You've been waiting for move-in day all summer, got a whole new wardrobe, and defriended all of those jerks from high school who you secretly couldn't stand for the last four years — and finally, you've made it to college. But after unpacking, meeting your somewhat strange roommate, and taking classes for a couple weeks, you're filled with a completely different emotion — indifference. What do you do if you hate college? You could have sworn that this was your dream school, but you find yourself weirdly homesick, and totally miserable at college. Your friends seem to be having a blast at their new schools, so you have a feeling that your sudden displeasure is more than just freshman anxiety. Now what?
First, not loving your school is totally normal, so don't prematurely call it quits and skip class to wallow in your misery. Often times, the tour that you get during orientation isn't a good enough indicator as to whether or not you'll be totally happy on campus. There are so many factors that are left out, since — obviously — the orientation leaders try their hardest to put a positive spin on the college that they've been hired to represent.
Not loving college doesn't mean that you're not smart enough, nor does it mean that you're doomed to misery until graduation day. You shouldn't feel as if making the wrong choice was something you could have predicted earlier on. If you're wondering how to make the most of your experience, look no further. Here are a few ways to cope with the college blahs.
1. Try to find a good organization to join
A good club or activity can truly save you. Not only will you find like-minded people, but you'll be able to distract yourself from other, not so fun aspects of college that are stressing you out. Is your roommate making your dorm-life terrible? Escape at the office for your school paper! Too overwhelmed to even think about studying for that major chemistry test? Try that group yoga class at the fitness center! Remember — you're paying to attend this place, so it makes no sense to be a complete hermit by yourself for days on end. Always have a place to go that involves your interests. Heck, that place could be a particularly shady tree in the quad.
2. Schedule a time for your friends to visit
It's super normal to miss your friends, especially if your friends seem to be adjusting perfectly to their post-high school lives. Inviting them to visit might help you explore the campus on a whole new level. Obviously they'll want to see the buildings where you've been spending your time, so giving them a brief tour might restore your spark.
Seeing your friends will also remind you that regardless of the distance, it is possible to keep in touch with them, and plan visits to keep in touch. If a few friends are coming, make sure to clue your roommate in regarding the guests — and if your room isn't big enough to accommodate everyone, consider getting a hotel room and thinking of it as a mini vacation. Taking a short break on the weekend will help you refocus. After getting some good one-on-one time, you might realize that your friends are going through something similar, and just choose to glamorize their experience on social media.
3. Consider changing majors
Maybe you're just not as fond of social work as you originally thought. It's extremely common to realize that you don't want a career in the field that you originally thought, and freshman year is the perfect time to make changes. Maybe it's not the college itself, but the subject.
Being bummed out about all of your courses can definitely make you a little depressed. Guilt from parents might also come into play, since it's quite possible that they pushed you to learn about a field that would be pleasing to them. Sure, they'll be sad about the change, but you'll be the one stuck with the useless elementary ed degree in a few years if you don't speak up now. Reflect on what makes you happiest.
4. Be honest with your parents about it
They might not be able to do too much to help, but being completely honest with them about your feelings will relieve some of the weight off your shoulders. If they're helping to foot the bill, what's the point of funding something that makes you miserable?
If you plan on quitting college entirely, they won't be thrilled. In fact, they might be a little angry, so prep for that reaction if that's the bomb you're choosing to drop. This is why it's definitely important to figure out what you truly want. Is it the campus you don't like, the classes, or the idea of college entirely?
5. Make an effort to accept all invites
Unless you get invited to some kind of creepy cult-like ritual party, try your best to say yes to all event invites. Seriously — even if you have no interest in checking out the school play, it'll be way more fun than not going. The only way you can figure out what truly interests you about the college is by taking it all in.
If you get a personal invite, it's obvious that someone wants to spend more time with you. And who knows? Maybe having a really solid friend will change your entire perspective on things. (Or, maybe it's a super cute guy who wants to get to know you better. It can happen.)
6. Test the waters at other nearby colleges
Just because you said yes to one college doesn't mean that others are off limits. Taking some time to check out other campuses will help you see if you feel a stronger vibe somewhere else. If you find a school that might be a match? Consider transferring.
Likewise, if you're currently far away from home, check out some campuses the next time you visit your parents. It's common to underestimate distance back when you originally applied in high school, and maybe you might just feel way too far away from your loved ones.
Switching schools happens all the time, and just like major switching, it's much easier if you do it during your freshman year.
All in all? You've got this. Making changes will, without a doubt, lead to a much more positive college experience.
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