my assumptions turned out to be grossly incorrect. Therefore, the following is a list of 9 general perceptions that I or others have held of university, and whether they proved to be true or false.
- I must pack my entire childhood bedroom into a suitcase and take it with me to University.
-False. Yes, packing was this daunting task that hung over me for a week because I kept procrastinating actually doing it, but I didn’t have to take every top or book or mug I ever owned. Did I wish I had Mary Poppins’ bag? Yes. Did I need it? Not really. I ended up shopping quite a bit there, especially for warm clothing and things for my room and kitchen.
- Racism exists everywhere.
-False. I have lived in Coventry, UK for 3 months now and I haven’t encountered racism even once; not from professors or students or even other people in general. I’d chuckle sceptically every time I saw a college brochure with a generic white, black and Asian person laughing together on the cover. But that’s not really far from the truth.
- British people are extremely polite.
-I’m going to have to say that this is mostly true. I’ve noticed that the majority of Britons are a civil, easy-going bunch. When my train was delayed, two announcements were made at the station and none of them were about the ETA of the train. They were just apologies; literally just two profuse “I’m sorry”s.
I sometimes also feel like politeness is a curse placed on the British and there’s nothing they can do about it. My friend was telling me about a time when she was waiting in line to buy something but a lady cut the line. In her words, “We were so furious and shocked that we gave her looks of anger and disapproval. We whispered about her to each other. But, we did absolutely nothing about it.” I was in fits of laughter.
- Chinese students are extremely unfriendly. The French are a snobbish lot. The [Insert Nationality] are [Insert Brash Generalisation].
-SO False. Stereotyping a certain community of people in your head is never a smart thing to do. You’ll always be surprised by that really friendly Chinese girl and the extremely pleasant French boy. Okay so I’m basically a victim of this phenomenon because I just called all the British polite. When I find a really rude Briton, I’ll update this blog post.
- I’ll starve at university because of expensive food and zero cooking skills.
-Um. Okay this is False. I don’t starve. Yes, I have to think about what to eat for every next meal but I’ve never been a fussy eater. The oven and toaster are my new best friends and I learnt so much simply because I was tired of sandwiches and pizza.
Useful tip: Cereal can be really filling. If you have a lot of it. Just don’t ruin your milk to cereal ratio.
- I’ll be a loner with no friends.
-False. It’s impossible to be friendless at University. You meet people in your flat, in classes, at societies and various other social events. You’re bound to find people you like, and who like you.
I met two guys at university and when I found out they were twins, I asked if they were identical. One of them replied, “If we were, you wouldn’t have to ask us this question.” I was sure they thought that I was really stupid but we’ve been great friends ever since.
- I’ll have a dreamy romance as soon as I reach university.
-I do have friends who found that special someone quick enough, either in the form of actual love or as a quick rendezvous in a drunken party. I doubt the latter counts as a dreamy romance, but you should know that finding love at University is a possibility. 10% of Warwick Graduates are married to someone they met at University. Never mind that I read this in an article while I was sitting my room, all alone, devouring a tub of Cookie Dough ice-cream (that I bought on discount because I’m poor). Never mind me.
- Studies at University will require really hard work.
-This is true if you want to make an effort to do well. The University has already handpicked the smartest kids and outsmarting them will obviously be difficult. So, it’s hard work but it’s definitely doable. One of my lecturers mentioned that excelling at university isn’t really about talent. If you think other students are doing way better than you are, it isn’t because they’re inherently smarter, but because they’re actually working harder. If you put in enough time during the day but have a chill night out with friends, you’ve struck the perfect balance.
- It’ll be the best time of your life.
-To be honest, I don’t know if this is true or false because I’ve had only 19 years’ worth of a life until now. But I can definitely say that these three months have been the most fulfilling I’ve had so far. I’ve made great friends and had brilliant experiences that I know I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t stepped out of home.
University is an experience definitely worth having, whether it’s in your own country or in another. After three months of carrying heavy Tesco grocery bags, meeting new people everyday, spending half my life in the library, watching the sun set at 4 pm, binge eating chocolate McVities, having dinner with friends almost every night and listening to Christmas songs for an entire month, I can say that University so far has been a great run. If you have any questions concerning University or applying for it, please don’t hesitate to ask.
I hope you have a great 2016. Excuse me while I go toast some expired bread. #justbrokestudentthings