What to Do When Your College Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan
Is your college life not going the way you expected? Here are some helpful tips on how you can overcome the blues.
Updated 06 Oct 2020
We all have great plans and expectations for college. After all, many have said that it’s the best time of your life.
But sometimes, the best-laid plans can go awry.
Perhaps you’re struggling academically and hating the course you chose. Perhaps you’re not making any friends. Or maybe you’re having a hard time being away from home.
Here are some things you can do if you feel like college is bringing you down.
#1. Revisit your motivation
So you’re in the middle of your academic semester and you’re struggling with your programme. You’re finding it hard to focus in class, you’re hitting a brick wall whenever an assignment is due and you’re passing your exams by the skin of your teeth.
You wonder, what has happened to your motivation?
The reality is that it’s difficult to maintain the same enthusiasm for your course as when you first started. Motivation often waxes and wanes, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
To get out of this rut, try looking back in time and reflecting on why you decided to pursue the course in the first place. What was it that excited you? Did you have a clear goal in mind back then? By revisiting your initial goals and motivation, you may be able to reignite your passion and find meaning in your course again.
#2. Process your thoughts and emotions
Whether you’re experiencing academic stress or just feeling lost and lonely at university, it’s crucial to spend some time to understand your thoughts and feelings.
You can start by noticing what’s bothering you and try asking yourself why you feel that way. This can be done through journaling, recording yourself talking with your phone or confiding in a close friend — whatever that works best for you.
Once you have a better idea why you’re feeling the way you do, you’ll be able to come up with an actionable plan to address your issues.
#3. Grow a passion
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and all you’ve been doing is studying, chances are you could be approaching a burnout.
Take the pressure off your academic life by cultivating a hobby. More than just a way to pass time, hobbies can relieve stress as you relax and seek pleasure in things that aren’t associated with college, work or other responsibilities.
Moreover, it could also lead to new friendships as you connect with people who have the same interests, whether it’s by joining a club or attending a workshop.
#4. Speak to your university counsellor
Friends are great but there are times where you should reach out to a professional instead.
Most colleges and universities will have a counselling centre where you can approach them about a variety of issues, whether it’s academic stress, mental health or relationship issues. These services are often free and confidential. Know that they are not there to judge you; rather, they are there to lend you an ear and provide professional advice to help you in your journey.
#5. Take a break from university
If you’ve tried every trick in the book and still find yourself struggling with university, you may want to take a break and defer a semester. There is no shame in spending some time to recharge your mental, social and emotional state so you can be in a better position to make logical decisions about your future.
During this period away, make sure to take care of your mental health by practising self-care and empathy towards yourself. You could also take on some part-time jobs or internships to rediscover your passion and what it is that you want to do in future.
The truth is that no college experiences are the same and everyone has their own challenges to overcome. These tips may not be a one-size-fits-all but they can be an inspiration for you to start somewhere. Take this time to ponder on your decisions and remind yourself that it gets better. All the best!