Date posted: 29/04/2019

Uni life: Expectations vs. reality

What's uni life really like? From making sure you have enough money to pay your phone bill and feed yourself, to getting the balance between studying vs hanging out with your mates just right - we've got the lowdown on what you can expect.

When you catch yourself feeling FOMO because you're deep in the Instagram scroll, remember: it's a filtered version of reality. We take a look at some of the misconceptions students may have about life beyond high school, and how reality really matches up. Let's get real!

Living away from home 🙌

While you might be singing hallelujah for your new-found freedom, and think it means doing whatever you want, when you want - many students move to an on-campus residence or share-house situation rather than living alone when they first move out of home.

Everyone is an individual, which means that sometimes you may find yourself living with someone who has different ways of doing things - from cleaning and keeping organised, to playing loud music while you're trying to catch some zzz's or watching bad reality TV all day. In times of stress or frustration, remember it's also likely that you may be doing something your roommates aren't used to either.

Living with others who aren't your family or close friends can be an excellent opportunity to practice patience, develop tolerance and assert boundaries in an effective way. Life skills FTW!

For those who don't move out and stay at home while going through uni, it's still an exercise in #adulting as you have to get the hang of commuting to campus, keep in line with your parents' expectations, and try to make new friends without living with or close to them. Signing up to societies, clubs and online groups is a great way to meet new people, socialise and stay connected.

Managing your finances 💰

Make the most of your student budget by thinking ahead rather than in the moment. While you should definitely treat yourself every now and again, learning to budget and prioritise for what you need right now can make a real difference to your savings.

Becoming a budgeting pro will empower you to feel in control of your money, and better still - save for those big-ticket items you really want. Hello new phone and concert tix!

Cooking at home is also a no-brainer when it comes to saving money, and while you might not be making gourmet meals like on Masterchef, you can still be creative on a moderate budget.

Studying doesn't have to be boring 📝

Your insta feed of glamorous celebs and rich kids of the internet might create the illusion that life after study - be it at university or in the workforce - is just one, perpetual party, or episode of Gossip Girl...

But on social media uni students rarely boast about real-life stuff like trips to the library to check-out textbooks, assignment deadlines or doing the laundry and dishes. It's important to find a good balance between time spent having fun and studying up. Once you've aced the exams, there's always time to party and celebrate after.

While studying might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you're coming up with ideas for things to do with friends, it can actually be a great exam prep strategy. It gives you an opportunity to revise and get to know your classmates better at the same time, and there's a bond that forms between students who study together or share notes that's well worth the hard work.

Landing your dream internship or job ✅

Don't just wait for your dream job to land in your lap; seek out opportunities for practical experience, get prepared and put your best foot forward instead. Putting in the time and effort necessary to craft a solid application that effectively demonstrates your skills, knowledge and experience will mean you've given yourself the best chance at success, rather than waiting for someone to realise your potential on their own.

Learning how to write a great CV is a great place to start. Just think, taking these strides to improve your approach to applying for career opportunities now means you'll have the tools you need to apply for your dream job opportunity when it comes up in the future!