Why is university like this?

It’s not how I thought it would be!

Our elder has some words of wisdom for a letter writer who is finding her first year of university more of a slog than she thought.

Dear EWC

Recently I began my first year of university. Going into it I was nervous because I wouldn’t be surrounded by the peers I grew to know, but I was also excited to meet some new people because lately, I feel as though I haven’t been fitting in with my current group of friends. I thought maybe once I began university I’d immediately meet new people and be able to have a great experience exploring a new and exciting chapter in my life. However, once I started university I quickly realized that this wasn’t the case. It’s such a big leap from high school and I don’t feel equipped to deal with all the work I have to do on a daily basis. On top of that, I haven’t met anybody new whereas all of my old friends have already developed new friendships. Some may say that I should ‘join a club’ to connect with people who have similar interests but I don’t think that is a plausible option for me since I commute to school and it takes a large portion out of my day. I’m also still working 16 hours a week to pay for school and I don’t think I could juggle a club as well as a job and homework. I really thought that university would be some of the best years of my life but honestly, I just feel depressed. I miss the safe confines of high school and I miss my childhood. I feel like I don’t have anything to look forward to except the summer and it’s taking a toll on me. Please shed some insight on how you think I should tackle this problem because I’m at a loss here. Thank you.

Good-Listener replies

So sorry you’re feeling so overwhelmed with things right now. You do have a lot on your plate, no denying. First, you are commended for the effort you’re putting in. I know it sounds hokey to say that this is teaching you more than you know — and, may even look back at it and say, while it was hard and even lonely — you’ll discover how truly capable and competent you are. And, how prepared you’ll be for some of life’s challenges. But that’s the future… the question is how to feel better now?

You are correct, joining groups is great if you have the time — but it sounds as if it’s currently not realistic. Options are to possibly join a study group — where you’d be kind of killing two birds with one stone or cut down on your classes, which, I wouldn’t suggest unless you honestly feel you’re becoming so depressed, that something has to give. Nothing is worth your mental health.

When I was in college I did live in an apartment at one point but also worked constantly. Then for about 2/3 of my senior year I worked full time and went to school full time. It was hard and now I don’t know how I got through it. But I did, and you will too. Try to find pockets of healthy distraction. I said the study group because you’d be involved with other students while you took care of homework. Know that this is a means to an end…. and, honestly, when this is over you’ll be ahead of the game and more prepared for the “real” world than most of your fellow students. Look for pockets of relaxation, even if it is just binge watching something or taking time in between schedules for lunch or dinner. Please keep the faith — you’re on the right path and there will be an end to the intensity. Good luck!

Letter #: 429416
Category: School

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