So throughout high school I always dreamed of getting into a good college. I had good grades and a ton of activities and a solid group of friends. My parents wanted me to go to a small school but I was obsessed with this big city school idea. As college decisions rolled around, the only one my parents could afford was the state school about thirty minutes from my house. While it was a bit of a disappointment it was still a decent city school so I was fine with it. Well, I started here and I hate it. My roommates and I click but they’re closer with each other. The school is so big I feel like I can’t get to know anyone and feel lost and overwhelmed. Every class I have is a 200 person lecture where I’m just confused on the work and feel like I’m going to do terrible I’m the class. I’m at a point right now where I need to figure out my options and only have a weekend to decide. I guess my options are stick it out for a semester, if I still don’t like it, transfer to a smaller school in the spring. I could also do community college for a semester and transfer next fall. However, I just don’t know if I can bear the school for another semester. I just know I made the wrong college choice. It feels like i never see the same people and I want a school where I can know my professors and people in my classes. At this point, it’s not too late to enroll in late term community college classes and my parents would still be able to get their tuition back. I just don’t know how well I’m going to do in this school when I just feel so anxious that I’m physically sick. I just don’t know what to do.
Deep breath! It’s a big adjustment going to college and it’s going to take some time.
See about joining a club, go to office hours to meet your profs, join a study group, etc…
Here’s an old post to read too. You aren’t alone!
@momofboiler1 is right. Additionally you wrote this. Life is about trade offs. This is one.
Many/most aren’t besties with their roomies. And later years will have smaller classes. Get in a study circle. Go to office hours.
Transferring often brings higher costs…ie less aid.
Two weeks isn’t fair. Most kids need til Thanksgiving to adjust.
Your family worked hard to get you there. Take advantage.
Can you tell us what university you are at?
Going to university is a big change in life. It is very normal for students to feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable in their first week or their first month of university.
Classes with 200 students are relatively common in universities. I went to a university that had slightly over 4,000 undergraduate students, or a bit more than 1,000 per class year. This was a relatively small university (or at least a small undergraduate class). I still had a freshman class with about 500 students in it. The good news is that these large classes often at least in my experience have professors who are very good and who do a good job of getting ideas across to a large class. In some cases there are also smaller sessions (sometimes led by graduate students) where you get to interact in a smaller group and it is easier to ask questions. Professors also frequently have office hours where you can go and talk about whatever you are having trouble with, or whatever is interesting to you. You should also check what tutorial services are available to you.
A large university will have a lot of students who are “like you”. They might not look like you, or have the same background. However, as you get to know people you will discover that some are like you in ways that might surprise you, and be a pleasant surprise. It might however take some effort to meet people. You might want to get involved in clubs and get to meet people. If you do not like the first club that you join, then try a different club. One advantage of a larger university is that there will be a lot of clubs and activities to participate in.
You can do this. You need to take it one day at a time.
I went to a school with over 48,000 students. My very favorite class had over 300 students. The professor was outstanding. I went to office hours frequently and got to know him. He tried to convince me to switch majors from engineering to history! If I had avoided the class based on size, I would have missed out on an amazing experience.
A big school is like a city with lots of neighborhoods. You have to find your spot and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities.
I cried a good bit my first few weeks at college. I’m glad I stuck it out. Hang in there!
Stay for now. Sit in front row every class, where prof can see you. Go to every office hour. Join a club, maybe your religious or ethnic group, maybe a sport for fun. You will quickly make friends this way. Do your very best in school, and then if you get high grades you will have transfer options if you still want them, for next fall.
Go to instagram and watch a bunch of Harlan Cohen’s videos about starting your first year. What you are feeling is not uncommon.
It may take half a year to adjust and then you won’t be able to wait to start your second year because you love it so much. That’s what happened with our kids.
Big schools shrink over time, one of my kids originally didn’t want a large school, but by the time she even visited where she ended up, it had shrunk, and freshman year she realized that anything smaller would’ve felt too small to her. I have a niece and nephew who are freshmen this year (Perdue and Pitt), both are experiencing similar feelings, and they feel like all of the other freshmen are fine. No, most are not, this is a BIG change. I agree with the advice of going to office hours, I’d advise students who aren’t struggling to go to office hours. Go to the tutoring center. Join clubs, keep your door open. I have several kids (sophomore, junior, grad student, plus two college graduates), I’m seeing a ton of posts on Facebook parent pages who’s kids are miserable, lonely, doubtful, homesick, confused. It’s really normal and most of the time temporary.
First: this is normal. Take a big breath. Treat yourself to a favorite dessert or go for a run or whatever can help .
If you think you’re not understanding, write down your questions. Then go to office hours with these questions. Ask the professor or the TA during these office hours (written 1st page of your syllabus) and they will be THRILLED to see a responsible freshman who doesn’t wait till they have an exam, and who comes prepared with questions to boot. And you’ll leave with (hopefully) a better understanding of the topic which in turn will make the lecture easier to follow (but still write down your questions then go to office hours-make it a habit).
There may be an activity fair: go there and take flyers from all clubs that sound intriguing, especially if the club does things.
Join the club devoted to your faith and/or cultural group.
Does your dorm have an intramural team thzt you could join? (Nothing like the thought of beating another dorm at pickleball or broomball to create instant camaraderie).
What classes are you taking? What major are you thinking of?
Would you qualify for an honors class? These tend to be smaller in size.
What about switching one of your classes with a foreign language? These meet several times a week+involve group work (so you get to know other students) and are often capped at 24 students.
My son went to a school with like 50,000 and my daughter with around 1500. They both knew their professors and went out for coffee. They both joined groups with 10-30 people. They both got help with homework etc professor hours.
You can easily make a large school feel small. No matter where you go your roommate might not be your close friend. You might barely talk. Just be nice to each other.
Go to peer to peer help. Math /science lab help. Writing lab help. Professor hours or TA /hours in your break down group. No excuse not getting help and doing well. You have to go after the help it won’t come to you no matter what size school you go to.
Join groups /activities of interests. This will make the school feel small
Many, many students feel the same way you do. Say hi to everyone and whenever you go to eat. Introduce yourself.
Yep, it’s all normal. You will be fine.
Welcome to college.
Yes, exactly. Also, do this early. The sooner the better. If you keep ahead now, this will help you to pick up more from the next lecture, and the lecture after that, and so on.
Similarly starting your homework early will help at least three ways. One is that you will quickly find out what you do not know, and will have time to get help. By starting your homework early, you will learn a little bit from trying to do it. Even if the only thing that you learn is “I do not really understand this concept”, this will still help you to pay closer attention the next time that concept is discussed. Finally, by starting homework early, in those cases where it turns out to take longer than you expected, you will still have time to get it done.