Stick It Out or Opt Out: What to Do If You Hate College

A female college student sitting on the stairs with her notebooks, looking sad.

People always rave about college life.

“It’s the best time of your life.”

“It will help you discover who you are.”

“You’ll meet your forever friends.” 

But what about the students who have a tougher time adjusting? Contrary to how college is depicted on TV and in the media, many students hate it. And if you’re one of them, this is the article for you. 

First and foremost, it’s crucial to know that it’s okay to hate college. It’s true when they say that college is not for everyone. But it’s equally important to realize that change is a part of life. Opinions and experiences change over time, no matter what. 

So, you may think you should drop out, but before you do, let’s go over some reasons why people hate college and how to address them. 

Most Common College Problems and What You Can Do About Them

Below are a few of the most frequently experienced challenges of college students and some helpful advice.

You’re homesick. 

Missing friends and family is a given when stepping into college life. Some adjust more than others, but it doesn’t make you weak or unfit for college if you’re particularly affected. Here are some ways to cope. 

Wait a little bit. 

With time, things will get better. We know this is easier said than done, but it’s true. 

Make time to talk with friends and family face to face online.

A female college student in a video call with friends from home in her laptop, sitting on the bed in her college dorm room.

Scheduling FaceTime visits or Zoom calls with your bestie is better than saying you’ll get around to it. This is especially helpful for those with loved ones in different time zones. 

Plus, it helps as you wait until you can see them in person. You can get creative by planning virtual book clubs or game nights. 

You’re having trouble making friends.

If you’re a shy introvert who takes years to develop friendships, a college social life might be harder to adjust to. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help you meet more people who feel the same way. 

Join a student organization. 

This is really a no-brainer. Find something you’re passionate about and see if your university has a student group for it. Something like a walking club is a fantastic option for students to socialize. 

Attend your dorm hall meetings and other campus socials.

Many dorm room residence assistance (RAs) will hold weekly or monthly meetings for hallmates. These can be pretty fun as many incorporate games and other ice breakers. Student housing also will have a social committee that plans events for people just like you. 

Explore your new town or city.

Making friends on campus is one thing, but you just moved to a brand-new place. It’s time to get out and explore. One idea is to find the best coffee shop for studying and become a regular. See if there are clubs to join at local community centers or online on Meetup.

Two college freshmen having a casual conversation while walking outside a student building.

You’re second-guessing your major.

Or you just straight up hate your general education requirements. It’s normal to get bored in school, even in college. Here is what you should try: 

Consider that it might not be you but your professor. 

A dull professor will make even the most exciting subjects put you to sleep. The best way to avoid a boring instructor is to talk to people. Ask friends. Ask hallmates. Heck, even ask people walking out of the prospective teacher’s class. 

Alternatively, you can browse Rate My Professors for reviews. Keep in mind, however, that the information isn’t too accurate

Take some risks.

General education requirements are often viewed as courses you just need to get over with. If you’re finding them too boring, take some risks with what you choose. Why not astronomy for your science requirement? Or what about German for your language choice? 

You may be surprised at how much you like it more than any subject you took in high school. 

Find a study buddy.

If you really can’t escape those classes that make an hour seem like a whole day, find a buddy in class to study with. Making a friend will allow you to have at least one thing to look forward to so you can get through the lecture. And honestly, nothing beats some friendly gossip about your boring professor. 

You’re facing burnout or something deeper.

A male college student sitting in a messy dorm room with his hands on his face, looking exhausted in front of his laptop.

Change is hard for college kids. You think you’re getting into the next best four years of your life, but it’s not always what you expect. Many are plain burned out because they take on too many credits or have trouble focusing in a one-hundred-person classroom. 

Others face deeper mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Here are ideas that are good places to start tackling these issues.

Take fewer credits (if possible).

See if lightening your course workload will help you relax.

Switch up your schedule. 

We all woke up at the crack of dawn for high school, but you don’t always need to in college. Perhaps waking up for those 8:00 AMs is not conducive to your new sleep schedule. 

Look into school resources.

If you’re dealing with mental health issues, your school will have services that help. There may be meditation classes for students struggling to focus. A counselor can talk through anxiety or depression or refer you to a medical psychiatrist. Licensed providers specialize in what you may be going through. 

Remember that you’re not alone, and for immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255. 

Here Is the Case for Dropping Out

A college guy sitting on the grass looking sad with his friends chatting in the background.

If you genuinely think you’ve tried everything, you may want to drop out. It’s okay to call it quits in college. Now, you have another opportunity to see what your future holds. Here is the case for dropping out of college. 

There are plenty of other paths you can take.

Vocational education can lead to high-paying and secure jobs for women and men. Other specialized curriculums may be better suited for you, such as art or culinary school. Just because you drop out of college doesn’t mean you completely forget about education. 

Sometimes the cost isn’t worth it.

Let’s face it. Student debt could ruin your financial future. If college isn’t right for you, quit to save money and invest it into something you’re passionate about. 

You can still go back later.

Consider city college or transferring to another school later in life. You may change your mind about higher education in a few years after trying something different. 

Final Thoughts

A female college student sitting in the library holding a pen to her mouth, looking pensive.

Many people thrive with structure, but not everyone. Before calling it quits, be sure to attempt everything you can to make it work. A lot of people, time, and energy are invested in your education, so it makes sense to try. 

Sometimes, though, the best path to self-discovery is by dropping out and doing something new. It’s your life, and it’s in your own hands.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

A female college graduate checking her college email on her laptop at a coffee shop.

Do College Emails Expire: Can You Take Them With You After Graduation?

A female graduate with her parents dressed in proper college graduation attire.

What Do Parents Wear to College Graduation? (Ultimate Guide for Parents)