I’m a fourth-year student at the University of Guelph-Humber in the Media Studies program, majoring in Digital Communications. I like to think I learned something after four years, but you can decide that for yourself after reading this… Transitioning to university was an exciting, but daunting experience. It’s hard to move into unknown territory as it is, never mind the hundreds of myths that teachers and parents warn you about. So, before you head off to university, make sure to separate the facts from the fiction!
1. “You’re just a number”
I heard this a few times before heading to university, but I found that at Guelph-Humber
, it’s just not true. It might be for schools that are bigger, but even in big lectures that I had in my first and second years, the profs still attempted to check in and make personal connections with each student. I have seen this myth been proven wrong countless times during my stay at the Humber College campus. There are resources available for every student, and staff, faculty and professors alike will usually take the time to guide each student to the correct service if they feel it might be beneficial.
2. “You’re on your own”
This is one of the biggest myths I heard while transitioning to university. I’m lucky to have a supportive family that was with me while I moved to Toronto, but I know lots of students who felt very alone during this time. However, Humber College and Guelph-Humber campuses do a great job at helping students become more aware of the services and resources available to them, including but not limited to:
- First Year Experience provides a free mentoring program to ensure that transitioning to college is as smooth as possible.
- LGBTQ+ Resource Centre is a safe, positive space where all students are welcome to hang out, attend workshops and events, and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
- Accessible Learning Services helps students overcome any barriers they may have by coordinating academic accommodations using individual students’ disability-related needs.
- Academic Advising and Support provides tutoring, learning resources, advising services, and several different specialists who are ready to help.
- Career Services helps students learn about job opportunities, review resumes, search for jobs, and prepare for interviews.
3. “You’ll make all your friends during first year, and you’ll stay best friends with them forever”
Before I went to university, I always understood that I would meet friends within the first week of school, and I would be buddies with them for life. I did meet people during frosh week and they were fun to hang out with, but I never really clicked with them. It wasn’t until my second and even third year that I started to meet people who shared the same interests and hobbies as me. It is those friends who I hope to stay connected to once I graduate.
4. “You’ll be peer pressured into drinking all the time”
I was intimidated to move to Toronto after I realized that downtown is a big clubbing scene. While clubbing and drinking can be fun, I am glad that the people I hang out with are respectful of my choices of whether or not to go out, and whether or not to drink. We’ve done everything from being downtown Toronto until 4 in the morning, to having quiet tea parties in our house and going to bed early. As long as we’re all having fun, there’s really no problem. I have realized that anyone who tries to force you into anything is someone who isn’t worth being friends with.
5. “A part time job is bad for your studies”
I’ve heard a lot of people claim that they’re program is too intense for them to have any sort of job. It is also the opinion of some that Digital Communications (my program) is a “flakey course” that requires little to no effort, and therefore it is easy for me to be working part-time… not true. Though it can be overwhelming at times, I have found that having a part-time job is actually beneficial to my studies. The little bit of income makes me feel more independent, and relieves some financial stress. It has also been an opportunity for me to meet new people, build my resume during my university years, and learn skills that supplement my studying.
6. “University is a lot harder than high school, and you’ll definitely feel lost”
This myth can be true, depending on your work ethic… The difficulty of assignments and homework in university does progress as you move through the semester, just like high school. I have found that if I pay attention and actually put in the work, I feel more focused and ready to keep learning once I get to class. In my experience, professors take the time to learn where you are, and yes, they will challenge you, but you’ll be able to handle it (and if you’re struggling, there’s resources for that!).
7. “You need to live on campus to have fun”
Living in residence for two years was a time, but moving into a house has been even better. I believe that it is all dependant on what kind of experience you create for yourself. If you leave class the second it ends, you might feel disconnected, but the same can be said for sitting in your residence room all day watching Netflix. There are so many ways to get involved whether it be volunteering, working, joining a club or sports team, etc, which can be done even if you live off campus.
8. “You won’t have time for a social life”
Not true! I have spent a lot of time working on my school-life-work balance, which I think is important. Once you figure out what works for you, it is easy to set aside time for homework, time for real work, and time to hang out with friends. What has helped me with time management is breaking down the hours: 24 hours per day, 8 hours to sleep, 10 hours for school/work, and 6 hours for friends. Find the combination that works for you!
If you feel there’s any other university myths that I’ve missed, let me know!