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University: expectations versus reality

Moving to university and living in halls of residence inevitably evokes a number of emotions within a student. Whether that be the stress of balancing a social life with reading and coursework, worrying if you will be homesick as soon as your parents leave and fearing the huge push to enduring an independent lifestyle.

Prior to moving, all students will have their expectations of what they feel university will actually be like, compared to the surprising or traumatic reality that is…being a student.


One of my biggest worries, and probably for a lot of new students, was making new friends at university. Will I bond with my flatmates? Do I have to initiate conversation first? What if no one likes me? Before I moved the University of Lincoln, I was fearful that socialising was going to be difficult and I was going to encounter endless awkward cases between people on my course and those living in my flat.

Fortunately, the reality is better than you think; your gut-wrenching nerves are set to ease when you’ve moved into halls. You have to remember that everyone is in the exact same position as you – as soon as I unpacked my suitcases, I plucked up the courage to knock on my flatmates’ doors to introduce myself.

Everyone is extremely friendly wherever you go, especially during fresher’s week. If you are struggling to bond with your flatmates, there are countless ways to find and make friends. There are a large variety of societies, clubs and social events to find people with similar hobbies to yourself, not to mention students on your course that clearly have similar interests.




Before I came to university, I heard many ‘horror’ stories regarding halls of residence. The ‘tiny’ rooms, thin walls and the struggle to achieve a homely feel is built up to make university accommodation seem intolerable. My expectations were instantly changed!

After a week of living in my room, I added all the homely touches to feel comfortable in both my work and personal space. From attending poster/craft sales, purchasing affordable fairy lights from Primark and ordering photos, it was more than simple to personalise my room to a look I’m happy with.

My top tip would be to find or bring something to university that makes you feel at ease; whether that be a memory box, a collection of photos or your favourite pillow, you are bound to feel at home in no time.



Coming to University of Lincoln open days and attending the applicant day, I was informed that my course would involve 13 hours contact time, on average, per week. My first expectation was that there would be so much time to socialise, keep on top of my work, cook, clean, wash my clothes and write my personal blog on a regular basis. However, it is the complete opposite.

The days seems to swiftly whiz by and before you know it, it’s going to be Christmas! Planning my time at university has been very wise since reality hit! I would strongly advise buying a planner or to-do list to ensure you’re ticking off all the important things you need to accomplish before the end of each day.

This way I’ve managed to prioritise my schedule – ensuring I can spend time studying and reading, whilst allocating time for socialising and my extra-curricular hobbies.


If you think you’ve worked out university before you’ve experienced it yourself, I can assure you that your expectations will never quite meet reality…

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