I'm about to start college and I don't want to go

It’s not that I’m scared or I’m going to miss home or whatever. I honestly just never wanted to go to college in the first place. I didn’t get into too many schools, and I was happy enough with my choice at the time (mostly due to a good experience at their admitted students day), but by now the honeymoon phase has worn off and I’m realizing there’s a lot I don’t like about the place.

I’m supposed to move in on Monday. I haven’t prepared beyond buying a second set of sheets and being given a bag of crap by my family (paper towels, plastic dishes, etc). I don’t want to go, but at this point I don’t know what else to do. My parents have suggested bailing and getting a last-minute deferral, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for various reasons. Technically, it’s not too late but it sure feels like it.

My friends who are going to college and dorming have moved in already, and they’re having a great time apparently. Happy for them, but it’s getting hard to hear about. My calc teacher reached out the other to inform us that we need to sign up for some paid software to do homework, see course materials, or even read the syllabus (which she specifically refused to send me a copy of when I asked) and that kind of felt like the last straw. The whole thing just feels like a waste of my time and money, I’d much rather be back at work and have the energy to do the things I enjoy in the meantime, instead of having to go back to school. (Fundamental issue with my parents’ idea- their version involves me going to college in the end.)

Not sure if I’m really making this post for advice or just to vent or what, but anything’s appreciated. Everything just feels like such a mess right now.

Nothing is forever. Life is about experiences. Go with an open mind.

You’ll make friends, maybe find a boyfriend/girlfriend and have a great time.

If it doesn’t work out (but don’t go in with that mindset), you can do other things in life.

But go in with an open mind. You get to choose what you want to study now!!!

Have fun.


If this is really how you feel, I don’t see the harm in deferring, as your parents suggested. It will buy you more time and space this year to make a decision. Good luck — it is hard (and expensive!) to pursue a long term goal like a college degree when your heart isn’t in it.


You haven’t started. The honeymoon phase begins when you get there and get involved in all the fun stuff they will offer. Reality sets in when you have to get busy with classes and homework.

You can go in with an optimistic attitude or you can talk yourself into having a bad start, which seems to be what’s going on here. Give yourself and the college a chance. Don’t self-sabotage.

Remember why you applied in the first place. Get out and meet people.

Fwiw, there are tons of students who feel as you do. Most students will have a great time at college.

Again, you haven’t started yet. All the stuff about getting a book, etc… is par for the course. No teacher will withhold the syllabus. Ask again.

College is about much more than studying. There are real, tangible benefits to going to college. Get involved. Meet people, get to know professors. Take advantage of the career center and special events. Make it work for you.

Maybe you don’t realize it yet, but I’m betting you are actually worried and don’t know what to expect. Isn’t it worth giving it a shot? If it really doesn’t work out, you can always get a job, but if it does work out, you are going to be in a much better position to launch your future.

Please look at this. Having Trouble Adjusting to College/Making friends? Top 10 things to do (Covid Update, Fall '20)


I also wanted to say that nothing should be a mess right now. You haven’t started yet. There’s no friend drama to deal with, nor a grade issue. You’re in a great place to start college! It’s going to be a chance to meet new people and discover where your interests lie.


You get to choose what you want to study now!!!

Not really. As they explained it at orientation, I get all of 4 electives/gen eds in 4 years. And as I learned looking for one for this semester, there are very few options that seem to be any good.

You mentioned that you would prefer to be “back at work.” Do you have a job you like?

I may differ from others here but I think it is fine to go back to work and do the things you enjoy. Life isn’t a race.

By all means do a deferral if that feels right: it will probably reassure your parents.

But you don’t have to go to college. And in time you may want to, or you may find another path. I know someone who found a niche in piano tuning, another who got certified as a radiology tech at age 30 and another who developed a passion for American Sign Language.

One of my kids likes to work. She just got her BA at age 31 taking one or two classes at a time while working.

You sound burned out. Are you depressed or just sick of school? High school is stressful and you attended during COVID. Maybe the best thing is to do exactly what you want: work and enjoy time off without assignments to do! At least until you have a motivating reason to study.


The problem is, I don’t have any idea what I’d do. The only obvious options are staying at home and doing nothing particularly constructive in the long run, then going to college, or pursuing something that I’d have to commit to (ie not a gap year) like an apprenticeship or the military.

My parents only are interested in a gap year if I do something traditionally gap year-y, like seasonal work or travel. Living at home and working (except short-term, like a month or two) isn’t okay with them.

I wouldn’t say I’m burned out from school, I’ve just never liked it. Unfortunately, I’ve always done really well, and so all my family and teachers and everyone expect me to be into it and want to do more.

Oh, I agree - if school isn’t right it isn’t right - but if OP is paid for and going, best to at least give it a chance. College isn’t high school. I hated HS - but the independence, the running my own show - college was the best four years of my life.

So if you’re going to do it, wanting to or not, give it an open mind.

Gen Eds - there will be way more than four and it’s not like there is one choice in each category - open mind my friend.

But if you want to work, I have no issue with that…

Too many kids are expected to go to school and it’s unfair. But yes, you have to be productive, you have to get on a path to pay bills - and that starts with mindset. Maybe you like cars and want to sell the? Big money at the right brands. Maybe you want to learn retail.

My nephew worked…eventually realized he wanted a degree (that was him, not you). Life is long - find something you love. A kid on my soccer team when he was ten - I just ran into him. After hs, he did a mission, came home and worked at a ski resort and now is working at a local resort…whatever floats your boat - and allows you to be able to pay the bills - is ok.

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I understand being good at school and not liking it. You might like college more, or perhaps after a break you will like college more. But I also feel it is okay for a bright person not to make plans to go. I understand your parents’ concerns though.

Would they support you doing WOOF World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms | WWOOF or NOLS The Leader in Wilderness Education (nols.edu)?

What would you apprentice in? Wooden boats? The WoodenBoat School | Access to Experience The North Bennett Street School has interesting programs, piano tuning, cabinet making etc. North Bennet Street School - A good life, built by hand. (nbss.edu)

I would hate for you to start school without enthusiasm or motivation. It is important also to keep your transcript clean for future studies, if they happen, so if you are not feeling it, maybe it is better to wait.

Then again maybe others are right and this is just the blues before going to college and you will feel more inspired once there. This is the Internet, so it is hard to tell!


To be fair, we have seen a lot of students post here who aren’t motivated or excited to start college. And we have seen a good number of them come back to post updates. See the links in this post:


They told us at orientation we get six gen eds for my major, but two of those credits will be taken up by required classes, so it’s really four. I placed out of the entry-level writing class, so I’m taking a fifth, but that’s not the norm.

the independence, the running my own show - college was the best four years of my life.

Everybody says this, but I feel like I already live with about the amount of independence I’d have in college (probably more, because I go to work), and I’d be even more independent if I didn’t have classes and homework.

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@Lindagaf I think feeling lonely or that you made the wrong choice of school is different from feeling a lack of interest in school in general. It is, as I wrote, hard to tell what is going on from a post on the Internet, but I feel strongly that NOT going needs to be seen as a viable option for more kids- at least for now. More and more families/kids are making that decision given the cost of college. More attention needs to be given to other paths.

This is a bright young person who may find his way over time. I initially had the impression he has a job he likes a lot, but apparently that is not the case. If he does not go to college now, I hope he has other things he might want to do.

Depression is a possibility. OP do you feel you are depresses or just not interested? And do you have a job you like right now?


My dad actually told me about that same farming program. Like I tried to say in another comment but maybe didn’t articulate so well, that kind of thing sounds aimless in my opinion. I don’t want to just take a year to do a handful of random things that are interesting but don’t build to anything in the end.

But they do build to something in the end. Things aren’t as pointless as you seem to feel. I actually think NOLS would be a great idea for you. I know several young people who have done one of their programs and been helped with goals quite a bit.

I would like to ask you honestly if you have any depression going on. I get a kind of flatness from your posts. I may be way off and further discussion of this would have to be private.


I have two jobs. I like one, but it’s a seasonal thing that would be ending in a few weeks anyway. The other is okay- I like my coworkers but the job itself is boring. But I feel much more comfortable when I have a job. I haven’t grown up with money, and any amount of spending stresses me out when I don’t have a source of income. My parents have told me not to work for at least the first semester so I can focus on studying.

Edit- I did auto shop in high school, but I don’t think I want to be a mechanic (I like the work, but the entry costs of tools and the flat-rate pay system are pretty unappealing). If I could simply decide college isn’t happening, I’d either find a union trade to apprentice in (I’ve looked into welding, millwright, a few others) or join the military.


The post mentions much more than just feeling lonely and some of the links in that post are from students who sound a lot like this student.

We of course don’t know if this student is nervous, depressed, apathetic, or anything else. There isn’t a mention of a goal to start some alternative venture, just that college seems to be a waste of time.

I think the student can’t know that without at least trying.

I do find it interesting that the OP doesn’t have a job they love and want to pursue. The responses are all saying the same thing: “I don’t really want to go, but I haven’t got a better plan.” So OP, go with the plan that starts Monday. You can get any other stuff you need for the dorm somewhere near campus.

This seems to indicate that the OP is hoping for some lightbulb moment of an alternate option involving college.

Be brave and go with the plan. The old expression of “What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger” holds true still.


Have you spoken to a military counselor? It can provide great training, disciplined and other qualities - but it does require commitment.

Why not start with being a hero? Our military folks are the best.

If that’s truly an interest for you, go for it!!

But you’re in a funk - that’s not a fun place to be - so snap out of it - take a few days, right down lists of pros and cons for each option - and go from there.

In the end, if not in school, will your parents support you? If not, how will you afford to live? If you can do so, then you can call your own shots!!

You seem a bright young man and I’m sure you’ll find the best path for you.

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There are plenty of trades that would love to have you if that’s the path you choose. And absolutely the military is full of options, especially for an individual that is good in school. If you do go that route make sure your *job" is going to be beneficial after the military and realize that the military is a big commitment itself.

What are you majoring in? Why did you choose that major? What do you really want to do as a career?