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Don’t believe everything they tell you about university

Kristyn Filip | Fulcrum Staff

Illustration by Mathias MacPhee

UNIVERSITY IS EITHER the best time of your life or the worst, depending on who you talk to. Your mom will tell you it’s a four-year lesson in maturity, while your favourite cousin will say getting an undergrad is comparable to living in a non-stop beer-induced fog for 36 months. But what’s the truth about university? The Fulcrum is here to set the record straight about some commonly told post-secondary myths.

There is no such thing as a “cool crowd” in university
Newsflash: There are almost 40,000 students on this campus. No one knows that you were president of your high school council, the best basketball player your small town has ever seen, or voted “Most likely to live in his mom’s basement forever” by your grade 12 class. No one knows, and to be frank, no one cares. So whether you wandered the hallways of your high school like a demi-god or a total dweeb, it matters not. Forget about your old reputation and take advantage of the opportunity to start fresh.

Being a university student does not automatically make you a brilliant person
Sure, your grades were high enough to get you accepted into university—you might even have been “the smart kid” in your high school’s graduating class—but don’t let that go to your head. If anything, attending a month or two of university classes will only make you realize how much you actually don’t know about the world. Not convinced? Ask a graduate student to explain his or her master’s thesis to you.

It’s OK to change your major
So you’ve spent your entire life dreaming of graduating university with a degree in nursing, only to find out after one week of school that you’re never going to pass your anatomy class and you couldn’t care less about ethics in health care. Fortunately for you, you aren’t locked into your major—but don’t wait too long to change it. The longer you remain in a program you plan on switching out of, the more difficult it becomes to get out without seriously disrupting a typical four-year undergraduate studies plan. Make an appointment with an academic advisor to discuss your options and get yourself into a program you truly enjoy.

Frosh friends ≠ forever friends
Ah, frosh week, the seven days that launched 1,000 semi-permanent friendships. A typical day consists of waking up as early as your hangover will allow, dressing in your graffiti-covered, faculty-approved T-shirt, and running around the campus and city in a frantic attempt to participate in as many events as possible. In a span of 24 hours, you’re bound to meet dozens of new people, all of whom are feeling just as nervous, excited, and desperate for friends as you are. You’ll find yourself pouring your heart out to the person fluffing and folding next to you in the laundry room, discussing your career aspirations with a stranger in line for free hotdogs, and dishing to just about anyone who will listen about how you lost your virginity. After sharing such intimate details of your personal life with total strangers, you’ll feel bonded to them forever—but don’t be fooled. Frosh friendships tend to be like summer tans—give them a few days and they’ll begin to fade into oblivion. The people you meet in the hallways of your residence, in class, and while participating in extra-curricular activities? Those will be the friendships that stick.

Orgies galore! Or not
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but living in residence doesn’t necessarily equate to non-stop sexy times. Sure, it might make hooking up a little less difficult—a walk of shame is much easier to pull off when you only have to trudge up one flight of stairs—but many people in residence are celibate, in committed relationships, or, you know, too busy studying to spend any time screwing.