College is frequently touted as being "the best years of your life". According to television, newspapers, books, your older sister, and even your neighbor, college is supposed to be so great. Filled with meaningful conversations and meaningless hook ups, college is one last celebration before the realities of the real world set in.
But what if it isn't?
For many of us, college isn't anything like we imagined. Maybe classes are fine and your roommate is perfectly lovely, but something deep down inside just isn't clicking with this whole "college" thing. And while your parents are telling you to give it the old "college try" (pun intended), you'd rather much stay in your room and surf the internet.
The disappointment created when our expectations are not met is particularly hurtful because it never feels as if we've been fed a well-crafted lie; rather, we all believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with what we're doing... or with ourselves.
However, I'm here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. And there's nothing wrong with you. Sometimes a school just isn't a right fit. Sometimes college itself isn't for you. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with these realizations.
If you find yourself feeling a little disappointed after arriving at university, follow these tips to gain understanding of and a plan for your situation.
The First 2 Things to Do If You Hate College:
1. Figure Out What and Why
This may seem obvious to some, but for many of us it can be difficult to ascertain the source of our problems. It's all too easy to be consumed by our struggles without ever figuring out what is bothering you about your school and why.
Sit down and have a real honest, talk with yourself. What, specifically, isn't working for you? How, specifically are you feeling? You need to be able to explicitly point out your issues so that you can confidently explain your situation to your parents and/or administrators, if need be.
2. Make a Game Plan
After laying out your problems, it's time to come up with a viable solution. For some, transferring is a great option. Many colleges allow you to transfer into their institution after one semester.
However, it is important to note that it becomes extremely difficult to transfer after your sophomore year. Most schools, including mine, mandate that your final credit hours must be taken there. Another obstacle transfer students face is the frustration of transferring credits. Oftentimes, students have to repeat courses simply because the credits didn't transfer. This is not to say you can't transfer after sophomore year, but you need to be aware of the financial and time cost you'll face.
For others, transferring is not an option. If that's you, perhaps instead you could consider taking a semester off to get your mind right. You'll save some money and hopefully your sanity by removing yourself from a mentally taxing situation.
However, if those two plans don't seem like they would work for you, then my best advice is to make it work. Yes, it's cliche and and little bit harsh, but I promise, you can work through this.
Sticking it Out: How to Make the Best of Your Current College
1. Make More Friends
The best way to make a school you're not really feeling work for you is to find friends you truly like. As a naturally introverted gal, I understand that this could be seen as a daunting task, but it is absolutely crucial.
The friends you make in college may or may not become your friends for life, but they will certainly be the people that get you through the #collegestruggles. FACT: having a solid foundation of reliable and loving friends makes even the darkest days seem conquerable. Which brings us to tip number two...
2. Join the Nerdiest Club Possible
Hear me out: while it's certainly worth it to join the most popular organization on campus, it can be just as rewarding to look into smaller, more niche activities to find quality friendships.
From personal experience, some of the best people join stereotypically "nerdy" clubs. So ignore the haters and unleash your inner nerd. Go join that improv team! Watch anime with the Japanese Culture Club! There you'll find the people who earnestly and shamelessly embrace their passions; who wouldn't want people like that in their lives?
3. Keep Your Grades Up
Even though it is so incredibly easy to give up on classes when you're not in the mood for school, it's in your best interest to maintain a respectable GPA. Even if it's a struggle to get out of bed in the morning, make going to class a priority. This will make all the difference if you decide to transfer and it'll give you at least something to be proud of and focus on while at school.
4. Visit University Counseling
As a part of a nationwide shift in how we talk about depression and anxiety on college campuses, many universities have implemented free counseling services for all of their students. Their services often include individual counseling and psychotherapy, group counseling, and disability outreach.
It's important to understand that it is okay to ask for help. College, as a whole, is an overwhelming experience and sometimes there comes a point where you can't do it alone. If you need some help sorting through your grievances with your school, stop by your university's counseling center for some confidential advice.
What Do You Think?
Did you guys love college at first? Or did it take some getting used to? Are you guys transfer students? What was that experience like? Let us know in the comments!