1) I was not as adult and independent as I thought I was at 18. Imagine sleeping all day due to picking a night job and throwing all my laundry into one load (I still do the last one, but now I use net bags and colour sheets).
2) Everyone from college says they will meet up all the time, but that never happens. I saw a few friends, but due to lack of money and everyone studying so far apart, it made it super difficult to meet up more frequently than once a semester. At most.
3) The subject difficulty change is not super noticeable in the first semester, and even the second depending on the style of A-levels you did. It led to some complacency on my end, leading to a comfy 2:1 and a real shock to the system in second year when trying hard was mandatory.
4) People either go home all the time, or maybe twice the whole year. I was the latter, preferring having my own space with a room three times the size of my box room at home. Some people dropped out of halls in favour of commuting, some pretty much moved out of home entirely, planning on getting 12 month contracts and moving straight to a second year house without looking back. Everyone had a different and interesting reaction to being away from home for such a long period of time. I personally thrived on it and have no real intention of heading back.
5) Not making friends in Fresher’s Week is very normal. Honestly, after one week I had some acquaintances, and did make a friend I still hang out with, but thinking you’ll find your group of besties is not right. The week is full of awkward introductions, cheap drinks and lots of free popcorn and inflatables. The atmosphere is great at the time, but right after your head clears and the friends you proclaimed to love after your third night out in a row will just be a funny story to think about later down the line.
6) Finding people decent enough to live with within three months of starting for the next year is insanely difficult, but doable. My current best friend and I had to ditch one group when warning bells set off the prospect of big parties and leaving group chats due to a simple miscommunication with no word. Some people found groups quite quickly, but it is very hard to gauge what they are like to live with, as you are only figuring out how to live away from mum and dad yourself.