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How to adjust to a university life as a postgrad student? Watch

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    Quick rundown:

    - Aged 26
    - Just started a full-time post-grad degree
    - Feeling as if university isn't worthwhile
    - Considering staying for a term and then leaving
    - Advice welcomed

    So, essentially I've just started a post-grad degree but fear I'm too detached from student/university life to enjoy it. I admit that I was perhaps a touch naive in assuming/forgetting what a typical university lifestyle means for most people but I'm finding it a bit tough to relate to others and feel it's going to impact my studies when I realise how **** my social life is.

    I've been working for a few years in various roles and find that I much prefer interacting with people who aren't anxious and unsure of themselves, as students understandably are. I've been to a few society meet-ups over the past few weeks but have found conversation difficult because nobody discusses topics outside of their studies, as well as the fact everybody is already involved in a 'friendship group' and not interested in getting to know others on a personal level.

    I'm sure the people are lovely but it's proving grueling to get to know them. Unlike at work, I'm finding students to be much more cliquey and that means I'm having to do literally all the work in talking to them with zero results. Nobody seems to do pleasant stuff like going for coffee when they can sit at home, chill and watch netflix with their housemates.

    I've started working at a bar part-time and it's obvious how much more social/friendly they are than the students I've met. Added to the dilemma is that 99% of my course are Chinese students - a notoriously difficult bunch to get to know by anybody's standards - so I'm not convinced I'll get to know many people on my course either (literally dreading group work).

    As it stands, I'm considering sticking the course out for one term but I feel it might not be for me. I moved to the university from another city so I guess I'll have to stay here but the whole student lifestyle seems insular and bubbleish in a way i haven't encountered for half-a-decade.

    Any advice, possibly from older TSR members who may have been through something similar, would be nice
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    (Original post by DuckDodgers)
    Quick rundown:

    - Aged 26
    - Just started a full-time post-grad degree
    - Feeling as if university isn't worthwhile
    - Considering staying for a term and then leaving
    - Advice welcomed

    So, essentially I've just started a post-grad degree but fear I'm too detached from student/university life to enjoy it. I admit that I was perhaps a touch naive in assuming/forgetting what a typical university lifestyle means for most people but I'm finding it a bit tough to relate to others and feel it's going to impact my studies when I realise how **** my social life is.

    I've been working for a few years in various roles and find that I much prefer interacting with people who aren't anxious and unsure of themselves, as students understandably are. I've been to a few society meet-ups over the past few weeks but have found conversation difficult because nobody discusses topics outside of their studies, as well as the fact everybody is already involved in a 'friendship group' and not interested in getting to know others on a personal level.

    I'm sure the people are lovely but it's proving grueling to get to know them. Unlike at work, I'm finding students to be much more cliquey and that means I'm having to do literally all the work in talking to them with zero results. Nobody seems to do pleasant stuff like going for coffee when they can sit at home, chill and watch netflix with their housemates.

    I've started working at a bar part-time and it's obvious how much more social/friendly they are than the students I've met. Added to the dilemma is that 99% of my course are Chinese students - a notoriously difficult bunch to get to know by anybody's standards - so I'm not convinced I'll get to know many people on my course either (literally dreading group work).

    As it stands, I'm considering sticking the course out for one term but I feel it might not be for me. I moved to the university from another city so I guess I'll have to stay here but the whole student lifestyle seems insular and bubbleish in a way i haven't encountered for half-a-decade.

    Any advice, possibly from older TSR members who may have been through something similar, would be nice
    Isnt the whole point you are there for your studies? Its not going to last that long?

    Have you joined societies etc and sought to make friends that way?

    If they are all Chinese then i can see they might clique off especially if its only postgrads.
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    Isnt the whole point you are there for your studies? Its not going to last that long?

    Have you joined societies etc and sought to make friends that way?

    If they are all Chinese then i can see they might clique off especially if its only postgrads.
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I am there to study and it's obviously the most important thing but I was hoping for a bit of a fresh start after living at my dad's for the past 9 months with not much of a social life (was working freelance at the time). I also split up with my girlfriend during that period.

    I've joined a few societies and been to a lot of taster sessions. I'm hoping friendships develop later down the line but, again, it seems people have friends/housemates to fall back on so I'm not convinced we're in the same boat. Hopefully I'm wrong about that.

    Unfortunately some of the ones I was most interested in don't seem to prioritise the social side of things. The film society is currently everybody turning up to watch a film and then all going home. It's a bit weird.

    At the moment it's not all bad but I'm a bit of a worrier. I had a bad time in my final year of undergrad where I grew distant from my friends at the time so I'm always worried about the pitfalls of being lonely and having it impact my studies.
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    (Original post by DuckDodgers)
    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I am there to study and it's obviously the most important thing but I was hoping for a bit of a fresh start after living at my dad's for the past 9 months with not much of a social life (was working freelance at the time). I also split up with my girlfriend during that period.

    I've joined a few societies and been to a lot of taster sessions. I'm hoping friendships develop later down the line but, again, it seems people have friends/housemates to fall back on so I'm not convinced we're in the same boat. Hopefully I'm wrong about that.

    Unfortunately some of the ones I was most interested in don't seem to prioritise the social side of things. The film society is currently everybody turning up to watch a film and then all going home. It's a bit weird.

    At the moment it's not all bad but I'm a bit of a worrier. I had a bad time in my final year of undergrad where I grew distant from my friends at the time so I'm always worried about the pitfalls of being lonely and having it impact my studies.
    They take time and maybe ten weeks before yous ee whose still going. You need to be pro active and find other people in the same boat. You are 26 less time to be bashful. Just ask if theres anyone interested in going out or just getting to meet new people. What about the mature students society?

    Maybe have a word with the officers and ask for anything more social? Fresh start so fresh effort. A lot of it will be not caring what others think.
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    Have you been going to your uni's postgrad society meetups? They might be a bit more suitable to your situation.

    The difficulty of socialising with Chinese students is overstated. Show any real interest in them, e.g. start learning Chinese, and you can create very meaningful friendships.
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    (Original post by Helloworld_95)
    Have you been going to your uni's postgrad society meetups? They might be a bit more suitable to your situation.

    The difficulty of socialising with Chinese students is overstated. Show any real interest in them, e.g. start learning Chinese, and you can create very meaningful friendships.
    As far as I'm aware, the university doesn't have a postgrad society. It has a 'mature students society' but it appears to be fairly older people (30s/40s). Conversation topics dominating the facebook page are about commuting and managing studies with their families etc. That's no good for me either as I'd prefer to meet people around my age in a similar circumstance as myself.

    On the subject of Chinese students, I'm definitely not going to learn Mandarin just so I can talk to people because that's mental. If i was going to expend energy learning another language it'd be something like German. Plus, I'm not the only person experiencing this issue either. My sister and her boyfriend are at on a course same university and they say 99% of their course is Chinese too. She was quite annoyed when they referred to her in class as 'English girl' in rather blunt terms. I also sat in on a lecture for another course on Monday and spoke to the only English person there who outlined similar concerns.

    This is beyond the topic of discussion but for me there comes a point where you have to question the university's ethics for allowing the class to be dominated by international students as they stifle seminar participation quite a lot. Very little discussion takes place in class beyond me talking to the tutors, who proceed to outline everything in a way that feels 2/3x times slower than I'd expect if the class were comprised of people confident in their English speaking/listening abilities (including European students).
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    (Original post by 999tigger)
    They take time and maybe ten weeks before yous ee whose still going. You need to be pro active and find other people in the same boat. You are 26 less time to be bashful. Just ask if theres anyone interested in going out or just getting to meet new people. What about the mature students society?

    Maybe have a word with the officers and ask for anything more social? Fresh start so fresh effort. A lot of it will be not caring what others think.
    I agree and it's why I'll give it some time. Age is definitely an issue though. I feel I'd understand if any of my mates/former work colleagues said the same thing to me. It's naturally easier to bond with people in a similar age range. I wouldn't class myself as bashful either but I'll make sure I don't end up that way.

    Thanks for the reply
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    (Original post by DuckDodgers)
    As far as I'm aware, the university doesn't have a postgrad society. It has a 'mature students society' but it appears to be fairly older people (30s/40s). Conversation topics dominating the facebook page are about commuting and managing studies with their families etc. That's no good for me either as I'd prefer to meet people around my age in a similar circumstance as myself.

    On the subject of Chinese students, I'm definitely not going to learn Mandarin just so I can talk to people because that's mental. If i was going to expend energy learning another language it'd be something like German. Plus, I'm not the only person experiencing this issue either. My sister and her boyfriend are at on a course same university and they say 99% of their course is Chinese too. She was quite annoyed when they referred to her in class as 'English girl' in rather blunt terms. I also sat in on a lecture for another course on Monday and spoke to the only English person there who outlined similar concerns.

    This is beyond the topic of discussion but for me there comes a point where you have to question the university's ethics for allowing the class to be dominated by international students as they stifle seminar participation quite a lot. Very little discussion takes place in class beyond me talking to the tutors, who proceed to outline everything in a way that feels 2/3x times slower than I'd expect if the class were comprised of people confident in their English speaking/listening abilities (including European students).
    I didn't mean learn it to the point of proficiency, a few words and some level of interest is enough. Go for hot pot or dim sum or to some other random chinese restaurant with them. The fact is that you are the minority and so you have to adapt if you want to survive. Although from what you've said you've ended up in a bit of a racist hole and so don't want to.

    From the sounds of it you're on a course which has little domestic appeal and acts as a solid cash cow for the university, this is pretty common for master's courses due to a number of reasons. If that's not for you then either look into other universities and other courses or get your head down and focus on the work. Save discussion for office hours if you think their explanations in seminars are being slowed down for the benefit of others.
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    (Original post by Helloworld_95)
    I didn't mean learn it to the point of proficiency, a few words and some level of interest is enough. Go for hot pot or dim sum or to some other random chinese restaurant with them. The fact is that you are the minority and so you have to adapt if you want to survive. Although from what you've said you've ended up in a bit of a racist hole and so don't want to.

    From the sounds of it you're on a course which has little domestic appeal and acts as a solid cash cow for the university, this is pretty common for master's courses due to a number of reasons. If that's not for you then either look into other universities and other courses or get your head down and focus on the work. Save discussion for office hours if you think their explanations in seminars are being slowed down for the benefit of others.
    Oh, I didn't mean to imply I had a problem with any individuals in particular. It's more the situation and the feeling that I've been lumped into it.

    At an individual level, the few people I've spoken to are nice. We've had brief conversations but it seems quite obvious how different our cultures are. If I'm being totally honest, the girls aren't social whatsoever and shy to a point of insanity considering that they're 21 or over. The guys are much more friendly by comparison but there's only one or two who will ever speak to the rest of the class. Cultural differences I suppose.

    I'm more annoyed because classes typically follows the line of:

    - Lecturer asks a question
    - I answer
    - If I don't answer
    - Class is silent for 20 seconds before somebody else answers

    It's clearly slowing things down as well as putting more pressure on me. Perhaps that sounds selfish.
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    Personally I think that you are maybe overthinking the social side. While at undergraduate level and particularly first year, the social side of uni is more important, I think as a postgrad there is far less expectation or requirement to socialise exclusively with other students.A fair proportion of postgrads have probably coupled off and live with other halfs etc.
    You sound like you have more 'life experience' than many students. If many of your fellow postgrads are 21/22 and fresh out of undergrad studies, this is perhaps understandable.

    If you really wanted to throw yourself into the 'student lifestyle' again I would consider private halls - maybe you could get placed with third years (or even Freshers) - although I sense maybe thats not what you want. There's got to be some students with your life experience you can find and relate to - some will know of life out of the 'bubble.'
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    (Original post by DuckDodgers)
    I'm more annoyed because classes typically follows the line of:

    - Lecturer asks a question
    - I answer
    - If I don't answer
    - Class is silent for 20 seconds before somebody else answers

    It's clearly slowing things down as well as putting more pressure on me. Perhaps that sounds selfish.
    This happens in my classes (CompSci & Maths) where most students are white males with a small number of Africans and Asians (no Chinese at all).

    You're not required to answer every time the lecturer asks a question, so how is this 'putting pressure on you' ? I can't see how this is the fault of the Chinese students.

    Your attitude seems racist to me.
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    What uni you at?
 
 
 
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