Words by Chelsea Forsyth

Starting uni is a huge buzz. But what happens if, after the initial excitement of Fresher’s Week passes, you’re just not feeling life as a student?

A lot of things can crop up after the first few weeks – maybe your course isn’t what you expected, you’re having trouble making friends or you’re struggling to deal with such a big change in your life. Dropping out might seem the only option.

Sound like you? Remember: there is support wherever you need it. We teamed up with experts from UEA, Student Minds and the National Apprenticeship Service to tackle the TSR community’s big questions about dropping out.

<h2>“I don’t like where I’m living”</h2>

“I hate living on campus as it’s in the middle of nowhere. I really want to transfer but my problem is that I'm not doing bad in my course and my uni is higher in the rankings than the uni I’m thinking of transferring to. How can I decide what to do?” – Danimakii
<img width="20%" align="right" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/w/images/9/9d/Sign_post.png" alt="The Student Room I don't like where I'm living" style="margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">

Patience is key. You’re new at uni and you need time to adjust and form proper bonds with new friends to help you feel more at home. Mental health charity Student Minds encourages students to join societies and sports clubs, as these can help to introduce a new group of people who live nearby. It also recommends staying at your university if you like it, but perhaps moving closer to a city where there is more happening. If you're dead-set on transferring, they suggest going to visit other universities to understand what it would be like to be a student there, rather than making a quick decision or waiting for open days.

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<h2>“I’m not enjoying my course”</h2>

“I’ve just started a degree in media and communications and while I don't hate it, I keep thinking that I should have applied to do business instead. I did better at it in A-level and now I'm no longer doing it I really miss it, so keep thinking I should be doing that instead.” – aabbbbyyxx
<img width="30%" align="left" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/w/images/b/b1/Exam.png" alt="The Student Room I don't like my course" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 0px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">

“I study first year TV and radio, and so far in my two months at uni I have gone from excitement to full-on depression. The advertisement of my course was misleading, there are no work placement opportunities and now I lack motivation to show up. I feel like calling it quits and moving back to my home town.” – xavierbcampbell
Once again, it’s important to give yourself time. Get stuck in to some projects and look ahead at upcoming modules to get more engaged with your course. The representative for the University of East Anglia explains that the first term at university often features introductory classes to get everyone to the same stage, so the modules you’re really interested in might be just over the horizon. They recommend speaking to your academic advisor or advice team at your SU, as it’s worth seeing if their suggestions can offer any insight.

If you’ve given it your best shot and still aren’t enjoying it, ask yourself why. Is it the subject area in general? Do you wish you were doing something more practical/academic/interesting? Is it just your university that’s the problem? It’s worth talking out your main concerns with a friend or family member so you can work out the problem.

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<h2>“My mental health is stopping me settling into university life”</h2>

“My anxiety is worse than ever now I'm at uni. I'm lonely and miserable and seriously considering dropping out. I don't think I have the confidence required for something like uni.” – Pallettmatt13
<img width="30%" align="right" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/w/images/a/ac/Head_in_hands2.png" alt="Mental health anxiety" style="margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">

When going through tough times, giving up can feel like the only option. Remember: there’s plenty of help on hand to assist you through these times. Student Minds has plenty of experience in this field, and it recommends consulting with your university. Their advisers can put you in touch with a counsellor to speak with confidentially, if you wish. They will also be able to give you more information about how anxiety may be affecting your studies, and can put support in place for things like deadlines and exams – particularly with busy exam halls, if that's a reason for anxiety.

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<h2>“I just don’t think it’s for me!”</h2>

“I got much better A-levels than I needed but now I only turn up to roughly one lecture a week. I'm recovering from a lot of mental health issues, but making so many friends in the past two months of uni has helped so much! I love where I live now and all the people I've met, but I just want to go out all the time and not have to attend uni.” – Rafadoodlies
<img width="35%" align="left" src="https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/w/images/7/75/Shurg.gif" alt="Joey Friends shrug" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 0px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;">

“I'm in my first year and I've made some good mates but I don't know if uni or academia is for me anymore?” – ttg4l
Ultimately, if you’re paying fees for three years, you want to come out of it with a degree. If you’re enjoying the partying and social side of uni, but not attending lectures or really enjoying the course, it’s better deal with this sooner rather than later.

UEA explains how the first year of university can cover key fundamentals and topics that you build on as you go forward, so it’s important to keep up with everything if you do want to stick it out. While they emphasise how important it is to enjoy the uni experience in general, it’s crucial to attend your lectures and seminars, as the more you attend, the more you'll really enjoy the subject and get into it.

If you’re falling out of love with academia, take the time to explore your options. Before you drop out, speak to a careers advisor at your university to see if they have any other suggestions.

University isn’t for everyone, but whatever situation you find yourself in don’t forget there is support available for you. Talk to people you trust before making any key decisions, so you can make the call for yourself with all the information you need.

Is uni not what you expected? Are you thinking of dropping out, or have you already? Let us know in the comments below.

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