Confront your doubts before you choose to drop out

Okay, so I’ve ranted about the sad state of affairs with students who drop out of uni, but what about some practical advice? First off, 7 tips to students already at uni and struggling one way or another. After that, 5 snippets of advice to any potential unigoers out there. Whatever your choices, believe in them and hold your head up high.

Current Uni Students

  1. Identify the problem in your mind – Can you pinpoint the reasons why you feel unhappy?
  2. Vary who you talk to about uni issues – You’ll get wildly different opinions and advice, depending on who you speak to. Parents, friends, tutors, Students’ Union, student advisors/counsellors, independent bodies; they will all help to shape your thoughts. Don’t rely on just one view, or you risk missing vital information that could help turn your life around.
  3. Be honest – If you’ve been pushed somewhere you don’t want to be, try to talk about it calmly and openly. Explain your issues and why you are finding it so difficult. If this isn’t fruitful, or proves too difficult, seek advice from the university itself and see if they can suggest other options that you might not be aware of.
  4. Don’t keep it to yourself – Sometimes it can be difficult to admit to any problems if everyone else around you seems happy enough with their course. But bottling things up will only make matters worse. Even if you don’t want to speak to friends about it, there are plenty of other sources (as mentioned in Point 2) that you can contact in confidence.
  5. Highlight the aspects of uni that you DO enjoy – A negative attitude can lead us to forget about all the good things surrounding us. Make sure you see both sides of the picture.
  6. Look inwards – Even the best of us don’t like to acknowledge a personal need for change. In some situations, a stubborn attitude can lead to hating aspects of uni life that wouldn’t be half the problem if you were willing to make a slight alteration to serve our overall wellbeing.
  7. Change location – If your mind has come to a halt because your university worries are taking place when you’re in the middle of that very university, it’s probably best to arrange a week or two away from it all. If possible, go home (or wherever you feel most comfortable) and relax away from the uni itself. In a different place, we tend to think differently and come up with new ideas. So take some time to reflect on what difficulties you have and look for a solution from this distance.

photo by Wazari

Potential Uni Students

  1. Look beyond the degree itself – Even the toughest degree courses allow great chunks of time for you to let your mind go wild. You’ll have the freedom to pursue any number of hobbies, interests, sports, social gatherings, and activities.
  2. Don’t panic if you’re uncertain about what degree to take – You’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you. My advice would be to do whatever you’re most interested in getting to grips with at a deeper level. If you have a particular career in mind, you’d best go with the corresponding degree (although you’ll then probably be more certain about your choices anyway, natch!).
  3. Don’t panic if you’re uncertain about your future career and life plans – Follow the same advice as above…look to a degree subject that you have most interest in, even if it doesn’t follow any particular career focus. I studied English because I love it. I had no major career plan when I chose what to study.
  4. Consider university as a platform for opportunity – The possibilities are endless. You could become a senior student, stand to be elected for a role in your Student Union exec, promote a worthy cause, show off your acting skills, start a society, write for the student paper, or present a show on the uni radio station.  And it all looks good on your CV
  5. If university is not for you, explain why – If you’re feeling pushed into uni but have other plans, explain in detail what your ambition is, why you feel it’s so important, and how you aim to do it. If you really have done your homework and have solid – and feasible – plans, people are far less likely to brush your ideas off as folly.