You know that saying ‘never judge a book by its cover? I’m pretty sure that’s what we all did when we thought about coming to university. Have you seen Gossip Girl, 90210 or maybe American Pie? It’s all about cliques, fraternities, parties and fun, isn’t it? The perfect image you have in your head of you and your new besties walking around campus looking like a scene from the next Mean Girls movie. Or the guy’s sports team wearing their uni jackets looking so cool standing outside the library, thinking how the girls will all drop at their feet because you know, they’re the new ‘gods’ on campus.

Well, that idea probably lasted for the first couple of months into university. Pretty soon your first friendship group will fall apart because someone forgot to wash the dishes and it piled up in the sink, to the point where you can’t tell where the tap is anymore. Oh, and we all have that one housemate that listens to music way too loud at night and the other housemate that always has to make secret noise complains about it. First fail? First friendships.

From an academic perspective, you probably thought you picked the right degree and that’s exactly what your life is going to look like in the future. For some of us, when asked if we love our degree, we would take the first chance to go back in time, to the exact moment we picked it, turn 180 degrees and run for the hills. At first you were thinking about finishing top in your class, now you’re just wondering how much you need to get in your final exam to pass your module. Either that or you already started to think a career in retail doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all. Second fail? Thinking you had it all figured out.

You thought university would be about finding yourself and what you want from life. Be a role model student in the morning and a party animal at night. However, that didn’t go quite as planned. Fingers crossed that next semester your lectures will be after 12pm because often that’s the only realistic time that you can make it to class. And if before uni you thought you could handle your drink, now you’re wondering exactly when your life went wrong last night and how you ended up on the bench next to the lake the next morning. Third fail? Planning your life around Rubix.

Leaving home was meant to be all about a fresh start, you even have a planner on your wall of how you’re going to do laundry regularly, cook for yourself, have a balanced diet and go to the gym! Well that probably flopped too because you’ve called your parents at least three times in the last three days saying that you can’t take it anymore, and you’re ready to come home anytime and be a child forever. You’ve finally decided adulting is not your thing and whoever said that university are the best years of your life, probably didn’t actually go. At this point, finishing uni alive will be an achievement because the amount of times you’ve had a mental breakdown throughout your time here is unbelievable. Fourth fail? Thinking adulting was going to be easy.

Something that just can’t be avoided is the inevitable drama. And when we say drama, we mean romantic relationship drama. Here might be an appropriate time to quote Taylor Swift, because we all thought about it at some point: ‘I don’t love the drama, it loves me!’. Let’s just say your Prince or Princess Charming is out there on foot rather than riding a white horse, so that’s probably why it’s taking so long for them to show up! If we had a penny for every time we felt more attached to a fictional character in a TV series than to people in real life, we could actually afford to pay our tuition fees. Fifth fail? Thinking you’ll find the love of your life at Citrus.

University can be hard, so SUBCULTURED trailed campus to find out what you had to say about your experiences:


“Take each day at a time. Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns. So, do not fall into the trap of thinking that you can control everything around you, Embrace the inevitability and enjoy the moment. University offers the best social time of your life.

                                                                                                     – Anonymous

“I always imagined I would have more than enough time for everything- sports, studying, social life and food. But next thing you know you’re making jam sandwiches in lectures, writing reports at 2am and using a frying pan as a ping pong bat. All that being said though, I would not change a thing.”

                                                                                                     – Chemical Engineering student

“In terms of having a love life, don’t go looking for it, let it find you! There’s thousands of students, thousands of opportunities, don’t get tied down thinking about men, enjoy your uni experience to the fullest. If it happens, it happens, and let it!”

                                                                                                     – A.M

“I thought university would be a time I matured and became boring but instead, I became more adventurous and more childish”

                                                                                                      – Caesar Choueiry

“University is expensive; however, they have money and resources. If you decide to commit and you have ambitions and goals, make sure you hunt down the right department, enterprise team or person to make it happen as soon as possible. Don’t wait until last minute/year as time is precious. Once you’re gone, you’re leaving behind a big pool of potential networks. Good luck!”

                                                                                                      – Letisha Larmond

“Uni is the only time in life when you are surrounded by so many people mostly of your age with the same interests and that came here with the same purpose. You meet people from all around the word and each one of them has a different story to tell and a different thing you can learn from them. So, meet as many people as you can, learn as much as you can from them and just enjoy your life!”

                                                                                                      – Donna Darafshian


So what is the moral of the story? If you take a step back from everything and look at the whole picture, it might not be everything you expected and there are plenty of ups and downs. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Text by Maria-Alexandra Pripiș

Picture research by Juliey Pham; featured image from WeHeartIt.