Students compare first-year expectations with reality
Over the decades, pop culture has painted a consistent portrait of what life in college and university looks like. Wild parties every night. Crotchety professors seemingly bent on failing their students. Leafy campuses with no buildings younger than 100 years old. Roommates who either become the closest of friends or the worst of enemies. Are these perceptions true? Here, seven second-year students reflect back on how their expectations for first year differed from reality.
Social work, Ryerson University
Expectation: That I’d eat proper meals since I do my own groceries now.
Reality: Eating peanut butter for dinner.
Expectation: That I’d stay out late with friends and party once in a while.
Reality: Falling asleep by 8 p.m.
Child and youth studies, Brock University
Expectation: That I’d get up early and get things done on the mornings or days when I don’t have class.
Reality: Sleeping all day and catch up on Netflix.
Expectation: That the parties would be wild and huge like they are in the movies.
Reality: They’re very average.
Real estate and housing (BComm), University of Guelph
Expectation: That I’d get along with a roommate and become best friends.
Reality: You definitely have some arguments.
Expectation: That I’d be drowning in work at all times.
Reality: You can make time to do stuff with your friends and relax.
Honors specialization in nutrition and dietics, Western University
Expectation: That I’d make the best use out of my gym pass and workout five times each week.
Reality: I was lucky to get in one workout each week (sadly, the stairs and walking to class became my workout).
Expectation: That my parents would be fine with me leaving.
Reality: We all cried the majority of move-in day; I found out later my mom cried for a straight week after I left.
Psychology, York University
Expectation: That I’d make friends at school by going to university events and froshes.
Reality: Everyone is too tired to party.
Expectation: That 8 a.m. class wouldn’t be that bad since I’ve been doing it all my life.
Reality: It is really, really bad.
Photography studies, Ryerson University
Expectation: That I’d do my course readings before every class.
Reality: I read the “key ideas” section 20 minutes before the lecture.
Expectation: That I’d eat a balanced diet.
Reality: Eating Cheetos Puffs in my dorm room at 2 a.m.
Mechanical engineering, Ryerson University
Expectation: That I’d try all different foods around my university and explore the city.
Reality: I had shawarma three times this week alone from the cafe next door.
Expectation: That I’d finish all my homework on time.
Reality: I handed in five homework assignments late this semester.
Interviews have been edited and condensed.