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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » College Woes

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Author Topic: College Woes
Roxie102
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I've been at college a week, but I have a feeling I'm not going to like it. I've met people on my hall and a few in classes, but they all party on the weekends, and I'm not interested in that at all because I don't drink and don't really like parties. I'm really shy so I find it super hard just to go up to people and talk to them. Because of this, I've been eating most of my meals alone, and that's really beginning to suck. I live only 40 minutes away and I have a car, so it's really hard to not want to go back home every chance I get. The thing is, I know that will make things worse in the long run. Also, I don't have a roommate, so while I like being alone, that's kind of making things worse too. Basically all I've been doing is studying, watching TV, and talking to friends on the phone. It seems like everyone else is already making friends, but I'm not. I feel like it will be almost impossible to make good friends because though I don't drink or smoke, I'm liberal and not religious, and I'm not sure very many people like me exist, and if they do, I don't know where to find them. I know it's only been a week, but this is really wearing me down. I almost just want to go back home and get a job. My school is really expensive and I had to take out loans, and since I don't know what I want to major in or really do with my life, I feel like I'm wasting my time and money by not even enjoying things. I really don't know what to do. [Frown]
Posts: 255 | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
copper86
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Roxie102, my first year of university was very similar to yours. I was very shy, went home every weekend, and studied all the time. I had some friends, but I didn't go out much at all. When I transferred schools though, I came out of my shell a little more and met some people on my floor who had similar interests to mine. One of them turned out to be a great friend and an off-campus roommate for my last year and a half of school.

I know how lonely you feel, and how you think that college life is not for you. I felt exactly the same way. I had a major but nothing else was happening for me. I promise you that things will get better in time (if someone who is shy like me can make friends, then I know you will too! [Smile] ). I always feel so low and sad the first week of school - even in my fifth year! It's a huge transition every time, and it takes a while to get into the groove of school; just like how summer vacation seems a little weird at first and then you get used to it.

Think of the following whenever you feel down about school:
- so many students - whether they're first years or upper-years - feel the exact same way you do. You are not alone in this, trust me!
- you can do some quick things to get acquainted with new people. Walk down your hall, sit beside a stranger in class, or sit with someone new at lunch, and say hi. Honestly, if you ask someone if they did their homework and what they like about school so far, that could be a good first step in making a new friend.

I know how scary it is to do this - and it took me a while to be able to do it - but please do not be so hard on yourself. You sound like a sweet and great person, and those qualities are attractive in forming new relationships. Starting and stopping school for work and then going back are fine, too; but see if the next few weeks get better. Soon, you'll be doing projects and maybe even group work, and that might help you in meeting more people. What clubs does your college have that might interest you? What about volunteering on or off-campus?

Take care! I'll be thinking of you! Take some time for you and try to relax. Everything will be okay!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Redskies
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Hi, Roxie.

I think it's very common for people to feel out-of-place in the first days at college, and it Totally seems like Everyone else has about a million friends and is loving it. I absolutely guarantee you, there will be other people a little like you sitting quietly and studying, wishing they could meet people, and thinking that every single other person in the place is a party-animal type - because those are the people we notice, you know?

I think you're right that going home at every opportunity wouldn't help in the long-run. What you might do, though, is use it as a source of support while you settle in - plan when you're going to visit, to give you some times where you feel more at ease and more like yourself. If there are people in your hall who seem ok to you, even if you don't want to socialise with them on weekend evenings - at least in my hall, people often left their doors open when they were happy to have visitors, so you could possibly see whose doors are open and knock on them and see if they want to chat? If you have a cafeteria, you could maybe do that before a meal and see if someone wants to go together. If you have kitchen facilities, you might see if people you share them with are up for you cooking a big pot of food and sharing it? Are there clubs/societies for activities and/or academic interests that you're interested in that you could join? You could also try smiling at a quiet-seeming person you've seen around, and if they smile back, go over and say hi?

Like you say, it's been a week. It does take some of us longer to settle in than that, and there are plenty of people who build really strong friendships in college who didn't feel like they belonged in the first week. For many people, too, the people they meet in the first week turn out not to be people who they really know in the future. You say you're a bit shy, and I think in many ways, the first week of college is more suited to outgoing people who prefer lots of people around them, rather than perhaps quieter people who prefer to make fewer, closer friends.

A few people Do realise straight away that college, or a particular college, isn't right for them, and if that's you, that's ok. I'd encourage you not to leave unless you're sure that that's the right thing to do, though, because college life can tend to take a while to settle down for some people. You're also not wasting your money just because you're not enjoying it, because this settling-in stage is part of the whole experience. Remember, too, that if you decide to give this a chance and you still don't feel happy in the future, usually it's very possible to transfer to another college, so it won't have been a waste.

Also, some colleges have settling-in/help/listening services for people who aren't finding it so easy. Sometimes there are even things set up for people who just want to meet new people for a juice/coffee. Do you know if yours has anything like that? Is that something you might consider trying to start yourself?

I'm sorry that you're feeling miserable; try not to panic about this. It's going to be ok, one way or another; and loads more people than you realise feel very similarly to you.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Onionpie
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Hi Roxie102! Apparently your thread has opened up the chatter-box within me; this is a bit of a monster post, I'm afraid.

I am a very similar kind of person to you -- I don't smoke, or drink much, do any kind of drugs/other substances, or enjoy big parties. And when I first started university, I felt exactly the same way you did -- it seems freakin' EVERYBODY is into partying and drinking!

I went to the university's frosh/freshman week to try and meet some of my fellow first-years, but I didn't make any lasting good friendships there. I just felt even more alone! By the end of frosh week everyone had found some friends and would hang out, and I'd just go for walks exploring campus by myself.

But! Things changed. After two weeks, I decided to join the Womyn's Centre to try and meet some more similarly-minded people. And guess what! It worked [Smile] There was a girl in that group who turned out to also be in my women's and gender studies class, so after meeting at the volunteer training session, we started sitting beside each other in class and then started hanging out afterwards. She's been my best friend for three years now [Smile]

Similarly, I got put in a situation in second year that led me to another friend. I study music, you see, so my professor decided that for one of my recitals I should do a duet with a first-year fellow saxophone player.

So we practised our piece together, and I decided that since I'd have to be seeing this guy quite a bit for the next month or two until the recital, I might as well try to be friendly with him! It turned out that, like me, he's a european who misses europe with a burning passion, loves soccer, loves to travel, is a socialist, feminist, anti-any-ism-imaginable, and a jazz lover. We ended up becoming the very best of friends, and after two years he's still my best friend in the whole world, and now he's my partner too! [Smile]

So, as you can see, I no longer felt like I was the only introverted liberal in my university. I met all of my friends in university either the same way as these two best friends I mentioned, or the way copper mentioned (by just asking about class/homework/something simple like that). I looked for groups that interested me, to find more people who are also passionate about those things. I forced myself to get out of my shell and my comfort zone and actually chat to people I didn't know! Amazing! I'd never really done that before.

I definitely would suggest that you try to find groups around your university that interest you. University isn't like high school in that respect -- there are MANY groups and clubs that you can join. There are feminist spaces (such as my school's Womyn's centre, for example) and other activist groups, all sorts of sports groups (I joined an archery group), geeky-out groups (we have a Quidditch team at my university!), musical groups, community groups like the GLBTQ and GSA, and the list goes on! It's a great way to find people who are more similar to you; then you have to push yourself a little to take that first step and just say "hi! Nice Doctor Who shirt!" or something [Smile]

So I'm with copper. You're definitely not alone, and you'll definitely be able to make friends, don't worry. Many of us have been in exactly the same situation [Smile]

[ 08-25-2012, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: Onionpie ]

Posts: 1311 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roxie102
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Thanks, Copper, Redskies, and Onionpie! [Smile] I hope that things will get better. I just don't know what to tell my family next weekend when I go home for Labor Day break. I don't want to lie and say that everything is great, but at the same time, I don't want them to worry about me.

I guess I should just wait it out and see how things go in the coming weeks. I know it's too early to make a huge decision now. I've been looking for clubs that interest me, so I will be trying a few out in the coming weeks. I applied for a job on campus, but nothing came of it. It's good to know that there are people out there just like me because I feel like everyone on my hall thinks I'm weird or something. They're all nice to me but they just don't seem like people I want to really get to know. Is it bad to be spending my time talking to friends and family instead of throwing myself into life here?

[ 08-25-2012, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: Roxie102 ]

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copper86
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You're welcome! Has anyone in your family gone to college away from home? If they have, I guarantee you that they've experienced similar situations. It's a transition, and those phases are not always easy. You can always tell them something positive about your college experiences so far and maybe leave out the rest until you feel more comfortable talking about it or if things get better. Do you like your residenc, your classes, you floor? What about the scenery and the student centres to get food? Do you like having meals on-campus? Those could be simple things to tell your family.

My mom and dad always worried about me and same with my brother, even if I was happy in university. It's a parent's job to worry, as my mom says, so don't feel as if you can't tell them. They can help you and listen and maybe give you some input. They love you and want what's best for you, so if you do decide to tell them this, they will help you and give you support. My mom and dad were very helpful when I told them I wasn't happy at my first university (which was obvious, but admitting it was hard) and that I wanted to transfer. Having their support helped me do that. I'm not saying you should or should not tell them - just that you will have their support, no matter what. Things will get better! [Smile]

--------------------
"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Roxie102
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My mom and uncle went to the same school I'm at now, and they're both more shy and quiet like me. My uncle knew some people already and was in the band, so I think he had a pretty easy time meeting people, but I know my mom basically stayed holed up in her room all the time studying and never met many people. I don't want to be like that, but I know she'll understand if I tell her how it's going for me.

I like my classes so far and my room is really nice, so there are some good things. [Smile]

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