14 words that have a different meaning for university students

Shelly Totino


Some words take on new meanings once you've transitioned from high school to university. While there are probably hundreds I could list, here are the top 14 words and what they mean to high school students versus university students.

1. Paper

Community gif captioned " "This is kinda like the Breakfast Club"

High school students: Something you write on.
University students: A 10- to 15-page nightmare that gives you horrific flashbacks, even after you submit it.

2. Coffee

Gif of woman confessing she has had 5 cups of coffee

High school students: A beverage that will keep you warm on a cold day.
University students: Medicine, or what most of your blood is made up of.

3. Sweatpants

Gif of someone wearing the same sweatpants everyday of the week

High school students: Something you wear at home.
University students: Something you wear at home, in class, on the bus, in the library—basically, anywhere that it is somewhat socially acceptable to wear them, you wear them.

4. Lecture

gif of someone pulling a pen out of their bag to take notes in lecture

High school students: Something your parents give you when you do something wrong.
University students: That thing you have to drag yourself out of bed for at 8 a.m.

5. Tutorial

gif of Monsters Inc monster painting on a canvas with its face

High school students: Something you watch on YouTube to learn how to do winged eyeliner or pass a level in a video game.
University students: An hour and a half class with a teaching assistant where you can ask questions you were too afraid to ask in lecture.

6. Money

gif of man pouring pennies into his hand from his wallet

High school students: Something you earn from your part-time job.
University students: That thing you never seem to have enough of.

7. Parents

Tangled gif of her mom saying "I will always be right here"

High school students: Those people who you live with and can’t wait to get away from.
University students: Those people you call to ask for advice on how to properly cook a potato.

8. All-nighter

gif of someone saying "sleep is for the weak"

High school students: Staying up all night with your friends at a sleepover while watching cheesy movies and eating junk food.
University students: Staying up all night with your textbook cramming for a midterm while drinking copious amounts of coffee and eating junk food.

9. Dance

gif of Carlton from Fresh Prince doing the Carlton dance

High school students: A social event planned and put on by your school.
University students: Something you do when you find out you passed your finals.

10. Canvas

gif of monkey repeatedly clicking a computer mouse

High school students: A surface for artists to paint on.
University students: The online resource where you have basically everything for all your classes. Also, the thing you freak out over when your internet goes down at home and you can’t log in.

11. Guidance counsellor

community gif of a sleep over in a fort

High school students: A person who helps you apply to university.
University students: Your roommate or furry friend—or both.

12. Housekeeping

Gif of Mrs. Doubtfire dancing while vacuuming

High school students: Your parents.
University students: Something you never seem to do.

13. Residence

gif of the cast of Friends hugging

High school students: A place you live.
University students: Where you meet some of the best people who'll be your friends for life.

14. Degree

gif of two teens looking surprised

High school students: A brand of deodorant, also how you measure temperature. 
University students: That thing you put all of your time and effort into. Also, the thing that makes you celebrate at the end of your studies

There you have it, 14 words that have alternate meanings when you begin post-secondary education—I hope this helps! If you can think of more, list them below in the comments.

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