Busting Myths About Your First Semester in University

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

For most people, university is a fresh start — the beginning of adulthood and discovering more about themselves. But as with every new beginning, what lies ahead seems uncertain.

These feelings of anxiety are natural, especially for young people about to enter a new environment. However, some of the things you have heard about university could simply be untrue. Here are some of the myths and truths about university.

The Hive at Nanyang Technological University (Wengang Zhai/Unsplash)

“You don’t have to study much.”

In the past, I received advice such as: “University is so much easier than ‘A’ Levels!”

It is not.

A common misconception is that university is all about having fun, partying and socialising. I found that while I had more freedom to do so, most of my time was spent studying or working on projects. Since almost every test or assessment can have an impact on your Grade Point Average (GPA), it is important to be consistent.

However, by taking modules that I was interested in, I felt that most of my projects were enjoyable sources of learning for me, rather than actual work. Choosing the right major, rather than conforming to expectations, can greatly improve the university experience for you too.

“You have to be really outgoing.”

While it is important to be open to making new friends, you don’t have to be a bubbly extrovert to enjoy your university life. In fact, due to the diverse backgrounds of everyone entering university, you are bound to find people with similar personalities and shared interests across your many classes.

That being said, you can still step out of your comfort zone. You can join interest groups that you could not explore previously. The vast amount of autonomy in university means that you can experiment without feeling too much peer pressure.

“You have to be fully independent.”

The majority of university students are young adults, who are only a couple of years older than their teenage counterparts. While you do gain independence in university, there is no need to rush into being a fully functioning adult who knows it all.

In university, I found that I asked a lot more questions. Part of it was because class participation made up part of my grade. But for the most part, I also felt that I was invested in what I was learning and wanted to clarify my doubts instead of struggling on my own. Generally, most professors and classmates are accommodating towards students who ask questions.

Residential halls at the National University of Singapore (Jiachen Lin/Unsplash)

Ultimately, you choose the trajectory of your first semester.

Most students spend an average of six to eight semesters in university, if not more. While this may seem like plenty of time, the first semester pretty much sets the tone for your university experience.

However, don’t be disheartened if it does not go as expected. University is ultimately a time for self-discovery in the grand scheme of things. Most graduates regard their time in university as the best experience of their lives, and hopefully you will be one of them too.


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