When you go to uni you are told, in no uncertain terms, to make the most of it. Seize the moment, Carpe diem and other corny cliches you can cross stitch onto a pillow. Because according to almost every adult, these are the golden years. Your last chance to truly enjoy yourself and be somewhat free before you’re shackled to actual, real adult life until the bitter end.
So, obviously once you get to university, it should all fall into place. You should be enjoying your course. Making bonds with your classmates that could last years if not decades. You should be making unforgettable memories at least every week. You should be happy . . . at least that’s what everyone thinks. But that isn’t necessarily true or realistic.
For various reasons, many are unhappy during their time at uni. Whether it’s the course, the enviroment, the people, etc. If you’re unhappy, you aren’t alone. Here are ways to help you make the most out of uni!
1. Stop Feeling Guilty
The first thing you must do if you do start to feel unhappy at university is to stop beating yourself up over it. Despite what people say, you are allowed to feel whatever you want, whenever you want. There’s no set way for you to process something. Before you can deal with the unhappiness you may be feeling, you have to let go of this guilt at you somehow not living up to this lofty expectation to make every moment oh so amazing.
2. Interrogate The Issue
To get yourself to a place where you’re happy, you have to think about where all the upset is coming from in the meantime. Maybe you hate being apart from your family, maybe your room in halls sucks, maybe you miss your old secondary school friends or maybe your course just isn’t what you thought it would be.
4. Allow Yourself To Change Your Mind
Indecisiveness may be a pain when you’re in the queue at McDonalds and the other person just won’t make up their mind but there’s no crime in changing your mind. Finding out that you are taking the wrong course is a common problem that many experience that can lead to feeling unhappy during your time at uni. Most schools have a period of a couple weeks at the beginning of the academic year which allows you to switch. Don’t sit and wallow and instead march yourself down to reception and see what other great things you can achieve.
5. Tell People
No matter the problem, talk about it. Grinning and baring it will only get you so far. Your friends and family will want to help you in any way they can. Perhaps by arranging a trip for you to see them so you feel less rotten or just a lengthy phone call that reminds you that your closeness isn’t marred by distance.
6. Don’t Force It
While every college/university media piece may involve lots of reckless partying doesn’t mean you gotta go out every time you’re asked. Everyone’s different and making yourself perform what you believe to be “normal” university activities may be contributing to your unhappiness. Just relax and do what YOU enjoy. No matter where you are, your comfort is something you have to prioritise. Sure, try new things but everyone has a limit. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge yours.
7. Talk To Your Lecturers/Uni
A lot of people can trigger mental health issues when in university as the pressure can be intense. This can cause bouts of anxiety and depression in a lot of people, meaning your university experience can become a very negative one. It is a great idea to bring this up with your university and lecturers to see if there’s any way they can accommodate you. You are, after all, their customer in a way and they are there not just to teach you and push you academically but also to make sure your experience is a positive one over all.
8. Quitting Is Okay
In an uncertain economy where employers don’t frequently like to train up employees, experience seems to be king and degrees usually just window dressing (unless you’re a doctor or lawyer). So if you have changed courses and tried everything and still don’t feel quite right, then it’s okay to throw your hands up and admit that maybe uni life isn’t the life you want to be in.
Leaving university will not mean you won’t be successful or you’re not smart. It just means it wasn’t for you and there are so many other paths you can take such as apprenticeships and just jumping straight into the workforce.
University is an incredible change of pace for many people. Just because you aren’t elated by it every second of every day isn’t a bad thing. For a lot of people this is the first time you are truly independent. So take some time to see what works for you and how you feel. It’ll be important not just now but later in life.
But most importantly. Don’t ever feel bad about how you feel.
Do you have any other ways to manage being unhappy at uni?! Share in the comments below!
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