Social Question

stardust's avatar

Care to share your experiences while attending university?

Asked by stardust (10520 points ) September 25th, 2010

For those of you who’ve attended University, how did you find it?
The reason I’m asking specifically about uni’s is due to the volume of students, the impersonal nature of lectures, etc in comparison to smaller colleges?
The rates of depression, loneliness, anxiety, etc. amongst students in these institutions prompted me to ask this question.
Your experiences can be positive or negative

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9 Answers

muppetish's avatar

When I was in high school, my stress for choosing a university to attend or adjusting to “college life” was significantly reduced because of my older brother. He was a senior at our university when I was an in-coming freshmen. I felt pretty good about my ability to choose courses, navigate the campus, juggle the workload, etc. It helped knowing someone close to me who had gone through the experience already.

The government-funded universities in California are split between University of California (U.C.) and California State (or Cal State). I attend a Cal State – our campus is smaller in terms of enrolled students, our lectures are far smaller (we’re talking hundreds compared to 50 students max – the majority of my classes do not exceed 35 students and a few have been as small as fifteen.) They also differ in operation – U.C. schools have a professor-led lecture and then a T.A. led discussion. At my university, we have professor-only courses (though there are differences between how professors teach – some lecture, some lead group discussions, some employ a blend.)

It also makes a difference that I attend what is known as a “Commuter School”. We do have on-campus dorms, and the school really pushes for us to live on campus, but the majority of us drive or take public transportation. This makes the “social” aspect of university life somewhat different. Most students go to school and then go home. There are clubs, organizations, and parties aplenty… but for the most part, we are an academic-focused school.

I have had an incredibly positive experience. My financial issues have been taken care of by the government. My professors are knowledgeable, affable, and genuinely want to help their students. The majority of administrators (office workers and deans alike) focus on helping the students and not getting money in their pockets. They will work with us to ensure we are on track to graduate.

I have gone through waves of depression and anxiety, but for those part I have been content. It has never become too difficult for me to handle. But I am an insatiable student who has nursed a thirst to learn for as long as they have lived. Others I know, especially those outside my major, have not had as easy an academic career. I think it is understandable to stumble and know when and how to seek help.

I could probably go on forever.. if you have any pointed questions, I will do my best to answer them :)

marinelife's avatar

I chose a major metropolitan university, and it was probably a mistake. I was all alone, away from my family for the first time, and there was no one to care what I did or didn’t do.

I just did not take any of that into account when I was picking a school. i went strictly by what I wanted to major in.

If I was doing it over again, I would do it differently.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I had a great time! I had a really good apartment not far from school and a sports car. lotsa friends. It was one of the funnest times in my life

YARNLADY's avatar

I went to a church supported college, so the adjustment wasn’t quite as bad. I’ve always been fairly adaptable, and didn’t have any unusual issues.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

I grew up in a small town with a graduating class of around 90 students, but for college I ended up going to a very large state university of somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 undergraduates. My older sister went to the same school, and I had friends in nearby universities, so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad.

Things were great at first. My roommate was cool, and I’d met some nice friends. After a couple months, though, things started to go downhill. I think it started because my roommate and I had a falling out – she became involved with this large group of friends that I didn’t really like, and then she started dating this guy who I disliked even more. Then the depression set in – it’s something I’d been dealing with since junior year in high school, but I’d thought I had it under control.

The hardest part was that there was no one there who stepped in and asked what was wrong, offered help. In high school all the teachers knew me and my parents, and were very understanding when I was dealing with my depression back then. This time, there was no one. Even though my sister was there, she was living in a sorority house across campus (quite a distance considering the size of the school), so I didn’t see her much. I had friends, but I didn’t want to burden them with my problems. Most of my classes were large, so none of my teachers knew me personally.

I made it through first semester with one A, two B’s, and two F’s. Even though I did well in the classes I did pass, the F’s put me on academic probation. Second semester came, and things got worse; I gave up going to class altogether within three weeks. I ended up finally going to mental health services, and it really paid off. They realized my current medication was useless and put me on a new one, which was a huge improvement. Still, I wasn’t going to class, and I decided with my therapist that it would be best to take a mental health withdrawal from the university. The alternative would have been flunking out of university, which would be quite a blow to my self-esteem after graduating valedictorian from me high school. The rest of the semester I spent not going to class, seeing my therapist weekly, hanging out with my friends and doing lots of artwork. It actually ended up being a pretty nice experience of self-discovery.

After withdrawing from my first school, I enrolled in another university and shared an apartment with my mom. Originally, it was only going to be a temporary thing, taking a few art courses for one semester and going back to the first school. Turns out I liked this second school so much that I never left. The first school just held a negative connotation after that – every time I went back to visit friends, I would get depressed.

Anyway, things have been pretty great since then; a few kinks here and there, but nothing compared to that first year. I’ve maintained a 3.8 or higher GPA each semester, and although I wasn’t living on campus, I managed to make some good friends.

Wow, this ended up being a really long post. Looking at everyone else’s posts, you can see the huge variety in college experiences. It depends on your past, your personality, ability to handle change, where you live in your university, the people you surround yourself with, the classes you take… So many variables can factor into your overall university experience.

perspicacious's avatar

University and college is school, and education is why one should be there. The social aspect is fine if you want to be involved and it doesn’t interfere with your academic purpose for being there. If people understood this the depression, anxiety, etc. would be far less because the focus would be on school—the reason you and/or your parents are spending the big bucks. I went to a private university in the evenings and enjoyed all my classes. I made a ton of friends and graduated summa cum-laude

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@perspicacious I can’t believe you’re saying that depression and anxiety can be prevented if you just focus on school. First of all, depression and anxiety attacks are a mental illness, which can’t be controlled to start with. Second of all, academics are often the source of depression and anxiety.

I obviously went to college to study. I’m not a party animal in any way, shape, or form, and my friends consist of a small group of like-minded, studious people. School is always my number one priority, and my GPA reflects that. Yet, my depression still effects me, especially when classes are especially challenging or the workload is larger than I’m used to (which is a lot).

You’re lucky you had such a good experience in your university. Not all of us are so lucky, and it’s not because we’re slackers. Try to be a little more considerate when you say things like that, please.

GracieT's avatar

I went to two different universities. My first one, a state university, was beyond huge (It was the second largest state university in the US). Because I had been a HUGE fish in a small pond in high school, I didn’t do well. After two years I transferred to another university in the state which was also a state school, but was smaller. I loved that, and fit in well. I was able to become involved in organizations in which I was more than just a member to fill seats. I had a much more comfortable time, fit in better, and was more involved. I probably would have enjoyed the state school better if I had realized that things don’t just happen to you, you need to actively become involved.

Aster's avatar

My parents chose it since it was forty miles away and a decent school with ten thousand students THEN.
I was never lonely or depressed, sort of interested in learning things (not nearly as much as I am now) and had lots of fun and got into some trouble. I took a full schedule because I had a feeling I’d not be there long.
I wanted to find someone to marry and it seemed to me the guys were way too immature. So I married a guy five years older I met at a fraternity party. He was on a platform playing a Gibson Birdlander guitar with his buds. What a night.

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