There are many expectations that go into your move to university. Everybody tells you that university will be your best year. You will make lifelong friends and learn a lot about the things you love.
Sometimes university doesn’t live up the expectations. Maybe you don’t enjoy the lifestyle or your course. Or maybe you don’t like the people you live with. You might not enjoy university life for many reasons. It can feel lonely when everyone seems to be having the time and happiness they deserve.
Not everybody understands how studying hard may be. It is almost impossible to cope with all the tasks students are given every day. Sometimes it feels like a miracle to “hire someone to write my dissertation”.
It is hard to accept that university can be difficult. Even if you manage your course load well, there are other aspects that can make university unpleasant. You don’t have to feel this way alone. There are always people you can talk with about your feelings.
Here are some suggestions for what to do if university is not your favorite place.
Step 1: Identify what is making you unhappy
Once you have established that you don’t enjoy university, the first step is to find out why. It can be difficult to pinpoint the reason you are unhappy.
If you think hard about it, however, you will likely find that one factor is more bothersome than the other, regardless of whether it’s your accommodation or your current friendship group (or a lack thereof), or even your course.
It’s much easier to identify the problem and figure out how you can fix it. Even if you don’t believe it can, many things can be fixed in university, particularly during your first year. You can start by identifying the one thing you wish to improve in your university experience.
Step 2: Talk with people
Now it’s time to make the change. Find out who you can reach to discuss the problem.
Talk to your campus housing office if you need to move or change your accommodation. Many universities offer a room swapping program in their first year. This allows you to move into a different area or switch rooms with another student.
Talk to your tutor if you are having difficulties with or not enjoying the course. Talking to your lecturer after class or during office hours can help you if you are having trouble understanding the module.
You should seek out the university’s mental healthcare service if you are concerned about your unhappiness being more severe and may be related to anxiety or depression. Many universities offer counselling services that can prove to be very helpful. It may be worthwhile to have an initial consultation if you are unsure.
You can help ease homesickness by calling home regularly and keeping in touch with old school friends and relatives. It is always a good idea to talk about what is bothering your with people you know and care about, especially during the first year of homelessness.
Step 3: Give it some time
Although you may not want to hear it, sometimes things can take some time. After you have identified the problem, you can wait to see if it resolves itself.
This is normal, for example, if your first year is only two weeks old and you are having trouble forming a friendship group. There are many people who make their best friends within the first week. However, this does not mean that they are the majority. Many students will feel the same way you do. Sometimes it takes a little longer for friendship groups to form and you might not meet your closest friends until later in the school year.
You may also decide that the course you are taking is not for you soon after you start it. This could be true, but it is possible that you are not interested in the modules that you are currently taking. You might find other modules that are more interesting, so it’s worth looking into.
You should give your first year at least until Christmas. This gives you the chance to settle in and get to know your course. It also allows you to make new friends.
Step 4: Determine if university is right for your needs or if you wish to change your courses
You might consider university if you have tried everything and your university experience isn’t improving. You might not be suited for university life. An apprenticeship or work experience in the field you are interested in could work better. Or you could go on a gap year.
A positive move to change your university or course can make you feel better. You should do your research if you are considering changing courses. If you decide to stay, seek advice from tutors on how to solve academic problems.
Before making these decisions, you should consult your tutor, course leader, course office administrator, student support service, and the careers service at your university.
Step 5: Change your university or course
Your university will help you navigate the next steps if you decide to change or leave your course. It’s okay to change your mind after you realize something isn’t right for yourself. It will probably help you in the long-term.
Sometimes, it can feel like the end. However, changing universities and courses is not the end. It’s quite common for students to drop out of their courses every year. It’s okay to change your mind when you realize something is not right for you. You’ll likely be happy that you decided to change something that was not right for you in the end.