Starting university is probably on the path for many students finishing high school these days. I know when I started uni, there was so many things I wish I knew before I started that no one told me. Some things were of no surprise, yet there were so many things, small or little, that really surprised me.
Uni is as hard as year 12
I had this preconceived notion in my head that just because I was studying what I want, and that I could skip everything that it would be easy as pie. How wrong I was, I found that it was as hard as year 12 for me. You were only given the freedom to slack off, unlike in year 12 where there was an intense pressure placed upon you.
This may vary however, students undertaking STEM degrees are more likely to clock in more hours than Arts/Commerce students. But it's not easy - so don't be fooled that once year 12 is over, that you can finally start relaxing.
Everything is compressed
One thing that definitely surprised me was how fast the learning was. I remember taking an introductory maths unit and every single 1 hour lecture was akin to a single week or several weeks within high school.
You gotta really stay on top of everything because they will go on with or without you. It's more of a fend for yourself type of situation. So don't expect anyone to hold your hand throughout it.
Uni is lonely...if you make it out to be
While there may be hundreds of students within your lecture hall, and it feels more like a class within tutorials. It can still get quite lonely. You make friends within a tutorial, yet this friendship only lasts one semester. I call these one semester friends.
You really need to organise everything or the people you meet, and the friends you make start fading away.
There's so many opportunities
You'll get barraged with so many emails, so many fliers and so many people asking you to join clubs. It really is the time for you to try whatever you've always wanted to try - or join the committees and clubs that you want.
Just keep in mind - that all the clubs you've joined during orientation week, you probably will never go to a single event by them. You get so excited yet you realise there's not enough time to go to every single event they have.
It's so hard finding a spot in the library
Like damn, why is it so hard to find a spot to study.