What you’ll experience as a comprehensive school kid at a top London uni

It’s all a learning experience, right?

Escaping from a bog-standard comprehensive school to a top London uni, you quickly realise you’re in a striking minority. So no, your peers won’t relate to how cheap and nasty your school uniform was or how disgusting school lunches were. And no, no one’s going to listen to your Duke of Edinburgh camping stories because they spent their gap year in Thailand or on a ski season in Chamonix.

Nonetheless, you still manage to find your way because you’re a survivor from the lowest point of the UK education system. Here’s a bunch of things that you’ll inevitably experience if you’re part of this select minority:

Everyone will assume you’re also straight out of a private school

*A bunch of public school kids discussing inter-school events*

“So, what school did you go to then?”

“Erm… you won’t know it, just a small comprehensive”

Sorry, my state school wasn’t part of your South East lacrosse league.

You’ll have awkward greetings

You’re used to fist bumps, high fives and the occasional hug. Now you’ve walked into a world of firm handshakes and cheek-kisses. Next time a European greets you with a cheek-kiss, try not to flinch. 

What even is that handshake

Everyone will brag about their gap years in Cambodia or hiking trips in Machu Pichu

Well, I did NCS…

You’ll buy Tesco meal deals while they visit Le Pain Quotidien for lunch

But a month into first year and everyone will have just £12 in their back accounts. Tesco meal deals for all!

Meal Deal groupchat gave it a 7/10

But you will know how to find all the best discounts

When Zara or ASOS have their clearance sales, you are ahead of the pack.

You have no clue how societies work until three-quarters of the way through the first term

Private school kids will already have their eyes on Amnesty International, EFS or MUN. When you first started, you didn’t even know what MUN stood for.

If you’re a humanities student, you’ll realise you don’t actually know how to write an essay

Your school teachers taught everyone how to scrape a B at A Level. Now you actually have to research and read and write like a grown up… and you just don’t have a clue.

At the end of the day, we all still go to the same sweaty clubs.

The poor quality teaching and admin at uni won’t shock you

Your teachers frequently didn’t turn up and you learnt from PowerPoints recycled from five years ago at your previous school, so the system being the same as uni doesn’t surprise you.

And despite catching on slower than everyone else, you will manage to find your feet

Other kids may have been on the ball since day one and you spent most of first term just scrambling around – still, you’ve found your way. You finally find some interesting societies or projects to join, and you’ve become the queen of thrifty. Despite having come from a school where teachers probably make spelling errors on the whiteboard, you’re now competing with some of the smartest kids in the country and you’re killing it. Hats off!