I hate my university and major, should I transfer?

Hello everyone, I know you might have heard variations of this story but I want to tell mine I guess. I’m a freshman at UC Davis as a bio major. As a senior in high school I chose this school solely for prestige (I was excited to get in back then) and my major because my parents wanted me to go the pre-med route and I didn’t want to disappoint them. Now, only a few weeks in, I am regretting both choices.

I didn’t think I’d make it into Davis because I’ve only been averagely smart, and I think the only reason I excelled in high school was that I had a lot of time for harder classes, which I usually had only 2 a year. Now in college I’m surrounded by people not only smarter than me, but people more passionate about their futures and more ambitious than me, so I feel super inferior and behind. I also have like 3 hard classes I can barely keep up with and I don’t have the time I had before. The class sizes are way too big and the only classes I like are the smaller ones, which there are only so little of. I have no motivation besides fear because I’m not interested in my classes, and the more I have this existential crisis the more I can’t see myself working in the health field: I’m scared of blood and I don’t really like science. I hate the quarter system and the way some professors make it so that only some students can achieve certain grades, and I feel so alone seeing all these students around me being so passionate, smart, and excited while I feel empty inside.

I know we are in a time of COVID, so I haven’t even really been on campus, but honestly I’m a little glad because of it. I’m scared of moving away from home because I’ve always had trouble making friends and I really want to stay near my loved ones. I feel like maybe I’m not giving Davis a chance because I haven’t been through the entire experience but also I hate it. I don’t feel smart enough for this school and the weeder classes are being very successful at weeding me out.

I want to switch to accounting but my school doesn’t have an accounting major, so I want to transfer to my local state college that has a semester system. It is closer to home, has a semester system, is smaller, and has the major I want.

My parents want me to tough it out for the rest of the year, but I’m afraid of ruining my GPA. I’m suddenly struck that prestige maybe isn’t everything (especially when I feel I’m not smart enough for it) and everyone has their own path, but also I don’t want to be a disappointment to my family.

What should I do? Please help. I’ve been feeling so much anxiety and depression recently like never before and I don’t want to keep suffering this.

Cal states accept Junior level transfers so 60 semester/90 quarter units so if you want to transfer from UCD before you reach the unit minimum, you should consider going to your local community college and then transfer to a Cal State. Due to Covid it is very hard for students to connect with friends and to make new friends so you are not alone. Having family close is an extra benefit along with a good support system.

I would normally recommend you give it a year before transferring but with so many issues involving the pandemic and if you are having difficulty keeping up with your classes., it might be a good idea to check out your local CC and consider attending Spring semester there especially if you want to change majors.

Have a heart to heart talk with your parents. As a parent, I would definitely not to want to my kids to continue at a school which is not a good academic fit and especially if the school does not offer the major courses you want to pursue.

Best of luck. :smile:

Thank you so much for this, honestly. Hearing this from the perspective of a parent is really encouraging. I am thinking of going to my local CC after this quarter and talking to my family during winter break so they know where I am at, but I can’t help but feel anxious. They have these really high expectations for me, but I also know they want me to be happy.

I’ve sent you a PM. It’s a little long, but I hope it helps.

I would like to add that my older son attended UCD and had a difficult Freshman year. He was used to being a Big Fish in a small pond back in HS so it was a shock to find that this was no longer true. He gave it his best to make it work during Freshman year and eventually came to love his time at UCD. Do what is best for you.

IMHO virtually all freshmen at large, selective schools ought to get a medal for what they are going through. It is a virtually impossible situation to navigate socially and you need to perform academically under difficult learning conditions. I don’t think anyone who understands what its like would look down on you for coming home attending a CC for a couple of years, then moving on.

That said, are just a few weeks into school and you knew going in this was going to be a weird experience. (unless you parents bribed someone) You did earn your seat there - those around you are no smarter than you. How you are feeling is normal, even in non-covid times. I f you were my kid, i’d counsel you to stick it out for this school year. You are going have to work harder than usual to make friend. Join clubs, Frats. and other activities do as much as you can on and near campus. Things will probably work out - if they don’t you did your part and you (and everyone else) will get a Covid bye…

Good luck.

Some of what you are concerned about seems “normal” to me in terms of college adjustments. I went from straight A’s in HS to a 14 (out of 100) on my first engineering exam at Brown. But things worked out from there – just needed to figure out how to stay up with the work [edit: and not concern myself with how easy or hard things seemed to be for other students]. OTOH I really liked what I was doing. If you are miserable with your courses, then it’s going to be much harder to motivate yourself as needed. On the other other hand, for majors with a lot of sequential courses like pre-med, once you’re out it’s hard to get back into the flow. So if you do move over to accounting (a perfectly good major), figure there’s probably no turning back to pre-med later on.

It sounds like you are facing perhaps your first truly adult decision. Those are characterized by major and possibly life-long consequences, often with no clear “right answer”. But that’s how adult lives are lived, and hopefully your parents will respect (eventually, at least) whatever decision you make.

Community college! Go explore by taking gen ed classes and other classes that interest you. There’s no race to finish college. Find out what you really want to do. The class sizes are way better at CC. Both of my boys have gone there and it has been great for both of them. (One is now at Berkeley, one still there.) They have had great professors, plenty of whom have taught at Universities, but are choosing CC. They get lots of attention from their professors and advisors, which have opened up many opportunities, and my son at Cal even earned merit scholarships to take with him. If you go to CC and find what you’re interested in you can later transfer back to a UC or elsewhere. In fact, the admission rates are even more favorable for transfers than for freshman. When you choose where to go from CC you can select a program that will be good for your major.

Best of luck to you.