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    [I know this post is probably more suited to the university boards, but given I'd like to post this anonymously as I know people on here, this is probably the best place to go]

    My second year of university starts in a couple of weeks and I'm utterly dreading the thought of going back. I contemplated dropping out frequently throughout first year, decided to stick it out and see what happens each time, and was hoping that things would start to look up for second year.

    My first year began with me hoping I'd be able to make a fresh start; my group of friends at home are very close, but also very old (many of us having known each other since we were five), and I was hoping that I'd be able to find new people to be friends with also. However, I've completely failed at making that connection with pretty much anyone within the university. I have perhaps one friend on my course, and another who I had planned to live with this year (alongside another girl I've known since before university), however she's been diagnosed with a very serious illness and now won't be there for at least a term, if not longer. I'm now left even more lonely, and may well have even more financial difficulties if she's unable to cover her rent, though we don't know this yet.

    (Also, it's not as if I haven't made the effort to make friends - I'm in a whole host of societies and have invited people out for coffee/round to watch something and the like, but I guess there must be something about me that puts them off)

    At home I have my family, a boyfriend, a stable job (if not particularly well-paid) during the holidays which I could continue and friends who are significantly closer to me than they are when I'm at university. However, if I were to drop out, I would be in serious financial difficulties still, leave my remaining housemate alone and not be able to get a fully-funded degree in the future, let alone the serious disappointment I would be left with.

    I know I'm meant to be there for a degree first and foremost, but when these thoughts are getting in the way of my studying, I'm not sure whether staying there is necessarily the best thing for me right now. I just feel like I'm completely lost and can't decide what would be the best choice. In an ideal situation, my flatmate would recover soon, be able to come back, and I'd manage to somehow make some other friends, though I'm not sure what else I can do that I'm not doing already. Sadly, very little of this is likely to happen, so I'm just feeling stuck.

    I myself struggle at University and decided to drop out and there really is no shame in it, but you must have some sort of plan before you do. Think very carefully could you cope with a job in your hometown for the rest of your life? or is there something you can do without a degree? Why are you wanting to drop out, is it the course you don't like or do you just not like being away from home without friends or family? If it is just your friends and family that your missing i recommend sticking around at university and just have them visit you when they can afford to. They sound like good lifelong friends who will still be there when you finish the degree and as for being friendless at university, think to yourself are you that bothered, are you the sort of person to go out drinking frequently or could you just hang out with your friends at home over skype?

    If it's the course you hate then speak to a tutor and explain, if you don't see yourself having a career in it then it probably best to get out now rather than be stuck in a dead end job in ten years but if its something that can be dealt with such a tutor you don't like or the way they teach then changes can be made.

    If your worried about leaving your ill flatmate alone, you can always stay and help her interview new potential flatmates?

    As for financial difficulties i can tell you it's not that bad. Personally yes i'm in debt but they only demand back to maintenance loan for the term you didn't stay, in your case the first term of the second year and they let you pay in tiny affordable installments, maybe like £20 a month. And as for if you want to return they still give you student loans for 4 years, you've used one and a tiny bit so your good for another two years of funding and they may allow you to claim another to term on top of that because you didn't stay your second year.

    I hope this helped you a little bit. I know exactly how you feel, and i recommend talking it though a lot with your parents. Good luck and i hope your flatmate gets well soon.
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