Starting university is a life-altering experience. It’s also one that’s often claimed to be the ‘best years of your life.’ It’s no surprise when we find ourselves comparing our journey to built-up expectations. Yet, the reality of student life can be tough and may have fallen short of what you envisioned.
Reasons for this could include:
- Loneliness – You may have found yourself struggling to make friends or missing your current ones back at home. Homesickness is also very common during this transition.
- Unhappy with your course – Perhaps your current workload is overwhelming and too difficult, or your chosen subject is no longer interests you.
- Personal issues – This may involve mental and health-related issues or bereavement.
There are many aspects that could make university feel like an unpleasant experience at times. However, if you have reached the point where you’re struggling and questioning whether university is right for you, know you’re not alone. Here’s what can help.
Identify the main problem
First, if possible, try to pinpoint the main issues that are causing your unhappiness so far. It’s easier said than done, especially if there is more than one reason. However, certain factors are likely troubling you more than others.
By identifying the main issues, you can tackle them one by one in an attempt to make university more enjoyable. No matter the problem, big or small, never doubt whether the university has a system in place for you.
Talk to someone:
During difficult times such as these, it’s easy to feel alone. Talking to someone can make a big difference in how you feel. It’s worth reaching out to family and friends, gaining some emotional support from those who know you best, especially during a time when homesickness may feel like its peak.
If that is not an option, universities offer an extensive range of support services. With a dedicated team to listen, they can provide guidance when needed.
Similarly, personal tutors and lecturers are also available if your problem is course related. They can talk you through aspects of the modules you find yourself struggling with or anything else you wish to discuss.
Give it some more time:
Although it may not feel like it now, there is always the possibility that things could get better. With the mental strain of the first semester, settling into university may take a little more time for first-year students.
It’s worth waiting to see if things improve on their own before making any serious decisions. There are future modules you’ve yet to experience, people you’ve yet to meet. It’s likely things will change for the better.
Giving yourself more time also provides you with another opportunity to involve yourself in student activities if you haven’t already. Doing this can help make all the difference as it enables you to focus on an aspect of university you enjoy, whether that’s joining the netball team or writing for a student magazine. There are plenty of activities that can boost your enjoyment and help you meet like-minded people.
If there are no improvements over time, then it’s time to consider whether university is the right fit for you. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind, especially after discovering it doesn’t work for you.
Whatever your choices, whatever the outcome, seek support. University may be about independent learning and finding your way, but that doesn’t mean you have to struggle alone.