So, you’ve made it – you got accepted to university. All those long hours of studying and having exams have paid off, and now you get to study what you really like.
But time passes and something changes.
You’re having second thoughts.
You know you should be happy, but you feel like there’s something wrong. Until one day, you catch yourself considering if you should switch your graduation course.
If that’s your story, know that you’re not alone; many people (myself included) have been there too. If you don’t know anyone who’s interrupted college – whether it was to think, to catch on their mental or physical health or even to start over –, it is just a matter of time until you do. Unlike our parents’ generation, nowadays it is much more common to recalculate your route.
BEFORE WE START…
When it comes to college experience, truth must be told: more often than not, it is not the fairytale you might have imagined. College is not all about parties and friends and studying at instagramable cafes with cute stationary. It is more about learning how to manage your time and dealing with stress and frustration. Of course, there will be lots of special moments you will treasure for life – but they might come with hard work, assignments, tests and pressure.
I’m not saying that to scare anyone, but it is important to realize that university is a complex experience – that’s why it is called “university”. You’ have literally a whole new universe in front of you to explore and help you grow, and as much as you should enjoy it, you should also know that not every day will be delightful.
That being said, if you’re having doubts about insisting on your graduation course – whether you’re at your first or your senior year –, check out the red flags below to know if it is time for a change.
YOU FEEL DRAINED
Every morning, when you wake up, you feel exhausted, even after the best night of sleep ever. It feels awful to spend time watching classes or doing assignments. You count the hours until the day is over, but you don’t seem to have the energy even for the things that should lift you up, whether it is reading a book, binge-watching your favorite series or going out with your friends. It feels like you’re constantly carrying a burden, and a voice in your head keeps telling you something is not right.
YOU HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE ASK YOU WHAT YOU DO
Usually, people like talking about themselves. Even if you are an introvert, you should feel comfortable telling close people what you do. But, oddly, that doesn’t happen. When someone asks you about your academic life, you feel something in your stomach, and it requires a great effort to tell what you study. Then they ask you if you like it, and you don’t want to lie, but you feel bad to say no, so you just change the subject.
YOU NO LONGER SEE YOUR FUTURE SELF WORKING ON THAT FIELD
When you started university, you used to close your eyes and see your future self practicing the profession you had chosen. But, at some point, that stopped happening. Now, when you think about yourself a few years from now, you picture yourself working with something else. Or maybe you don’t see yourself working with anything. Either way, both scenarios are terrifying.
YOU DISLIKE MOST OF YOUR CLASSES
Yeah, you loved that class you’ve had on your junior year, and we can say you enjoy that class on Tuesday morning, but that’s all. Every single subject you study is terrible, and you count the days until the classes are over just to realize it doesn’t get any better next period. You can’t seem to get the concepts into your head, and sometimes you cry while studying, because you just hate that so much.
YOU ARE NOT DOING THE THINGS THAT YOU LOVE
Okay, let’s face it: growing up is having to do many things we don’t like. But even so, we can always find something we like about our lives. It might be cuddling with a book every night before bed or taking cooking classes on Saturdays. And even when college seems to be the only thing happening in our lives, we should be able to find joy about some aspect of it, whether it is your internship or the texts you have to read. But that’s not your case. You realize there’s nothing about your routine that you enjoy. Maybe you even have the time to schedule a pleasant activity, but you feel constantly overwhelmed and whenever you have some free time, you’d rather sleep. You can imagine many things you would like to do, but you don’t seem to have the time or the energy for that.
YOU FEEL YOU’RE NOT DEVELOPING YOUR POTENTIAL
You know you have skills, but it feels like you’re not using them. Maybe you’ve even forgotten what your skills are. It seems that your assignments do not require the abilities you have, and instead you struggle to do get simple tasks done, and the result is not proportional to the work you’ve had.
YOU DON’T THINK THE CONS ARE WORTH IT
In a nutshell: you don’t believe the effort pays off. You’ve already sat down and made a list of pros and cons of insisting in your graduation course, and your diagnostic is that it is just not worth it.
In case you have related to the red flags above, it is very possible that you should switch your graduation course. Next month, make sure you don’t miss Time For A Change – Part #2, in which we’ll talk about the next steps of this journey of change.
Until then, remember to breathe, talk to supportive people and schedule some self-care in your routine. You’re not alone!