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University
supermathsbeaver at 5:12PM, Oct. 14, 2010
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I've been here for one month and I still haven't made a proper group of friends yet. There are people who talk to me, a little, but I get the feeling from them - since none of them have asked if I have facebook etc. that I'm that go-to person when everyone else is ill to sit next to, or worse, that particular friend you talk to because no one else will and it makes you feel charitable inside.
I joined a club - I even made a friend out of it (different course), but there's no one in my class of 150+ people that I can really talk to. There's nothing more crushing than a lecture theatre filling up with all those people and the line of chairs next to you is left empty because no one wants to sit there. I'm not even right at the front.
On top of that, the Halls of Residence I'm living in is 20 minutes by bus to the centre where the uni buildings are, so I don't have time to go back between lectures if I get an hours break; anyone I do talk to goes to their Halls of Residence, which are based in the centre, to make a sandwich or something, which means that after lectures I have to walk around the city centre by myself. Shopping isn't fun by yourself.
Speaking of Halls, mine is horrible. There is paint peeling in my bathroom, the kitchen is only equiped for making snacks (and the hot tap has been broken for 2 weeks) and the on site restaurant's knowledge of vegetables is limited to fried potatoes. I've tried talking to my flatmates but the only time I see them is when they're forced to be in the kitchen the same time as me because of food. Only 2/7 of them will really talk to me anyway, the rest either look through me or I haven't even seen them yet. It's not like I'm unfriendly - I really try to start conversations and keep them going. I'm just not very good at it and no one seems to want to try with me.
I keep being told that I'll ‘find my social circle’ and that ‘everyone is in the same homesick boat as me’. So many people have moved here that have family nearby or have friends who've come with them but I don't have either of those things to fall back on, so when I'm at my absolute worst - I can't just pop home or out to make myself feel better. Funny thing is, I really wanted to come here and now I'm wondering whether I really wanted to be a Biologist that much at all.
I guess what I'm trying to ask is - DOES it actually get better? Is there anything different I can do to stop myself feeling this way?
I probably shouldn't ask this but please no one troll - I'm really not feeling up to it today. :(
GREEN BURGERS KILL PEOPLE!!!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:04PM
kyupol at 5:41PM, Oct. 14, 2010
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Haha. You remind me of myself when I was at college. It made me lonely and depressed as I was younger and finding my “circle of friends” was a priority for me.

But contrary to the lies being taught by society that a “circle of friends” is that which is the most important thing (yes to some extent, having connections are important but thats about it…), you know what the most important thing in life really is?

KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE. KNOWLEDGE. AND MORE KNOWLEDGE.

The glass is half-full you know.

When you are alone, there is always the library. Use it.

Expand your knowledge. Don't worry too much about distractions.

And when you aren't expanding your knowledge, there's always a nice quiet place somewhere. Use it.

Sit down… focus your eyes on an object… then control your breathing…

Then. Look. Inward. (I'd leave it at that and I'm not gonna expand on this too much and get too metaphysical about this)

There is a purpose for everything. I hope that helps.

If you got more questions you feel are inappropriate for this thread, take it by PM


Take care.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Genejoke at 5:29AM, Oct. 15, 2010
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Kyupols advice is pretty good… but I would say an incomplete solution as not everyone wants to be that introverted and we are social animals after all.

Personally I have never been one to have a huge amount of friends, I get on with almost anybody but I have only a handful of close friends. It used to bug me when I was younger, not so much now.

An interesting point I got from your post
Someone
There are people who talk to me, a little, but I get the feeling from them - since none of them have asked if I have facebook etc. that I'm that go-to person when everyone else is ill to sit next to, or worse, that particular friend you talk to because no one else will and it makes you feel charitable inside.

Have you asked them? not saying you aren't social but try instigating stuff yourself, open up a bit. Many people who struggle socially lack confidence and hesitate and over think social situations and come off as awkward and antisocial.

Sorry if that sounds condescending.

Don't try too hard don't stress about it just get involved, I know that sounds useless but something should fall into place. maybe try and shift hall or something… I don't know how easy that is, I have friends that did it but never asked the details. the halls situation certainly seems to be an issue, if you aren't happy or comfortable at your “home” then where? combining the issues will certainly get you down.

Also you could try opening up to someone about how you feel, it's sometimes surprising how refreshing an open and honest conversation with a relative stranger is.

In a similar situation I went drinking alone in student bars in the area, I didn't go and get plastered for the sake of it but I had a few bevvies and relaxed enough to just have a laugh with people.

Oh and get a part time job, in a bar or shop maybe.


But hell yeah it gets better, change is always stressful and intimmidating but don't it beat you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:33PM
darrell at 8:03AM, Oct. 15, 2010
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My personal experience, yes, it got better. My first year of university was pretty awkward. People have some cliques coming in and others were pretty anti-social. It's a pretty drastic adjustment to get used to.

I found as the year went on people started being more outgoing as we began to work together, helping each other out with assignments or studying for exams.

I'm not the most sociable person and I made it through and made a lot of friends.

As for not being a biologist because of it, I hope you don't make that decision based on your classmates. If it is something you really enjoy than I hope you stick with it.

Sorry I can't be more helpful and I hope it works out for you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
blindsk at 6:47PM, Oct. 15, 2010
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As a recent graduate, all of these issues you present are something I can at least relate to, since my experience is still fresh. Especially considering that you are choosing a science major (as did I).

Most people that are there and make themselves appear to be the social powerhouse that you may see them as probably have a major somewhere in the humanities. Not to say that's not a bad thing - I have a lot of respect for the people that take it seriously. But let's face it, the majority of them are the ones that play solitaire in class or text their friends or maybe just skip the lecture altogether because they're prioritizing their social life over everything else.

Obviously I'm sure you'd just like a healthy balance. Don't try to get in with the aforementioned people. They're probably going to drag you down, distract you from your studies, and so on. You probably don't have time for most of the things they want to do anyway. Instead, look for the clubs based on your department. I'm talking like a strictly Biology club or at least one that invites science people only. I did this with Physics, and it really changed my outlook on everything. People that attend those events are more serious about the major than you ever thought someone could be. And if you really are interested in Biology, they'll be interested in talking with you. Talk about what you're learning. Which professor you like the most (or the least). Maybe the latest research news in your department. Also, make sure you keep coming back. And then you can expand this into getting to know some of the professors. In fact, you could even start working for them. If you're dedicated, they love that stuff. And let me tell you, that was the most pivotal moment for me getting into grad school. Getting to know your professors. There's also the TA's, but be careful, only a handful might step off their pedestal to talk to a lowly undergrad. ;) You'll get a feel for who those people are after you talk with them about work you need help on and such.

Anyway, hopefully that's useful stuff to add to this repertore of advice. What others have said is good stuff too. Hope this helps and good luck!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:25AM
NickyP at 9:58PM, Oct. 15, 2010
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My advice might not be so helpful because I'm an extroverted, Greek loudmouth, but just continue to do what you normally do, and things will happen. Study at the library often. Have a drink or two at the local eatery. Participate verbally in class more (if available; I'm a law student, so there's rarely a day in class that isn't a discussion). Clique's and groups aren't really that important, and even if they were, they don't just fall out of the sky. You meet one guy who knows another who knows another, and suddenly you're in a circle of friends.

Out of curiosity, what was this like for you before University life? Were you pretty sociable before you moved?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:16PM
supermathsbeaver at 7:32PM, Oct. 16, 2010
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NickyP
Out of curiosity, what was this like for you before University life? Were you pretty sociable before you moved?

I've never really had a huge circle of friends, and I am quite naturally introverted as a person but I did have a group of people that I was very close to - my twin was in that group so I guess one of my major issues is not being able to see my best friend except in the holidays. Also, I'm the youngest of several siblings so I'm getting quite badly homesick somedays. I guess I'm sociable once you get to know me - if that makes sense.
GREEN BURGERS KILL PEOPLE!!!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:04PM
Randal at 8:03PM, Oct. 16, 2010
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The squeaky wheel gets the grease. You have to put yourself out there for things to happen. If you just sit there waiting for them to happen, you'll be sitting there four years from now thinking “man, I went through college without making any friends.”

Maybe you could be that charitable person who makes friends with someone else that you notice is being ignored. There's a reason all the old people you know say things like, “God helps those who help themselves.” and such. Pick a topic that you feel comfortable with. I noticed one guy I met always asked people, “Are you married?”… a pathetic ice breaker, I know, but it got people talking. For the record, I suggest you find a different ice breaker
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:01PM
NickyP at 12:56AM, Oct. 17, 2010
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supermathsbeaver
I guess I'm sociable once you get to know me - if that makes sense.

It makes perfect sense. You aren't one to initiate conversation, but once someone else does with you, you're good to go. I have friends like that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:16PM
supermathsbeaver at 2:15AM, Nov. 22, 2010
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Thanks to everyone for the advice (not that you'll probably come back to this thread to read this response XD),
I have given it my best shot and I'm going to look elsewhere for a degree. I am staying until Christmas in the hope that something happens to change my mind but I woke up this morning feeling genuinely happy because I was thinking about quitting, so I rather suspect that I've made it up already.
It seems to be a combination of accommodation, subject and location:
* I hate where I live and when I tried to move they only offered me rooms around the same campus - which was the problem in the first place, ( I only found out recently after I told them I'd stay where I was that they could move people out of said campus closer to the centre but they never offered this to me.)
* My subject hasn't really piqued my interest since I started and I dread going to practicals because they all feel like Chemistry rather than the Biology ones I loved - dissections, DNA extraction, (although to be fair we have done that here and it sucked the fun out of my childhood memory of it).
* The longer I spend in the city the less I like it. It's overpriced and the only bit I do like is full of restaurants so if I want to shop I have to go to the ‘other bit’.
Then there's the loneliness and isolation of living so many miles away from friends in the centre and family back home. Hmmm…. I think I covered this in my last post.

Anyways, I think I'm going to look at another university and possibly a different course if it turns out that's what Biology is at this level. They place emphasis on me being an independant learner but I didn't think I'd be paying £3,000+ a year to read powerpoints for three hours and teach myself the entire course from an expensive textbook: therefore I'm looking up my alternatives independantly. I'm not twelve years old anymore, I don't have to put up with being unhappy here just because it's less hassle than switching.
Back to the main purpose of my post - to everyone who responded: I wasn't expecting any responses at all because I thought people would rather be discussing Bleach or something, rather than read about me being unhappy, but you did. And it really cheered me up. Thank you. *Hugs each and everyone of you unless you don't like hugs in which case you receive a friendle handshake*
GREEN BURGERS KILL PEOPLE!!!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:04PM
ozoneocean at 4:12AM, Nov. 22, 2010
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supermathsbeaver
I woke up this morning feeling genuinely happy because I was thinking about quitting, so I rather suspect that I've made it up already.
Positive sign! :)

Your uni courses are just a means to an end, so there's a good argument for sucking it up and sticking with them regardless because you know it'll all end eventually at a certain fixed point, but quality of life is still important, especially if you look on those courses as more than a means to an end.


I hope you find somewhere where you're a lot happier and can enjoy your time at uni! Good on you for taking control like that and making a positive move!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:37PM

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