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Student Life

Lies that Stock Photos Tell You About University

If you were to type into a well-known popular search engine (that rhymes with Moogle) the word “university” you’re likely to see pictures of groups of very happy students in beautiful sunshine. But what’s the reality? We’re here to break the truth to you. You’ll thank us in the long-run.


What It Suggests…

All lectures are full of incredibly engaged students. Everyone looks at their lecturer like they’re imparting the meaning of life and how to win the lottery all in the space of an hour.


What It’s Actually Like…

Of course, some students do actually pay attention like their degree status depends on it (which it kinda does), but you’ll never get an entire lecture hall doing this.

In most lectures you’ll see refreshing of every social media timeline in existence, selfies being taken next to sleeping students, notes passed between mates who couldn’t find seats together because they came in too late, and people just blatantly walking out because they’re actually meant to be next door.


What It Suggests…

At university, it seems like groups of friends regularly hang out on the steps with all their textbooks and laptops. And they’re incredibly happy about studying outside, even though it’s the UK and therefore clearly colder than a polar bear with frostbite.


What It’s Actually Like

Being realistic, if you’re studying it’s not going to be outside on the steps, for one you’d just get in everyone’s way and make a nuisance of yourself, but also British weather means you’d get pneumonia if you actually did that.

No, you’ll study in either in the library or your student flat. And if you do study with friends it won’t take long before you realise you’re all just a massive distraction to each other and decide that solo studying is really the way forward.

Speaking of the library….


What It Suggests…

All students work quietly in the library, either revising or on their latest essay, which is due next month but they’ve almost finished.


What It’s Actually Like

There’s only so long that you can spend in a library before the temptation to procrastinate will take over. Cue long Facebook sessions, chatting so loudly with your mates you get dirty looks from the uni librarian, and pranks on those who have equally given up on doing actual work.

Oh, and the other thing you’ll never see in stock photos, there’s never enough computers for everyone, so the library can sometimes become like a real-life Hunger Games. And just like the real thing, no one really wants to win this one either as it means they can’t go home and sit in the pyjamas like they really want to.


What It Suggests

Everyone is having a laugh and a joke in student halls (seriously, what is SO funny about being at university?), and the house is so immaculately clean that even your parents couldn’t accuse you of living in a pig sty, and they say that when there’s a single shirt on the floor….

What It’s Actually Like

You’ll start with good intentions but your student house is likely to remain spotless for approximately ten minutes before it gets completely destroyed with mess. The most common sights will be piles of washing up that’s so large you’re buying plastic spoons just so you don’t have to deal with it, a bin that gets emptied so rarely that you’re all playing a game of “if it balances and doesn’t fall I don’t have to take it out” every few weeks, and the smell doesn’t bother you anymore because you’re THAT used to it.

You’ll have a cleaning rota of course, but no one will pay attention to it, apart from the person who devised it, who will spend all their time complaining about the fact no one is adhering to it. They’re the fun one of the house, obviously.


What it Suggests

Campuses are empty with only a few students pottering around. You’ll always see open spaces, beautiful surroundings and plenty of space for a peaceful walk.


What It’s Actually Like

Given there are currently over 530,00 students currently in university, don’t be hugely surprised if sometimes you can feel a little cramped on campus from time to time.

If you’re not dodging around societies trying to get new members or bums on seats at their next event, or the latest students’ union election campaign, you’re trying to run through hoards of students who are equally late to classes as you are. The only time it’ll look like a stock image is during the holidays when everyone goes home…


What It Suggests….

Despite your inability to cook pasta at home, university will make you the next MasterChef champion. There’s modern kitchens, beautiful (and healthy) ingredients and you’ll know how to cook each and every one of them, even the aubergine.


What Actually Happens

Even if you’ve got more skills than both Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey combined, often student kitchen equipment (and the lack of clean pots and pans and your pride that you aren’t washing up Steven’s mess), will mean you’ll use your initiative to just cook the basics…or just eat a Pot Noodle, either way….


What It Suggests…

People make friends on campus, in nice, clean rooms (often with white walls), or on nights out in really nice outfits, all with lots of cheesy grins and usually with a phone in their hand. Cringe.


What Actually Happens

Sure, you’ll make friends in lectures and in halls, but those friendships will mainly be strengthened by trips into your local town or city. There’s usually fancy dress (or the same outfit you’ve worn for the past two days, whichever is closest to the bed when you wake up), falling over, cheesy chips on the way home and unflattering photos that you’ll never dare show to anyone. It’s not as glamorous or clean as the stock images may portray, but it’s ten times more fun.  


What It Suggests…

As a student, if you need money, just go to the cash point and they will be some in your account to take out. Simple.


What Actually Happens

There comes a point in the term where there’s literally no point looking at your bank account, because it’ll just be so close to the end of your overdraft it’ll make you panic (this is usually a few weeks after the student loan has gone in and you got too excited and spent it all on a lavish food shop). So, it’s time to visit the bank of mum and dad, look behind every sofa in the SU building and at home, and then eat/drink/party on the most basic of budgets. You’ll look back on this time fondly in a few years, we promise.

For more advice and insight into university student life, head this way…

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