Having been at the University of Auckland for three semesters now it’s hard to imagine life before university. I was quite nonchalant as a Year 13 students about the concept of entering university because pretty much all my friends were heading to UoA too. It was the logical next step of our lives and although I had my expectations, I wasn’t too fazed when reality differed. None one can tell you what your time at UoA will be like, as everyone’s journey differs, but hopefully this post will shed some light on what I found to be the differences between expectations and reality!

Hall life.

Expectation: With O’Rorke being dubbed as the ‘party hall’, I was either going to invest in earplugs, or go off the rails and become a raging alcoholic .

The O’Rorke common room at 9:59pm, or sometimes 12:00pm.

Reality: O’Rorke has great noise control policies that clamps down on parties after 10pm so earplugs weren’t a necessity. What’s great about university is that you decide your own future, if you want to party you can, if you didn’t want to, you didn’t have to.


Expectation: Everyone used to tell me that university is where you’ll build friendships that last for life. Naturally, this led to the expectation that I would be leaving my high school friends behind and finding new ones.

Reality: Not sure if this is an Auckland thing, but people from the same high school tended to cluster together, especially people studying the same degree. Don’t worry, this doesn’t rule out new friends though and some of my closest ones are people I met this/last year.


Expectation: I’ll join a bazillion clubs and have fun trying everything out.

Me actively participating in extra-curriculars this semester. Jk. My desk isn’t that tidy.

Reality: $5 – $10 joining fee for most clubs coupled with tests, assignments, revision, and exams. I think these two statements explain themselves. Sarcasm aside, I would say that university encourages the notion of joining a few clubs that you’re committed to, that way both you and the club get the best out of it.


Expectation: Its going to be a breeze. People complaining are just moaners.

That’s more like it!

Reality: Refer to my blog post the jump from first to second year. Although, do keep in mind I wrote the post during the most hectic week of first semester, things calmed down dramatically (*ahem*, I buckled down) about a week afterwards.


Expectation: I didn’t really have any expectations as to independence as I would say I had plenty throughout high school. Unlike the stereotype of ‘Asian parents’ my parents supported the notion of learning through experience and exploration.

Independence: a double edged sword

Reality: Like everything other point in this blog, independence in university not only varies from person to person, but also from time to time. Some days I found myself going a week without talking to my parents and doing everything by myself, like the strong independent woman I am (hey no laughs, I could be serious!). Other days I’m saving my laundry to be washed at home and eating out three times a week (a low point of my semester, not going to lie).

All in all, no amount of reading blogs about university, listening to others talk about university, or thinking about university, will prepare you for actually being at university. These points are what I found to be my reality (at least for the first three semesters of my university life), yours will 100% differ. University experience is a choose your own adventure novel, not a non-fiction one, so go on and flick to the next page!

See you on the flip side 😉