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Thread: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

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    UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    Hi there.

    I thought I could help you guys out regarding making lifestyle choices. I've been to both.

    I went to UNSW for almost a year before leaving after becoming extremely distressed. When I started uni I was really excited. I had seen the movies when I was a high school student and was looking forward to the best time of my life. I bought all new clothes and was expressing myself through fashion as I no longer had to wear a uniform everyday.

    I was looking forward to making new friends, going out, having a good time and being drunk in public. I was focused on living my life to the fullest and graduating. I thought this is three years of the prime of my life, the first time I am going to be free from bells and assembly and I was looking forward to discovering the person I am when nothing is holding me back. I put my studies in second place. I put graduation as a priority, but I did not see HD's, the Honors program or doing a PhD as a reason to go to university. I was there for a good time not a long time.

    My university dream was shattered upon going to UNSW. This is a SERIOUS academic institution. You remember how in school the teachers always tell you that the habits you make now will follow you for the rest of your life? This is TRUE. The other students at this university are extremely high achieving. Your marks are measure of your social status. Being nice, being fun, being friendly, taking care of your appearance does not rate you socially. It is all about how you do in class. If you have a social awkwardness with someone, they will use test scores to measure their social success against you! They will not try and talk things over or forget about it, the next time they talk to you it will be to ask what you got in a test and the "winner" of some confrontation is the one who scored higher!

    These are habits that have followed people from high school. There are lots of people there with 95+ ATARs. I admire their results but they tell you how hard they worked to get there. Things like tutoring, never going out and never playing sports. These habits have become a part of their personalities. No one wants to go out. No one wants to pass a test everyone wants to get a HD. These people want to succeed at study. They don't want to party or hang out. This was everywhere I looked. People went out once or twice in their first year. No one was making plans to do anything.

    These are really really academically focussed people. I became really depressed at the direction of my life considering all the effort I had gone to to start a new and interesting one when I started uni, things like lots of nice new clothes, researching things to do outside of class so I could help plan and organise for things to do instead of going to the uni bar, that type of thing. I had made this huge effort not only to make my university time great, but also to make it a dream life for my classmates who were going to become my life long friends.

    They were too shy. They were too self conscious. They all put themselves in boxes. It was us vs them type of stuff. High achievers do not drink beer and go to clubs. They graduate and buy a BMW and look like they do. They were all really awkward and shy to do what other people see as regular. It was all study meet ups if there were meet ups at all. It was like Pavlov's dog. All their lives they have been rewarded for academic success at the expense of living and this has not changed now they have achieved their goal of getting a top ATAR. They are still in this mould.

    It almost ruined my life's dream. I had to leave.

    I took some time off to realistically evaluate what I wanted out of life and university. I decided that work is work, 40hrs a week for everyone, I don't need a PhD and a Ferrari to drive to Coles and buy bread. I don't see how sacrificing my life for this is a fair trade. I want to have fun and of my car is a Honda it can still take me to Coles.

    I decided I did not want to be academically focussed. I wanted close personal relationships and a life of social leisure and not workplace or academic achievement.

    I have since transferred to UTS. Again, I am noticing the differences. This is a COMPLETELY different environment.

    The students at UTS can be pretentious too, just like the students at UNSW, but it's different. They are trying to be cool more than they are trying to be geniuses.There is no instant academic measuring against each other. The pretentiousness here seems to be that they want to be cool, not that they think they are better at studying than you. This I think is good. It shows me that these guys are trying to be socially desirable based on what is cool from pop culture and what you think, not socially acceptable based on academic achievement.

    So whilst they may seem "fake", they are trying to be the best person they can be measured by social expectations. They make an effort to be pleasing to you. At UNSW it was based on being better than someone.

    There are also so many things to do in and around UTS. It is right in the city. You can walk to the Opera House in like half an hour. There are bars and clubs and cafes and restaurants and shops everywhere. There is anything you want to do after school available and it's right where you are. You don't have to travel to find it. UNSW does not have these things nearby. There is nothing. There were two uni bars.

    If you want academic achievement go to UNSW. It is competitive and there is nothing to do so you will be motivated to succeed.

    If you are anything like me don't go there. It will shatter your dreams.

    I don't believe the uni you choose will affect your employment too much. It will affect your lifestyle though.

    I hope this helps someone.

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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    Well, I mean yeah, university is very expensive and very time consuming. If you want to have a good time and meet new people, there are better and cheaper ways to do that than paying $10k a year (or $40k+ for international students) for the 30 hours per week that you're expected to dedicate to your education.

    The problem here isn't that other people are lacking social skills; they know their priorities - they're there to do some serious work. The problem is actually your expectations and the way you perceive people. You already know that your perceptions have been negatively influenced by TV shows and movies, but what's more is that I think you're projecting your insecurities on other people:

    Quote Originally Posted by Savelivesnotmoney View Post
    If you have a social awkwardness with someone, they will use test scores to measure their social success against you! They will not try and talk things over or forget about it, the next time they talk to you it will be to ask what you got in a test and the "winner" of some confrontation is the one who scored higher!
    While I don't deny that this may have happened to you, I don't think it's fair to generalise this to other students whom you don't know personally (to clarify: the vast majority of uni students are not like this and I've never met a single person remotely close to being this awful; your peers are in the same boat trying to get by just like you, not trying to compete against you!). I mean, you've essentially generalised students who are hardworking as one-dimensional with zero hobbies and stale personalities:

    Quote Originally Posted by Savelivesnotmoney View Post
    I admire their results but they tell you how hard they worked to get there. Things like tutoring, never going out and never playing sports. These habits have become a part of their personalities. No one wants to go out. No one wants to pass a test everyone wants to get a HD. These people want to succeed at study. They don't want to party or hang out. This was everywhere I looked. People went out once or twice in their first year. No one was making plans to do anything.

    ...

    They all put themselves in boxes. It was us vs them type of stuff. High achievers do not drink beer and go to clubs.
    What's even more concerning, is that you also have a rather judgmental generalisation for students who aren't as academically-inclined ("these guys are trying to be socially desirable based on what is cool from pop culture and what you think") and describe them as pretentious. This is probably the single most judgmental post I've ever seen on this website, and it's unhealthy to the point of toxicity. I think it's very unfair to people to make generalisations like these.

    While I understand that your message is ultimately "make decisions regarding uni based on what suits your lifestyle the best", I still think your post is rather unhelpful and, though I hate to say it, ends up saying more about your own negative and unrealistic perceptions of other people in general than anything else. I regret having to make this post when you're likely trying to help, but I think this needed to be said.
    Last edited by sida1049; 15 Mar 2019 at 12:18 AM.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) III, USYD

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    Junior Member Drdusk's Avatar
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    Re: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    From what I see it has to do with your mindset.

    I started 4 weeks ago at UNSW and I can attest to it being competitive, not because the students are trying to topple each other, but rather because you look around and all you see is hard working and intelligent people.

    For example as I am majoring in Physics, my small class of about 30 has very intelligent people who have represented Australia at the International Physics Olympiads etc and its fun to have a chat and discuss some Physics!
    However all of us are friendly and helping to each other. When I finish the work before others I just go around and lend a helping hand as does everyone else.

    During our labs everyone is just helping each other so we can all go and get full marks, no one is thinking about being competitive..

    I have not necessarily viewed these other people as 'competition' as such because I want to be there to learn, not to just beat everyone else in marks.
    Never have I also experienced people ranking each other based of their grades or intelligence. Everyone is friendly as we all have big messenger group chats where even the most dumb questions are answered.

    At the end of the day you think people think about you based on intelligence and grades but in reality no one cares

    Just my opinion
    Last edited by Drdusk; 14 Mar 2019 at 10:53 PM.
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    Re: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    My brother goes to UNSW and he says the same thing. Clearly he is not having fun there but he does care about his studies and majority of his actual friends are either from UTS or Macq. As you mentioned "The other students at this university are extremely high achieving. Your marks are measure of your social status. Being nice, being fun, being friendly, taking care of your appearance does not rate you socially" , my brother has told me something similar, and tbh im pretty confused cause Im thinking of transferring to UNSW in my second year of uni yet I dont know if its really going to be worth it or not in terms of employment.

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    Re: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    lol I've never encountered anything like this before and I've been at uni for a solid decade. While I agree that the social life of uni can be a bit underwhelming and oversold, I've found that it's typically because students just want to go home after a long day of class since there's constant assignments that need to be done, not to mention the travel time that can range between 45-120mins (assuming they don't live on campus). I haven't really seen this "HD's make degrees" mindset, even amongst the top tier students. Could just be that you're unlucky, or you might be overthinking it lol.
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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    Quote Originally Posted by blyatman View Post
    lol I've never encountered anything like this before and I've been at uni for a solid decade. While I agree that the social life of uni can be a bit underwhelming and oversold, I've found that it's typically because students just want to go home after a long day of class since there's constant assignments that need to be done, not to mention the travel time that can range between 45-120mins (assuming they don't live on campus). I haven't really seen this "HD's make degrees" mindset, even amongst the top tier students. Could just be that you're unlucky, or you might be overthinking it lol.
    Yeah, my last three years at USYD agrees with you too. The people I've met across USYD and UNSW are generally pretty fantastic and friendly. I can understand that some people might be discouraged if they're met with social awkwardness when trying to socialise with students when they're really trying to get through their studies, or are just tired in general (like you said - long commutes, assignments, trying to do well, et cetera, and the whole selling of "uni life" thing can amount to unrealistic cartoon-ish expectations), but even then they're not people at all, and never awful enough to put someone down because of marks.

    I'm just concerned that prospective students might view OP's post and have a very skewed (and incorrect) pre-conceived notions of their peers are like in uni. Going to uni with a mindset like that can't be healthy, and gets in the way of having great relationships with your peers.
    si2136 likes this.

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    Junior Member 30june2016's Avatar
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    Re: UNSW vs UTS lifestyle

    i lov uts



    UTS BIT 2018




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