What to do if you find yourself hating the first year of university

For many of us, going to university feels like one of the best accomplishments in our life so far – and there is no worse feeling than the sinking realisation that you hate it.

But all is not lost – your future does not have to be doomed and there are options at your disposal so long as you have the strength to take them.

  1. Talk to a student adviser – Before you make any decision about dropping out or changing course make sure you have sat down and talked through your concerns with a student adviser. Leaving home for the first time can be very difficult and often the problems that seems monolithic at the time will fade as you mentally adjust to the new environment.
  2. Realise it’s OK not to be happy (even after talking it through) – in contrast to the last point, talking with someone can actually leave you feeling more unsure. The real thing you need to figure out is why you are unhappy. Meditation is useful for this, just sit down and take some time to really figure out if it’s a classic case of the homesick blues or a real problem with the course.

Often it will just be a case of home sickness and is imperative you see this through. It can feel lonely, you might even feel out of place and rejected but it does get better providing you are prepared to put in the work and these feelings of homesickness are not unique just to you, the majority of your peers feel the same but deal with it differently, some choose to drink and become extra social, and some lock themselves in their room.

However in the event that you really dread waking up every day to study your course – you have to act with impetus.

  1. It is possible to change course however the longer you leave it the less likely a transfer will be accepted. You should contact your chosen course or university first – do not leave this to your own university to do, make a choice, choose a course and explain why you want to transfer to that course.
  2. Don’t let the student adviser put you off – When I wanted to change course in week three my student adviser treated me like a child and explained that I was leaving it quite late to transfer. My main problem was I had no idea what I wanted to do – I just knew it wasn’t that. Find out where you want to go and stick by it.

If you do end up leaving it too late – there are still options available, but at this stage it gets considerably harder to move without dropping out and rejoining your new course at year one. It is easier to change between similar courses where as a complete change in field may be less likely the longer you leave it – essentially the faster you act the better your chances.

That’s not to say you can’t change later, some manage to transfer course after year one however in this case it is definitely worth building a rapport with your chosen universities admissions team and module leader because it is often the case that universities will only offer you to start at year one.

The good news is that as a student you get four years of student finance so if the worst was to happen you can drop out and do your chosen course at the next academic opening.

The important thing to remember is that being unhappy with your course is OK and you should not try to continue in vain – make sure you seek advice from independent parties as well as your family and friends, but recognise that sometimes the course is just not for you and regardless of how much pressure you feel from family and friends three years of paying to do a course you hate is torture – and that’s if you make it that far.