Laura Hamilton realised she was at a university which just wasn’t right for her. Starting again proved the best decision she ever made.
Clutching my fist-full of A-levels, I was ecstatic about embarking upon the next adventure, and was looking forward to university; the so-called best years of your life.
As I drove down to move into halls of residence, I had butterflies in my stomach, due to both nerves and excitement. I couldn’t wait to play hard, work hard, and make the best friends of my life.
It didn’t take me long to realise that I was unhappy and unsettled at my university. The university bubble is a small, close and intense environment, and, with the right people, it’s fantastic. But in a small flat with six people that you don’t have much in common with, it’s isolated, lonely and bleak.
I never clicked with my housemates in halls of residence, and, although they were perfectly nice, they had all formed a small group, of which I wasn’t part of, and didn’t particularly want to be part of. The first week, when everybody was out partying and having fun, I stayed in. Despite feeling upset, I didn’t give up, and looked forward to starting lectures, hoping that would be where I would meet friends and start to feel settled.
It didn’t quite work out like that, and while outwardly I was coping, attending lectures, submitting work, and getting along with people, inside I felt lost and alone. I sought help from a variety of people; personal tutor, residential advisor and even a counsellor, but I couldn’t avoid the fact that I was unhappy and hated being there. It was made harder by the fact that all my friends from sixth form were having a brilliant time at their chosen universities.
It took me a while to decide to leave; I thought it would be the biggest regret of my life that I didn’t try harder.
It transpires that leaving was the best decision I ever made. A year later, I started at a different university, and from the word go, I knew I had made the best decision possible.
I clicked straight away with my new flat mates, and in the first week, I went out every night, and made new friends daily. When I started my course, I loved it, and enjoyed meeting new people. Every year that I was at university it improved, even when I didn’t think it was possible to get any better. Having finished my degree, I know I have had the university experience I always wanted, and have made friends that I will have for life.
My advice to anyone unhappy at university is don’t be embarrassed, seek help. People are there to help you and want you to be happy. But, use your intuition; sometimes you do just know when something isn’t right. Don’t feel like a failure if things don’t work out as you imagined, you deserve to be happy, and if you have to leave and start again to achieve it, then it will be worthwhile in the end.
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