Uni: expectation vs. reality

Things aren’t always as they seem. And when young, carefree and dreaming of Uni, life REALLY frickin isn’t what you expect…

We all had preconceptions of life at Nottingham before we flew the nest.

Dreams of mysteriously being able to juggle socialising with work and sufficient sleep are cruelly dashed when you realise you can actually only have two of those three.

All the hypey songs of prep-schools past gave us a seriously distorted image of what UNAYYYY was destined to be.

We’ve decided to bring you a blast from a past using a staunch Tab-ite and her younger sister as reference…

Here are the expectations of a 17 year old vs the reality of a 19 year old, told through song lyrics.


Expectation: With a ‘drunk for the fourth time this week, but I don’t care because I’m not in high-school’ pose, my former high-school peers would see how amazing my undergrad lifestyle was with a quick Insta pic. Just because I am at University of Nottingham.

Reality: Drinking becomes why we love and hate university. After a fair few beeriods, sharing a toilet and alcohol aren’t prime time.

But we still get hammed every week lol life.


“Eat, sleep, rave, repeat (more or less)”

Expectation: My life was going to a ‘Best-Of’, an MTV’s ‘Top Ten’. Nights out, endless laughs, endless drinking and endless fun.

Reality: Nearly all true but it’s not uni unless you’ve experienced a tragic night where you’re sick into your shoe in Ocean/ Crisis or, god forbid, Oceana (a close friend once said “Never trust someone who likes Oceana”).


I took this myself. Ffs


“You better work, bitch.”

Expectation: I anticipate the high-level of work (mostly seen as optional). I can subtly brag to my family when I return home that ‘I have soooo much work’.

Reality: The novelty wears off when you work hard and solidly get avo marks.



“I wanna go to college for the rest of my life.”

Expectation: My expectation of halls is to be an English version of the sequence where Amanda Bynes first walks into the boys’ soccer camp in She’s the Man, meets the House Bunny with a shot of Hogwarts.

Reality: Mostly, you are terrified as hell and sort of want to get back in the car with the rents but what can you do, so you latch on to the nearest person who looks like they wash their hair.

halls room


“Everybody’s FREEEEE!”

Expectation: What I am most looking forward to is being able to experience freedom. Full un-edited, x-rated, over 18, freedom. The kind of freedom that have parents frantically texting their children to see if they’re ‘still alive’.

Reality: Well, I think that it’s fair to say that we all have freedom. Debatably too much, when we can’t even make an 11am lecture (school?) but the only slight fly in the ointment is that none of us have a clue what we’re doing, fuh reals.

Does anyone actually pay their bills?

young 2

Had my shit more together when I was 8

“Work work working on my sheeeet.”

Expectation: I will upload photos of mountains of books next to piles of energy drinks at 3am labeled ‘probably should have started working earlier on #woops’. Let’s be real. Working into the night is a package deal.

Reality: I think that an all-nighter is definitely a humble-brag thing. And deeply regrettable the next day.


we made it, team.

“Still got my money.”

Expectation: Having no money is not a problem because  as a girl, I’ll work what ma mumma gave me and get the odd few drinks. Classing it up Nottingham style.

Reality: Weeeeell. A better technique is minesweeping. Lower energy input, greater yield and less emotional baggage. Just an idea (a good one tho, I’d listen to me).




Expectation: I’ll have so many ‘you had to be there’ stories but nonetheless, I will continue to tell them anyway because at Nottingham we’re such ‘effin lads.

Reality: Yeah, fair.

A diva is a female version of a hustlerrrrr

A diva is a female version of a hustlerrrrr

“I’m talkin’ bout – everybody getting crunk, crunk”

Expectation: The lack of judgement is what I am so excited about. Obviously, every student was a high-school kid at some point, but the text-book high-school attitudes will be thrown out.

No morning after text; ‘babe, are you okay? You were so out of it. You got off with four people *insert crest-fallen emoji*’ because PEOPLE WON’T CARE *insert dancing emoji*.

Reality: Oh darling. Unfortunately, judging people continues to be delicious to do and horrible to receive.

Uni is still a network of people, who knows who, and who got turned away from Forum for being too drunk. It could literally never be gossip free, because, as drunk kids, we make mistakes.

And we luv it.