We hear myths and clichés about uni students all the time, but how much truth is there to them? Read on as we get to the bottom of some of the most common myths going around and whether you should pay any attention to them.
Ps get degrees
While ‘just passing’ every class will earn you a degree, many students use this as an excuse to be complacent about their marks and not put in the required effort. Without a doubt, the satisfaction of earning a high distinction is well worth the hard work. Keeping a high credit average certainly comes in handy if you intend to do an honours year or postgraduate study, and high-achieving students may even be eligible to access scholarships and additional study opportunities such as industry programs, special streams and exchange opportunities. While individual subject marks don’t count for a lot once you graduate, think about how much better you will look in a job interview if you can demonstrate that you put in the hard work to earn a high average, rather than just scraping by.
The poor uni student
Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you have to live in a run-down share house with seven hippies eating instant noodles for every meal. Although money can be tight when you’re studying full time, many students actually manage to live quite comfortably (keeping their dignity well intact) through a mix of part-time work, careful budgeting and (if they’re lucky) government assistance such as Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance. For many students, living close to uni also means they can live at home with their family and save on accommodation costs.
The most important thing is that you look after yourself and manage your funds: try looking for student deals on entertainment, food and shopping; riding a bike to save on petrol and public transport costs; starting your own fruit and veggie patch; frequenting markets or holding your own stall to sell old items; and embracing vintage and recycled fashions. You might even be surprised at how fun it can be living on a budget. Just embrace the time that you’re at uni and think about your potential earnings once you come out the other end with your degree.
Starting an assignment the night before it’s due
While many students claim to do this (some even managing to miraculously end up with a decent mark), this is not a good idea. You should aim to start a standard (say, 3000-word) assignment at least two weeks (even better, three weeks) before it’s due. Allocating one week for research, one week to write it and a couple of spare days to review and edit is a good formula to stick by. At times where you know there will be a pile-up of assignments (like the end of semester), try to get an earlier start. Leaving an assignment until the last minute is a recipe for disaster because more often than not you won’t realise how much work there is to do until you begin researching and writing (researching in itself can be very time consuming). The stress can also be a killer. If you don’t get it done in time, you will lose marks for late submission; if you do get it finished, there will always be the niggling feeling of how much better you could have done had you given it the appropriate time.
Uni is all theory and no practice
Many denounce uni as a waste of time, where students focus on theory and academics. But the reality is that earning a degree really does give you an advantage, with many fields requiring a degree to enter and progress. Most unis these days strive to give their students an experience that will prepare them the ‘real world’: many courses integrate academia with internships, study tours, visits from guest lecturers working in the field and industry projects for real organisations. These opportunities (as well as the theoretical knowledge you gain) will give you a real advantage when it comes time to find a job.
First lectures are always useless
Many students skip the first couple of classes because they assume that no assessable content will be covered or that there are better things they could be doing (like catching up on sleep). Missing the first class often means missing out on vital background information, details about your assignments and valuable opportunities to make friends with fellow classmates. There are a number of reasons why you should be in the habit of going to every class — not least of all because you are paying big bucks for the course, so you may as well enjoy it. In some cases, attendance may actually form part of your mark, so you might want to save skipping classes for when a real emergency occurs (you don’t want to be like the boy who cried wolf).