As freshers’ week draws ever nearer, you’ll probably be hearing about how amazing it’s going to be studying your favourite subject and making so many new friends at university.
And don’t get us wrong, all the usual reasons you’ll be told to be excited to go to uni for are definitely amazing and worth looking forward to. Nonetheless, the best aspects of student life aren’t always the ones you’re going to learn about in your uni’s brochure, or from people who have done it before you.
That’s why Unifresher has put together this list of all the best perks of being a student you might not have expected.
1. All-nighters in the library
While staying up all night studying might not sound like the most enjoyable use of your time at uni, the delirium that sets in when you and your mates are desperately trying to churn out 2500 words in about eight hours can lead to some absolutely hilarious moments. The camaraderie that sets in during all-night library sessions is a great feeling, and you’ll find yourself even more likely to leave work to the last minute, just because of how weirdly fun it can be when everyone is in the same (highly-stressed) situation.
2. Hungover lectures
Dragging yourself to a lecture after a rough night can make for an incredibly nauseating morning, but slumping down in your seat and absorbing information from an academic can actually be an incredibly soothing experience when hungover. If you do manage to make it out of bed and into uni after a night on the town, you’ll find it strangely relaxing to be serenaded by the intellect of one of your professors, and worst comes to worst, you’ll just have a really nice sleep.
3. Inter-floor wars
You may well develop fierce rivalries on the other floors, or other flats, of your student accommodation, and you’ll definitely irrationally decide upon some enemies to scowl at during every meal (if your hall are catered). These inter-floor wars can actually be really fun, though – especially if they escalate into pranks. At no other point in your life will you have more of a chance to experience what it’s like to be a Recess character, and engaging in a prank war with your arbitrarily-assigned nemeses is an important, fun part of uni life.
4. Joining weird societies
Similarly, there will be no other point in your life where you can pick up new hobbies, and do them with like-minded people, so quickly and easily. Societies are amazing for those bored moments where you decide you need a new ‘thing,’ and as most of them are free you no excuse – except laziness – not to go and pick up a new pastime practically every week! And it’s not often you can say that in the post-university world.
5. Student drink deals
The allure of student drink deals is one of the things you – and your wallet – will miss the most once you head off into the adult world. Paying £1 for a double vodka red bull will soon become commonplace when you head into the sticky-floored locales of your uni city, and you’d better try and remain appreciative of how little you’ll be spending the whole time you’re there – because as you get older, drinks will get much, much more expensive.
6. Everyone being friendly all the time
Another perk of being a student which may sound annoying – but actually isn’t – is the idea in first year that every new person you meet could become a friend for life. This might sound exhausting, and kind of is, but it’s also something you’ll look back on nostalgically. Nowhere else in your life will it be totally acceptable to strike up a conversation with a stranger and fully expect it to be possible that you both become fast friends by the end of it. As cheesy as the concept it, cherish it – because it ain’t like that in the real world!
7. Improvisational cooking
One of the more daunting aspects of university life can, if you were a lucky, lucky child, be adjusting to cooking for yourself every day. About a third of the time this results in frustration and confusion, another third of the time it results in ordering pizza, but there’s a magical other fraction of the time in which you’ll improvise with whatever ingredients you have to hand, and come up with a concoction worthy of Bake Off fame. This is one of the hidden joys of university; nowhere else will you be able to make a Bolognese with cookies, bits of steak, pizza slices and banana in it and be (relatively) unjudged for your experimentation. Use this wisely.
8. Communal bathroom horror stories
If you’re in halls, your floor’s bathroom may well be one of the most disgusting environments you’ll ever bear witness to. Stepping over and through the myriad of mystery liquids on the floor will be a repulsive daily challenge, but after a while, once you’ve somehow gotten used to braving it every time you need to brush your teeth, it can actually be kind of fun sharing bathrooms with so many people. Whether it’s the guy who always blasts music from the shower before a night out, or the big rugby player who can’t resist a bubble bath, sharing a bathroom can provide some hilarious stories as well as some disgusting ones.
9. An abundance of free time
If you’re lucky enough to be an arts student, you may find yourself confronted with the prospect of only having around six hours a week of uni to actually attend. Six hours a week!! This might seem like you’re not getting value for money from your course (although that’s a whole other issue…) but the way to approach this is realising that you’ll probably never have that much free time ever again. So use it! Pursue new hobbies, go on adventures around your town, and make use of the time you don’t have to be spent doing anything in particular – you’ll definitely miss it after uni.
10. Discounts for everything
Another perk to being a student you may not have realised the enormity of yet is the sheer number of discounts you will get just by virtue of being in higher education. Almost everything will have a student discount, from clothes shops to Microsoft Office to cheaper drinks in bars to restaurants to railcards to… you get the idea. And McDonalds even offer a free cheeseburger with a meal if you have a student card – what more could you ask for?
11. Limitless wardrobe options
In school and the real world, you’ll most likely be required to wear all manner of suits, uniforms, or at least adhere to dress codes in your daily life. At university, this is not so. While you’ll be judged for doing it, it’s totally acceptable to rock up to lectures in your pajamas or all manner of whacky garb. Nights out, too, are ‘anything goes’ most of the time – there’s a reason people can tell you’re a student from what you’re wearing, so you may as well live up to the stereotype and wear whatever you want while you still can.
12. Say goodbye to sleeping patterns
Once again, it’s unlikely you’ll have a sleeping schedule or wake-up time as flexible as your one at university ever again in your life. Unless you’re a poor soul on a 9-5 course, you’ll often have copious amounts of time in the morning free from responsibilities, leaving you equally free to stay up stupidly late – or early – most nights, and to well and truly screw up your sleep schedule for a whole year. And it’s great having the freedom to do this! If you’re too deep into the new series of Mr Robot to tear yourself away at 4am then, guess what, you don’t have to. It’s a little bit childish to stay up late just because you can, but hey, you certainly won’t be able to do anywhere near as many all-nighters when you’re no longer a student.
13. Inpromptu TV marathons
While these will often coincide with your new sleeping patterns, the freedom to spend – or waste – a whole day binging and finishing a whole TV show is another perk that’s not to be sniffed at. While you can still do this in the ‘real world’ on weekends or days off, there’s nothing quite like making an unplanned decision to devote your entire day to whichever show takes your fancy. And another great thing about doing this at uni is that you’ll definitely have people willing to spend the whole time on the sofa with you.
14. Seeing people you know everywhere
Within a few weeks of being at uni, you’ll be strolling around your city and bumping into people almost everywhere you go. This can make even a five-minute walk turn into a half hour greet-athon. This sounds like it could get annoying, but every time you go home for holidays you’ll really miss the feeling of walking through a city where you have friends pretty much anywhere you look, all the time, so enjoy it while you can!
15. Student stereotypes
Now that you’re a uni student, you’re going to be able to play up to a lot of the stereotypes of this stage in life whenever it suits you. If you’ve got situations you want to get out of, you now have the readymade excuse of ‘I need to study’ good to go at literally any time you need it, and you’ll also be able to blow off this studying at any time you desire because, hey, you’re a student and you can always pull an all-nighter to catch up. It’s fun playing the student role, and it’s something you’ll get very good at.
16. Being generally grim
University life is a time of three-day-old pizza in bed, of drinking alcohol almost immediately upon waking up, of learning the act of a quick tactical vomit in a club toilet, of avoiding doing laundry for as long as is humanly possible, and plenty more grim happenings besides. As disgusting and unseemly as that may all sound now, it’s all part of the student package. People think you’re grim being a student as it is, so you may as well enjoy the moral and physical squalour you’ll be living in for three years – because to be fair, it is quite fun.
17. Being easily persuaded
This is another aspect of student life that won’t necessarily sound like a perk, but you’ll find yourself swayed so easily to get out of bed and go and explore in your uni city that you’ll end up in all sorts of crazy situations in your first year, just by virtue of being so agreeable to whatever new ideas your friends propose. This will ensure you have a lot of fun memories, and that you’ll never have to have a dull night in if you don’t want to.
18. Weekends aren’t a thing
Weekends no longer playing a big role in your life might sound like a terrible, terrible thing to happen, but wait – you’re a uni student now, pretty much any day can be a weekend if you want it to be. Whereas on school nights and work nights you’ll be justifiably dissuaded from going out clubbing when that 7am alarm is looming over you, at uni if a friend comes into your room on Tuesday night and asks if you fancy going out, you can!! The days – when you don’t have teaching on them, at least – will all bleed beautifully into one, and the idea of living for the weekend will fade to being a distant memory. At least until you leave uni and it very much becomes a relevant concept again, that is.
19. You’re in the prime of your life!
Obviously we’re not condoning or suggesting that you’re out drinking every night at uni, but being a student is a sweet spot in your life where you’re legally allowed to drink and your body can actually take it. Pretty much exactly around the end of university is when your hangovers will become whole-day affairs and you’ll start grouchily craving sleep, whereas at uni you’ll find you have the kind of limitless energy reserves normally only experienced at festivals or after several very strong coffees. No matter how hungover you are on any given day, your body will always be up to the task of doing it all over again for another night out – something that will seem increasingly unfathomable the longer you’ve been out of student life. Enjoy it while it lasts!