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I’m not happy in college and am considering leaving, but I don’t know what to do.

macaroni17macaroni17 0 replies1 threads New Member
I’m a 19 year old female who is attending college 1.5 hours away from home. I’m a freshmen studying civil engineering (thinking about switching to business) and have a full ride. I am extremely grateful for the full ride because all throughout high school I worked my butt off to get good grades so that I could go to college. I was ecstatic when I found out I could attend my dream college and study engineering, but lately I’ve been thinking about not continuing my studies. I don’t really have a back up plan if I were to drop out, but I’m just not happy. I have friends in college, but I still feel lonely. I constantly walk around with this horribly feeling in my stomach because I feel alone. People tell me to join clubs and make friends and I have, but I still feel like this. I don’t know what happened from high school to college. I was so motivated and determined to attend college in high school and I knew what I was choosing when I chose a college 1.5 hours away from home, but I’m simply not enjoying college nor getting used to it. I’m tired of the weekly quizzes and constant studying plus the pressure to always be the best at everything. I know I probably sound ungrateful for not being happy and content with what I have, but I don’t want to go through my four years here being miserable and crying every week. I don’t know what to do to make me feel better. I’ve talked to people and gone to the counseling center, but nothing works. Any advice/comments are appreciated.
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Replies to: I’m not happy in college and am considering leaving, but I don’t know what to do.

  • HPuck35HPuck35 2012 replies15 threads Senior Member
    First off, you have to realize that your life has changed. It changed whether you went to college or not. Your high school days are over. I'm not saying this to be mean, but to inspire you to think about your future. The drive to do well after college will help focus you as the drive to get to a good college helped focus your high school time.

    You are really just starting with engineering. I'd recommend you stick with it a while longer. Switching to business can more easily occur later than switching to business now and then trying to switch back to engineering later.

    College is a lot of work, especially engineering. Develope a routine to get your work done. Many people (like me) did better and actually enjoyed doing the work when I did it as a study group. Get involved in project work. You get to see where all those seemingly endless problem sets are leading you to.

    You don't mention going home on weekends. If you are, DON'T. Weekends are where you deepen you relationships with your classmates and develope those closer ties.

    Hang in there and try to keep a positive attitude. That posititive attitude will go a long way to making you feel better about college and yourself.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38771 replies2127 threads Super Moderator
    ^Great advice. I was a female civil engineering student. It was HARD at first. There were only a few other engineering students in my private women's dorm, and most of them quickly switched majors. I was floundering in honors physics - so many smart people in that class!!

    I hung in there and things got better starting my sophomore year. The classes were more interesting and I met other people. Study groups are fantastic - you're all in the same boat and it's a good way to get know other people.

    I also think it's a good idea to stick with engineering. It's a satisfying career, because you're not just shuffling papers - you're creating something! You can drive around town and see your designs! And although most civil/structural engineers are guys, they really are nice people. I've run into a couple of jerks in my 30+ year career, but that would be true in any field. 99.9% of them are a joy to work with.
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 2012 replies15 threads Senior Member
    Yes, I should have also added that engineering was to a extremely satisfying career. I worked for a NASA contractor. About half my career was designing and analyzing parts of the Space Station. I can go just about anywhere and be able to look up in the evening sky some days and watch it go by. Still proud of what I was able to do.

    And I worked with a large number of great and very smart people. It is those people that made the work most enjoyable.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1801 replies26 threads Senior Member
    Engineering isn't for everyone. Some find it satisfying and rewarding, while others find it tedious and boring. First, start by determining if the Engineering major is part of what is making you feel the way you are. Talk with others - advisors, professors, counselor, classmates... If indeed a good chunk of the problem is that Engineering isn't the right fit for you, then switching to business (or something else) will help your overall situation.

    In terms of friends and feeling lonely I think you have to give it time. Keep trying and keep being positive. It takes time to feel at home in a new place.

    Lastly, if you were my own child I would tell you to find your grit. I would say that you need to make up your mind to take advantage of that full ride and to finish in college and get a degree no matter what. This is a life changing opportunity that you do not want to waste or walk away from. Dig your heals in, get gritty, and get 'er done. Doing the right thing isn't always fun, exciting, or what we imagined. But IMHO, the right thing here is to get that college degree.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4447 replies18 threads Senior Member
    First off go to the counseling office and speak to someone today. From your description from high school to college something is not right. Home sickness, depression, losing interest, these are common feelings but uncommon from high school. You will see your not alone but they will also give you strategies to help you deal with your feeling now. Otherwise it will start to affect your school work.

    Secondly, you haven't even really started engineering yet. Your most likely just taking prequsite type classes. It's hard but rewarding to get through to get to the other side, which is engineering classes

    Thirdly, mix your interests. If you mix engineering and business you get Industrial engineering. Look it up and other types of engineering and see if this has interest to you. My son did an internship and was on the project management team of a known company and loved it. He and three people on this team were industrial engineers. (he's still a student).

    So usually your first year class's are prequsite like any first year student. You might have some intro engineering type class. Most programs you can change majors till end of sophomore year so you have time (check with your college).

    There so also the possibility you needed sometime off before starting college and why I would implore you to go speak to the counseling /mental health office first. This is one exact reason why they have these offices on campus. You are not alone.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9382 replies502 threads Senior Member
    edited October 15
    So will you get tired of going to your job at a fast food restaurant every day? Will you get tired of looking for a job in retail every day? Will you get tired of looking on Craigslist for a temporary gig? What is a better alternative to eventually getting a degree in a well-paid career at a college that you like, not far from home, where you have friends?

    This time is a blip in your life. You’re growing up and nothing you can do is going to stop that from happening. If you’re sick of homework and quizzes, try spending some time with people who don’t have that option. I can tell you that not many people grow up dreaming of working in a grocery store or McDonalds.

    Read this please: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/2016222-to-those-who-feel-lonely-homesick-friendless-think-they-chose-the-wrong-school-etc-p1.html
    edited October 15
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7614 replies61 threads Senior Member
    You've already gotten great advice but I wanted to re-emphasize continuing to visit your counseling center and giving yourself time. It's only mid October. At most you've only been in school 8 weeks. College is a big adjustment. Keep at it and be patient!
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2342 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited October 15
    I called my dad once and said he deceived me. He told me when I'm an adult, I can go anywhere and do anything I want. He failed to inform me how much it sucks being an adult :)

    College is a hard adjustment. In high school, you were used to being sheltered and close to your family. Now you're "adulting." That's scary, even for experienced grown-ups. The only advice I can give is that you're only going to get "more" grown-up. Just embrace it. The anxiety you're having is completely normal, because there's a lot of unknowns. There's ALWAYS unknowns, and it's OK. No one is an expert grown-up. We all just pay the bills and do the best we can.

    As an adult, you find that there's no pressure to be the best at everything. There's an abundance of jobs if you have the job skills. Just find a practical major you're happy in and get good grades.
    edited October 15
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6842 replies60 threads Senior Member
    You built up to a peak in HS- both socially and academically. You achieved your goals! Which is great, but....then what?

    Now you are in a new place, where you are one of many. Your social base is still just a new little fragile sprout. You don't have a 'big goal' anymore. And you're surprised that you are feeling discombobulated??

    It's a lot. Study groups are a great way to get settled in, b/c you don't have to be 'friends' with any of them. You share a common goal- preparing for a test, for example. If some of them turn out to be people that you enjoy doing other things with, great- but if not, you still got the studying done.

    Find something that you like that is physical- running, ice skating, building sets for the theatre- whatever, just so that it gets your body moving and obliges you to be at the same place at the same time on a regular basis.

    And hang in there. This is genuinely a big adjustment. Be patient with yourself while your self adjusts!
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  • GoatGirl19GoatGirl19 327 replies5 threads Member
    Hi! Fellow girl engineering (grad) student here! I also attended undergrad on a full tuition scholarship, and maybe because of that I noticed one line in your post that stood out to me that others don't seem to be addressing.
    macaroni17 wrote: »
    I’m tired of the weekly quizzes and constant studying plus the pressure to always be the best at everything.

    I'm going to let you in on the biggest secret for overachiever engineer girls on scholarships: you DO NOT have to be the best at everything anymore. (My mom liked to say, "your head won't blow off if you get a B") Study the best you can, be happy when you come out on top, but don't let the pressure to be "the best" keep you from really learning. Engineering forces you to learn things deeply and internalize them, and for a long time you're going to feel like you have no idea what you're doing. But then it will click and you'll never forget those basics. And engineering is by nature collaborative, and later you're often going to be the best in the room at the thing you do, but not what everyone else does. I recently barely scraped a pass in Anatomy but I'm my lab's anatomy expert so I've gone back to study more even though the grade is in the books. So try to let off the gas to "be the best at everything", and instead try to learn to be really really good at what it is you want to do.

    Also, one of the things I have learned to do when I get in the weeds and discouraged, is find a way to think about the future--try to remember why you wanted to do this in the first place... what did you imagine designing or researching that made you want to be an engineer?
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