11 Common Struggles Every Student Will Face in College

There are bound to be highs and lows when you're in college. Find out what are some of the main struggles that college students typically face so that you'll know what to expect when you're in college.

Updated 12 Jul 2019

11 Common Struggles Every Student Will Face in College - Feature-Image

Exciting times await when you’re finally going to college.

Frequent hangout and party sessions, great people to mingle with, passing your papers with flying colours – just like in the TV shows, right?

The reality is that it’s really… not so pleasant at times. Don’t get us wrong – we’re not trying to pour cold water on your expectations for college. College life will no doubt be exciting and exhilarating, but it’s definitely going to be filled with lots of ups and downs.

Here are some common college student struggles to keep your college expectations grounded.

#1. Walking to… everywhere

college struggles - walking everywhere

You probably won’t recall a time where you have to depend on your pair of legs so much – and how tough it can be. Journeys under the hot, scorching sun or the cold, stormy rain. The seemingly endless flight of stairs. Sore feet and painful blisters.

So what can you do?

First things first – get a pair of comfortable shoes. For ladies, avoid heels at all costs, unless it’s really necessary. Having friends to walk with you can make your journey seem less of a torture too.

#2. Trying to socialise and fit in

college struggles - trying to fit in

You’re bound to meet a lot of unfamiliar faces with dynamic personalities in college. Without support from your high school buddies and having to start from zero, the ice-breaking journeys ahead are bound to be filled with feelings of being judged or assessed, awkward silences, pondering what to say next, and the list goes on.

So what can you do?

Be yourself. Yes, it’s cliché, but how else do you expect to go about everyday in college other than being yourself? If you fit in, that’s great! If you don’t, nothing to fuss about. There are plenty others that you can mingle with.

#3. Dealing with people who give you shit problems

college struggles - annoying peers

On your worst college days, good friends can make everything feel like a breeze. On the other hand, you may also come across people who will give you a hard time. And they will gossip, backstab, or behave in ways that annoy and frustrate you.

So what can you do?

As much as you can, try to forgive and forget. Or just ignore. Because they really are not worth your time. You will be better off spending your valuable time with those who can make your days brighter.

#4. To date or not to date

college struggles - to date or not to date

Alright, so you’ve managed to fit in just fine. Then comes a greater dilemma – you have a crush on someone. Confessing to the other person is in itself a huge test, you’re also cracking your head over the question – to date or not to date.

So what can you do?

Feel free to confide in a close relative or a friend for objective opinions. Perhaps looking at both sides of the love coin can help you decide better. Ultimately, it’s your call.

#5. Deciding on where (or, what) to eat?

college struggles - what to eat

The perpetual dilemma for college students, and even for working adults! Malaysia is blessed with a wealth of diverse foods, which pains us even more to come to a decision for lunch! At times, you’d rather settle with instant noodles than making up your mind.

So what can you do?

Get a wheel to decide for you! All you need to do is just list down all your food choices and stick to the result. Continue use until you learn how to make up your mind for lunch (or dinner). *wink

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#6. Being busy looking for the best deals

college struggles - good deals hunting

Your books cost a bomb. Food and groceries are pricier with each passing year. Activities in college have fees and whatnots. Almost everything you want to do in college involves some parting with your money and you’re running short.

So what can you do?

Check out sites like Malaysia Freebies or BigSale Malaysia to scout for sales and promotions. Otherwise, you may want to scrutinise what you’re spending your money on. Prioritise your expenses. You can be better off making do without a new phone in exchange for invaluable memories with your college buddies going for a budget trip together.

#7. Morning class struggle

college struggles - struggle waking up

It’s strange that you used to be able to wake up at 5 - 6 in the morning everyday in high school but in college, waking up at even 8am can be such a chore – especially for subjects that don’t interest you (read: next point below)! Maybe you’re just getting old the effects of long accumulated sleep deficit from high school.

So what can you do?

Remember, you need at least 7 hours of sleep per day. Try to cultivate a fixed / regular sleeping schedule. Get regular exercise. Minimise light and noise so that you’ll sleep better. You don’t want to end up with these issues when you’re deprived of sleep.

#8. Coping with subjects that you don’t like

college struggles - struggle with subjects you dislike

You may have picked a course that you’re absolutely passionate about, but there are probably some subjects that you are strongly averse to. Subjects that you may deem your adversary. The painful thing is? They are compulsory and contribute to your overall score at the end of the semester.

So what can you do?

Recognise the fact that you’ll need help for these subjects. Plenty of help and work. Form study groups to tackle these subjects. Get notes and tips from your seniors. Practice repetitively with past year papers. And then, you can celebrate after your final paper. #yayy #battlewon

#9. Fighting with lethargy

college struggles - fighting with lethargy

Although college life can be hectic, many students still find themselves falling into a state of being… bored. Probably the same routine of college life has taken its toll on you. Let’s be honest, college life can be pretty repetitive – constantly revolving around dull classes, dreadful assignments and exams.

So what can you do?

Take initiative. Get yourself out there and participate in activities that you may be interested in. Take up a hobby or sport. Actively seeking out fruitful experiences in college may just be the right cure for your weariness.

#10. Always feeling like you don’t have enough time

college struggles - not enough time

On the one hand, you may be battling lethargy. On the other hand, you may find yourself running short of time to do things that you have set out to do. You feel like you need more than 24 hours a day to juggle between club activities, a part-time job, friends and family, classes, assignments and projects, and exams.

So what can you do?

You’re probably a time management expert by now so asking you to manage your time properly won’t help. You need to prioritise your time instead. You can’t change the amount of hours you have in a day, but you can most definitely control the amount of commitments you’re getting yourself into.

#11. Managing mental health issues

college struggles - managing mental health

One of the major issues plaguing, not only college students but Malaysia as a whole is mental disorders. Feeling lonely, depressed, anxious and stressed is common among college students. Some may even have sleep, eating or addictive disorders. And they are not to be taken lightly of.

So what can you do?

Learn more about what causes you unrest and how you can manage them. Constantly observe your behaviour – are you self-sabotaging or relying too much on certain substances? If you need help, do not be afraid to reach out. Talking to a close relative or a friend, or even Befrienders can do wonders.

For the record, these are just a few of the many challenges that you may face in college. But whatever your struggles are, know that they are just temporary. College life is meant to be one of the most memorable times of your life anyway, so enjoy the highs and lows to the fullest. #YOLO

So keep your positive energy high and take these challenges as a learning opportunity and you will be well set-up for life later on. #whatdoesntkillyoumakesyoustronger

At times, you may feel compelled to seek immediate relief amid your seemingly endless struggles in college. But be wary that some choices that you make in college can possibly destroy your future.

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    Chia Wei Choong

    Chia Wei Choong

    Retiring night owl. Occasionally addicted to caffeine and absolutely addicted to fried chicken.