Poll: How was your college/uni experience?

Qwurty2.0

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Apr 21, 2011
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So I'm off to college in a little over a month to begin my journey of becoming and engineer. This is both exciting and scary for me. On one hand, it is the chance I have been waiting for to finally start fresh and remake myself, while on the other I fear that nothing will change and it will simply be a repeat of high school.

So I'd like to ask a few questions about yourselves (to help you open up and in turn help me answer some questions I need answered). You do not have to answer these to post, or you can add info that I haven't asked for.

-What college/university did you attend/are currently enroll?
-What did you major in/what are thinking of majoring in?
-Related to the poll and initial question, how would the rate the experience? Was it a chance to grow as a person or was it all hyped up BS?
-If you could do anything different, what would it be?
-Any advice for a soon to be freshman?

I am mostly asking because I am curious and because

I have been battling with major depression and suicidal thoughts for the last six-seven years. In the past few months I have been struggling with what I can only describe as an identity crisis, my own purpose/goals in life, whether I will be able to achieve my goals and make the life I want to have.

Right now I am stuck between childhood and adulthood, with my family treating me as though I am some weird kid who can't make his own decisions and do his own thing. I struggle to be myself around them, as I am not really like most of them. I am very much into technology, have big dreams and expectations, and like doing things that I see as important or helpful to others. My family is somewhat traditional, most of the adults don't care for technology, my sister has very little sense of responsibility and has no intrinsic desire to do things (i.e. she rarely does things because unless she gets some reward out of it or she is nagged into doing it). I feel like my parent aren't very ambitious and are content to go to work, come home, and either get drunk at the bar or watch Netflix/TV.

Mostly, I feel like I can't spread my wings and be the person I want to be or be acknowledged for who I really am because my parents view me as a kid and don't share my same passions or interests.

TO TIE ALL THIS PERSONAL INFORMATION IN TO THE QUESTION ABOUT COLLEGE, I am hoping that I will be able to finally be seen as the mature individual that I have been for a while now and will be able to assume the life I want once I am on my own. Hence any advice from others would be appreciated. :)

Captcha: "Face the music." What are you trying to tell me, Captcha??! D:
 

Jux

Donald Trump is a racist
Sep 2, 2012
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Will you be dorming at school, or travelling to school everyday from home?

I lived at my mothers when I went to school. It was a huge step up from high school for my morale, though in retrospect there are things I regret not doing. Namely I goofed around a lot at the start after having been in a very strict HS environment, that definitely didn't help.

My social life improved a little, though as an introvert, going to parties and clubs wasn't on my priority list. Is your family aware of your depression? If so, are they supportive of you?
 

CAPTCHA

Mushroom Camper
Sep 30, 2009
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I'm an older student and enroled with the Open University, studying IT. What I'm finding is its a lot of work, but it doesn't really prepare you for finding a job in your chosen proffession.

Rather than: 'Here's the skills you need for a job'
it's more: 'Here are the basics and the best way to learn, now apply yourself'

I don't think anyone who goes to the OU will ever be a big success unless they are very self-motivated. For example, I'm writing a database for a solicitors at the moment which works by reading/writing to excel workbooks. The OU did not teach me how to do this however, what they did teach me was the various syntax, a good approach to design, what a lot of the jargon means and give me plenty of experience talking about code with other people.

However to complete said database, I have to bring all that knowledge together, study how to work with a new API, I had to get out and find the work in the first place, keep at it and be proffessional to ensure I can get more work in the future. If the work pleases them, they may want me to build upon it, which means that I will have to learn how to create more advanced features through practice and research. There'll be no hand-holding then, just me, a bunch of resources and the knowledge of how I approached learning new things the last time around.

IT may be slighty atypical, since once you start you can never really stop learning or you'll get left in the dust. But I'm guessing that many other university founded professions follow suit to some extent. It might be worth asking if that's what you want? A lifetime of hard study for the chance at a large income. It could be easier and more proffitable to go the craftman route, or even just say to hell with it all and go work in a bar or something.

Of course the career at the end isn't the only reason to go to uni, but I'm not really qualified to talk about the whole building a social circle and leaving home part.
 

MammothBlade

It's not that I LIKE you b-baka!
Oct 12, 2011
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It was... meh. What can I say, there were plenty of opportunities for socialising I suppose, but with living at home I tended to just go to university then come back at the soonest opportunity. That and I'm not very social, so I didn't bond too well with anyone. It tends to require more diligence than smarts, it seems, but that might just be the course I took. I'm about finished unless I've really screwed up and need to resit something part-time. Now my degree wasn't the best for careers so I'm probably going along the self-taught route in ICT/programming as the good CAPTCHA gentleman suggests.
 

Qwurty2.0

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Apr 21, 2011
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@Jux: I will be going to Iowa State University, currently labelled as engineer undeclared (top picks are software, aeronautics, bioengineering, or maybe electrical, idk tbh), and yes, I will be staying in a dorm. I currently live in Minnesota, the drive is 4-5 hours, so it is far enough away that I will more or less be on my own but close enough to be able to get home. I am very excited to be going to college, however. I've always been more productive and happy away from family.

To be fair, though, my family is very nice and supportive. I just don't, you know, connect? They do indeed know of my depression and are trying to be supportive, but I struggle to be open because they can't really give me the solution to my problems. It makes me feel guilty because I know my mom is stressed about it and my step-dad tries to give me advice, but when I am down, that last thing I want to do is interact with my family.

@CAPTCHA: You're not the captcha incarnate, are you?! O_O' More seriously, I am excited for the experience and autonomy, and while I did give craftsman/technical schools some consideration, my grandparents (who are very nice and I get along with reasonably well) set up a college fund when I was born. There is approximately threes years worth of cash saved up, so I figure I might as well take advantage of it.

I've always known that it will take hard work to succeed in college. One of my main regrets in high school was not becoming more involved and serious about my education until my junior/senior year. I hated regular high school classes (non-honors/Advanced Placement classes) because the kids simply didn't care about learning, and the teachers knew it, which resulted in the class being boring and unsatisfying for the kids who actually where interested in the class.
 

Dectomax

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Jun 17, 2010
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I'm currently attending Plymouth College of Art in the UK, studying a Design for Games BA - just finished my first year. To be fair, I'm studying Design for Games and it's not really one of the harder degrees out there...but I was absent for nearly 70% of the course and still managed to hand in everything on time and get a 2-1 at 74% in UK grades. I never really learnt anything from them and it certainly wasn't worth the £9,000 tuition fee I'm paying.

If I could do anything different? Not have gone to University...here's hoping the second year is better.


Advice - turn up for your lectures, takes notes ( Record if possible ) and connect with your classmates, even the ones you dislike. It's all networking and even in your dream job I can assure you, there'll be one asshole you don't like.

Or, you could get a trade and earn more money and have a stable job. This Degree shit is over-rated.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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Qwurty2.0 said:
-What college/university did you attend/are currently enroll?
-What did you major in/what are thinking of majoring in?
-Related to the poll and initial question, how would the rate the experience? Was it a chance to grow as a person or was it all hyped up BS?
-If you could do anything different, what would it be?
-Any advice for a soon to be freshman?
Manchester, Middlesex, Exeter.

Geography/Geology BSc, Geography BA, Climate change & Risk Management MSc

I'm not really able to relate my experience to your situation because I was in a very different position.

Advice wise, this is perhaps a bit too far in the future for you, hopefully you'd have been told this anyway but it doesn't hurt to have it in mind from the beginning:

You will probably need to get at least the US equivalent of a Masters degree to go and work at a decent level in your chosen field if you're looking to go into research or pretty much anything sciencey.

Also, if you are committed to your chosen field then you really need to make contacts within the industry or the academic side while you're there. If you can tie your dissertation (or whatever you yanks do) to something a company or academic researcher is doing then they get some free research, you get extra support and a foot in the door.

If you find you aren't enjoying your course don't be afraid to switch to another one, you can probably transfer credits.
 

Amakusa

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Jul 12, 2012
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Qwurty2.0 said:
Snip

So I'd like to ask a few questions about yourselves (to help you open up and in turn help me answer some questions I need answered). You do not have to answer these to post, or you can add info that I haven't asked for.

-What college/university did you attend/are currently enroll?
-What did you major in/what are thinking of majoring in?
-Related to the poll and initial question, how would the rate the experience? Was it a chance to grow as a person or was it all hyped up BS?
-If you could do anything different, what would it be?
-Any advice for a soon to be freshman?

I am mostly asking because I am curious and because

I have been battling with major depression and suicidal thoughts for the last six-seven years. In the past few months I have been struggling with what I can only describe as an identity crisis, my own purpose/goals in life, whether I will be able to achieve my goals and make the life I want to have.

Right now I am stuck between childhood and adulthood, with my family treating me as though I am some weird kid who can't make his own decisions and do his own thing. I struggle to be myself around them, as I am not really like most of them. I am very much into technology, have big dreams and expectations, and like doing things that I see as important or helpful to others. My family is somewhat traditional, most of the adults don't care for technology, my sister has very little sense of responsibility and has no intrinsic desire to do things (i.e. she rarely does things because unless she gets some reward out of it or she is nagged into doing it). I feel like my parent aren't very ambitious and are content to go to work, come home, and either get drunk at the bar or watch Netflix/TV.

Mostly, I feel like I can't spread my wings and be the person I want to be or be acknowledged for who I really am because my parents view me as a kid and don't share my same passions or interests.

TO TIE ALL THIS PERSONAL INFORMATION IN TO THE QUESTION ABOUT COLLEGE, I am hoping that I will be able to finally be seen as the mature individual that I have been for a while now and will be able to assume the life I want once I am on my own. Hence any advice from others would be appreciated. :)
Okay lets see, i guess if can give some information. I went to uni twice, first time straight out of school, second time years later as a mature age student. I crashed and burned the first time and succeeded the second time.

Lets begin

University of New South Wales, My course was a B. Criminology and Criminal Justice. The course speaks for itself since that is what the majors are and i have graduated. (I did something totally different first attempt at a different uni)

As for the rating, hmm i gave an 8. As for the growth bit, tbh i'm not sure considering i crashed and burned the first time and pretty much lost the plot towards 2nd year first time. I think it was a personalty issue that caused the first time meltdown, i'm introverted by nature but don't cope well if left by myself for too long without friends or family. Also when i went to uni, i tend to be a get in, get out type of person. Turn up to classes when needed and leave. Turn up to computer labs to do homework, keep to myself and then leave. So i don't socialise that well and keep to myself. I do make friends but generally it's after awhile and if i'm comfortable around the person. So that is my experience and it will colour the advice i give you.

Hmm giving advice to you. Hmm you mentioned depression so i would say, talk to counselor. If your university has a free one, use the service. Get the most out of your fees. Also be aware of student support services. They can make your life easier whether it is referencing help or counseling etc etc. Take a library tour, your gonna need to use it's resources and it might be a home away from home to do your work in. It's worth your time to familiarise yourself with it.

If there is an orientation and/or a students mentoring program (provided it's well designed). Take it. They helped me get through first few weeks so i could understand where things were second time round etc etc. I did make a good friend out of it where i can talk shop so it was nice. You might want to join social clubs. Yeah it's cliche but finding like minded people can be a boon. I didn't bother with it myself but that was more cause i play mmos and have friends i talk to online.

Hmm the uni bar. Personally i didn't socialise that much going to uni bar events, age gap and all that. The only times i did go was when i was when i had free time to blow waiting for a class to start and i would read my class notes or a book drinking a vodka lemon lime. So if your the type of person that likes to drink and gets happy and chatty at bars, you may want to socialise that way. However since you have said you suffered from depression, you might want to avoid going to bars. Also if your chatty in general or not, you may want to get friendly with your class mates. Some may be helpful when your stuck to give you advice with your assignments. Just make sure you don't get friendly with freeloader ones that ask you to answer the question for them. You will need to learn how to budget and prioritise how your money is spent. And finally learn to Reference. The last thing you want to do is get drummed out of uni for plagiarising.

Hope this has helped in some way.
 

Vausch

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Dec 7, 2009
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Currently in North Idaho College to get prerequisites out of the way.

Mechanical and Electronic engineering, thinking of dual majoring for digital artwork.

Not well. The school is run by people that can't handle applications and they put me down for fall 2012 semester when I signed up for spring. In December. Not helped by them having absolutely no mechanical engineering courses and the counsellors/advisers don't seem to give 2 shits since they would only speak to me for 5 minutes and offered no solutions.

I'd not go to University of Idaho for a semester and get a student loan I didn't need, nor would I go to Portland for a semester and waste half my savings.

Look at every option, stay at home as long as you can unless you can easily afford a small apartment or dorm, with a friend, go to a community college first if you can to get prerequisites out of the way, and don't be afraid to take your time with school. A 4 year degree taking 5 or 6 years is worth the extra time.
 

Secondguess

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Jul 5, 2013
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Sheffield Hallam, English BA. Not what you'd call the higher echelons of academia but there you go.

Uni/College can be a great environment in which to learn, as people there have all thought long and hard about what they want to study, and are usually much more dedicated.

Socially speaking, it's whatever you make of it. Even if you're not up for the whole clubbing/parties side of things, you will inevitably meet like-minded people (on your course or through extra-curricular stuff) with whom you can socialise in your own way. With regards to the home/dorm stuff, your situation sounds pretty perfect. Far away enough to be autonomous, but close enough to be able to travel home with ease.

When I was in my final year, I shared a house with someone who had been going through similar stuff, and he said that moving out on his own was a great help to both his academic life and his mental health. I don't want to imply that any 2 cases of depression are the same, but that surely bodes well.

You'll have a great time, whatever you choose to do with it!
 

Nickolai77

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Apr 3, 2009
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Lancaster University, BA History+International Relations and then MSc Management.

I'm kind of glad that i was able to study something which truly interested me before studying something else that's going to get me a job without being burdened by an insane amount of debt. If i was applying to UCAS this year, i'd be stuck choosing between a course that i genuinely like or a more vocational one that will get me a job.

When i first came to university i kind of expected to fall into a group of likeminded friends and maybe even find a girlfriend but none of that ever happened. The first people you meet are your flat-mates who come from all sorts of walks of life, but if you want to meet similar people you have to really join clubs and societies though. You may expect to make friends from your course, but if you are on a humanities course like i was, it is actually quite hard to make friends unless they happen to take all the same modules you take because there were few contact hours.


Even with societies though it can actually be quite difficult getting into them socially if you miss out on the first freshers week social- and even if you do attend a freshers social in the second time round (e.g- a rock music society) there's no guarantee you'll fit it or it will work out for you. Clubs and societies have an insane drop out rate. I remember joining an archery club and in the first week we had about 100 new members including me. That went down by about half the next, and then half again in the 3rd week. In the end, only about 5 of those original 100 were still regulars at the end of the year. So, despite me joining several clubs and societies none really worked out for me, so i disagree with Second Guess that you "inevitably" find people who you share common interests in. In the end, i made friends through my flatmates. I didn't have a lot in common with them, and i went through some spells of depression in the first year, but i soldiered on anyway. I didn't quite fit in with my university friends, but i was accepted at least.

I suppose at least i learnt how to get on with people with quite divergent interests to your own which is a good life skill, still i regret that i wasn't able to become friends with more likeminded people. It made me value my high school friends more, who i'm still in touch with and seeing tonight in fact in a pub crawl around town :)

I still had quite a bit of fun at university- i got on well with my housemates and enjoyed spending hours watching films and TV series with them. Went on a number of good nights out around pubs in Lancaster and had many nice meals out and i've met some interesting people along the way. If you take up opportunities the university offers it also spices up your university experience. I edited a student newspaper and worked as a tourguide for instance, and in September i'm going to China with my university. So, whilst university for me wasn't what i hoped it would be,at least i was able to make the most of the situation i found myself in. I do wish though that i could start over with all the hindsight i have now.
 

Redingold

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Mar 28, 2009
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University of Manchester, studying Physics with Theoretical Physics.

Finished my first year, got 82.3% overall.

Absolutely loving it so far. Got a great group of friends that I'll be sharing a house with come September. The majority of the courses are fascinating, and because I'm doing Theoretical, I get half as much lab work, which is good, because I don't like lab work.
 

staika

I am Tizzy's Willing Slave
Aug 3, 2009
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I went to a small technical school known as Erie Institute of Technology. I actually graduate at the end of the month but my classes are done now so I technically already graduated. My time there was awesome, I had really skilled teachers and since there were only 7 of us in my class I got to know everyone well. I'd grade my time there as a 10 but my overall college experience as an 8.

I bounced around the Mercyhurst colleges when I first graduated high school since I didn't know what I wanted to major in. I didn't like it there since the classes were big and since I commuted there I didn't really get to know anyone at all. But I credit that as the reason I got involved in the forums so much so there's that. After a year and a half I went to EIT to major in Networking and Database and here I am now.
 

DSK-

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May 13, 2010
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Qwurty2.0 said:
So I'm off to college in a little over a month to begin my journey of becoming and engineer. This is both exciting and scary for me. On one hand, it is the chance I have been waiting for to finally start fresh and remake myself, while on the other I fear that nothing will change and it will simply be a repeat of high school.

So I'd like to ask a few questions about yourselves (to help you open up and in turn help me answer some questions I need answered). You do not have to answer these to post, or you can add info that I haven't asked for.

-What college/university did you attend/are currently enroll?
-What did you major in/what are thinking of majoring in?
-Related to the poll and initial question, how would the rate the experience? Was it a chance to grow as a person or was it all hyped up BS?
-If you could do anything different, what would it be?
-Any advice for a soon to be freshman?
1) West Herts College and the University of Hertfordshire

2) I did the following - at college: BTEC First Diploma for IT Practitioners (1 year), GNVQ equivalent) and a BTEC National Diploma for IT Practitioners (2 years, A-level equivalent).

At university I did a Foundation degree in IT for Multimedia (2 years) and an online top-up Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1 year). I couldn't complete the top-up because the university of hertfordshire are bunch of complete cunts, and that I couldn't afford my last module because of the university fees going up/my university didn't accept student loan payments (WTF!).

3) My first 6 months/first semester of my very first year of college was arguably the most blissful I have ever felt in my life. It was amazing. Then when the second semester started it all went to shit, and kept going down into the shitter. When you get used to the marking schemas and stuff, college and uni are a piece of piss. The problem is that you get into a rut where you focus on covering the marking criteria to get the grades for coursework instead of actually learning anything.

4) Nothing really. I didn't start actively studying in further/higher education until my foundation degree, and even then it wasn't really needed (I used it more for getting my handwriting to a decent standard for exams, etc). I suppose I'd save up all of the maintenance loans I took out instead of spending it all :D

5) Hmmm. Make notes on anything you personally feel is relevant/worth knowing or things you may be weak on/do not have knowledge of.

Feel free to use Wikipedia as a source of quick, easy information to increase your understanding and knowledge of concepts, but NEVER use it as a source for references. Always look for other sources (books, websites, journals etc) for that information, even if you didn't read it.

When doing reports/essays/assignments/whatever, always use the structure of statement, quote, discuss. For example: "In 2005, the Unreal Tournament 2004 player 'Falcon' was arguably one of the most successful unreal tournament players since the game's inception. Not only did he reach the finals of the ESWC 2004 tournament, coming second only to his fellow teammate winz, but he was also successful in events such as the Samsung European Championship and a number of ClanBase Team Deathmatch cups. This could be attributed to the constant evolution of playstyles and the vast differences in game mechanics from the likes of previous competitive unreal titles, Unreal Tournament 1 (more commonly known as UT1 or UT99, as it was released in 1999), and Unreal Tournament 2003, which was featured in the World Cyber Games event of 2003."

And so on. I hope that helps. I learned that back in GCSE English, and it made my grades 80% higher than they used to be and I never looked back. Probably the main thing that allowed me to get so far in education, quite honestly. ;)
 

Naeras

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Mar 1, 2011
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I've finished my bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Oslo, starting my Master's degree in a month and a half.

Best three years of my life, easily. The subject is, obviously, something I consider to be really interesting and fun, but the most important reason why I've been enjoying myself so much is the student life. Joining a student association let me meet so many interesting people, many of which will probably be friends of mine for the rest of my life, as well as arranging the best parties I've ever been to. It's just.. awesome. I love it. The only thing I would've done differently is joining the student association in question earlier than I did, but that was more a problem of logistics than anything else(an hour of travel time to campus didn't do me a whole lot of favors if I was working as a bartender until 3 o' clock).
 

V TheSystem V

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Sep 11, 2009
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I've just finished my first year of university, and I lived in a halls of residence. Halls of residence are the best way to meet new people, and those people will shape how your life goes for that year. You may love them, you may hate them, you may meet new people from your course that you get along with better than those in your flat, but how you feel about those you live with will shape your opinion of university during your first year.

I spoke to a couple of my flatmates on Facebook before I moved in, and they were nice people. That didn't change when I met them (luckily), but I talked to some more than others due to factors such as how outgoing they were (I didn't go clubbing a lot, much prefer pubs) or because they preferred to stay in their dorm rooms more than everyone else did (the guy who did that in my flat is my housemate next year, and he had the right idea, which I'll get onto in a sec). Try and talk to people in your seminars, on your course, or even join societies. I personally didn't go to many society meetings, but the one I went to for my Ancient History course was pretty good! Shame it was at the same time as my driving lessons, otherwise I could have made more friends than I did.

Being a shutaway has its benefits and its drawbacks, but once again, it really does depend on what your flatmates are like. I didn't go out much, but I socialised with my flatmates, even started going to the gym with them to get to know them a lot more. This meant I got included in a lot of things they were doing, but it also got me drawn into disputes with other flatmates due to one particular bellend I lived with...who, unfortunately, I went to the gym with and would just burst into my room if my door was open and wouldn't leave for about half an hour, when I just wanted to be left alone. If he were a nice guy, it would have been okay, but he wasn't. He was destructive, abusive towards the girls in my flat (calling them sluts on one occasion and thought they all loved him, when they, in fact, despised him), and abusive towards everyone else when drunk. He chased my flatmate down the corridor with a knife one night after having ten pints, and also chased me down a corridor naked that same night. He broke down later on when I told him that he needed better parenting (a low blow, but I was so angry I didn't care), and then it turned out that the only real trouble he had with his family was that his parents were divorced...but he got along well with his stepdad and still saw his dad occasionally, so it wasn't as if he was suffering.

Sorry for the wall of text, but that's a worst case scenario. Hopefully you'll enjoy university and not live with a complete asshat like I had to.

Also, your kitchen will be a mess come the end of the year, and there will be people pointing blame at others when it's their fault for the mess. Don't stand for it, and voice your opinion on the matter in front of everyone if you have to. It does help in the end.
 

Blue Musician

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Mar 23, 2010
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buggermenot said:
I was about to pass on this thread, but I opened it up to peek at it, I read your post and debated if it was worth the time to throw a lot of advice your way, then I noticed your NS2 avatar and read your spoiler. I gotta help you out.

So, this is going to be my long rambling post of advice I would give my past self if I had a time machine. I am hoping you find useful information in my ramblings. Segmented for your convenience!

Without going through a one-to-one comparison, my upbringing is similar to yours. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 16, after a few years of being generally miserable. I was on fluoxitine at increasing doses for about 8 years until I finally decided to stop taking it. When I stopped, I was in a stable enough place to not need medication.

I can't explain how, I simply outgrew my depression. It just wasn't there anymore, and didn't return, or at least was far more shallow than years previous. I can't say I decided to get over it, it certainly wasn't willpower or determination to defeat depression, but somehow it's as if I had enough and it did not return. Now, for a long while I stopped giving a fuck about everything, and very large portions of my adult life can be described as "nothing happened." Wake, work, eat, games, internet, fap, sleep, repeat. Not a recommended lifestyle.

So, college.

There are a lot of things you can bring with you to college/uni. You can bring your laptop, you can bring your desktop. You can bring your clothes, you could buy new clothes. You could get notebooks with the university logo on them from the campus bookstore for $12 apiece or you could grab one for a buck at the dollar store. You can bring your pokemon or spiderman bedsheets or get an all new 700 thread count Egyptian cotton set.

But the one thing you have no choice about bringing:

You have to bring you.

You, the person you've had problems with. You, the person with hangups, and anxieties, and mannerisms. You, the person who frets about the future, and feels unsure and sometimes lacks confidence. You can get away from everything you knew before, your hometown, your old friends, your highschool enemies, whatever. When I was a teen, I thought all those things were my problems, and if they would go away, I'd be fine. Imagine my shock in discovering I was the problem.

Having a fresh environment to start over seems like a great thing, I was always excited to begin a school year, but invariably I'd get depressed by November, or March in the spring semester. Things just didn't pan out, they weren't as great as I imagined they'd be. Didn't make those new friends I thought I'd have, didn't get that female attention I was sure I'd get. I was socially awkward and didn't have the conversation skills to enter a room and make friends. I didn't have pursuits that would make me noticeable or get me out and about. I didn't want the responsibilities of being on a team and giving up my freedom to meet commitments. I thought frats were for people who were born with the keys to unlock social circles, or for losers who couldn't make friends on their own and needed their friends chosen for them. How ironic, then, that I was a loser who couldn't make friends on my own, and my friends were coincidentally chosen by being in the same dorm as me.

The end of every semester was marked by withdrawing completely and languishing about until the absolute deadest of deadlines came upon me, then a mad scramble to get something complete. Sometimes I managed something respectable and got a respectable grade, other times I just handed over whatever fraction of the term paper I completed.

I discovered that when I negotiated for more time on grounds of being in the midst of a depressive episode, most professors are considerably understanding and are willing to make arrangements for extra time to complete work. The first few times this solution worked for me. Later on in my academic career, it just meant I was able to escape the anxiety and abandoned my work altogether, consigning my grade to either an "incomplete" or something like a 2.0 or less for the semester. I actually made the Dean's List my freshman year, but my GPA steadily decreased in the subsequent years.

One year in the springtime I was way behind on everything, I wasn't attending two of my classes, and I started getting locked into cycles of suicidal ideation. This scared me, I called my parents and the short version of the story is I dropped out.

It's been said many times before, but: Going to college is your job. It is something you will be putting in 40 hours or 50 hours or 60 hours a week, every week. Compare this to me, who would go to class (8 am classes? fuck!), then return to my dorm to play vidya games, the go to my next class a couple hours later, return to my dorm to waste time, and only get serious about studying or getting work done well after dinner.

As for socializing, after the initial zeal of being in a new place with new people wears off, you settle into a routine. If your routine consists of staying in or around your dorm for the weekend, consider this:
Say there are 18 weeks in a semester. Each week constitutes 5.5% of the term, and every Saturday+Sunday weekend makes up 5.5% of your total weekends. Every Saturday makes up nearly 3% of your weekend time, every Sunday makes up nearly 3% of your weekend time. You might think it's no big deal to just bum out for a day to destress and let everything go, and yeah, you're gonna need it once in awhile. But don't make that every weekend.

Let's say your character could travel through quicksand, or over rocks. If you travel through quicksand, every second in quicksand makes your total speed 3% slower, but all you have to do is hold down one key. Compared to having to do precision jumps on small platforms, it wouldn't be all that bad to go slower to save some effort. But stay there too long, and then you're barely moving, and you're wasting your time. Jumping could have gotten you much further, if you put in more effort.

Another take on it: you might not think it's so bad to take a small penalty to DPS to get a 'stress-free' debuff, but if you let that penalty stack, suddenly you're doing 15% less damage, then it becomes 24%, then 33%, then 42%, and all it took was being hit by many small "oh, today doesn't really matter" strung together.

Taking it back to the college experience, we all need time off, but if you're not pursuing your opportunities, you're squandering them. As droll as that sounds. Just take it from me, I've got regrets and no way to undo them. Some of it was due to depression, some of it to laziness, some of it to ineptitude.

It's been said that time enjoyed is not time wasted, well, I can tell you I enjoyed a lot of my college weekends, but have very little to show for them now. Natural Selection 1 was my true passion. From Halloween Night 2002, through version 1.04, through version 2.0, through version 3.0 and 3.2, I was deep, deep into NS. I could speak at length about the old days, but now is not the time.

I have my reasons for these, but for the sake of not making everything into a story I'm just going to give you the bulletpoints and not the screenplay.

You can use your depression as a crutch, as a handicap to bilk your professors into special arrangements when you're down in the shitter. I wouldn't recommend it, purely for the reason that I came to rely upon, and then abuse it. Don't take that to mean you cannot, I am simply warning that it can become a habit.

Make a schedule and block out work time and leisure time, and be your own boss. The consequences of screwing around instead of working are like slowly rising water: you think you're fine when you're up to your ankles, knees, elbows or neck, because you won't drown until it's up over your mouth. It's not until you're gasping for air that you regret allowing it to rise.

Get a very good idea how much money your financial aid is paying for, and how much your grandparent's money is paying for. If you ever think a 3 hour lecture is boring, remember that you paid in the neighborhood of $125 for that one single lecture. $125 per class might not be what you're paying, could be less, but I'm telling you, do the math and figure out how much one day of classes costs. Give yourself reminders what that money could have been if you ever feel like dozing off or skipping.

When it comes to eating and shopping, do everything off campus. If you have a car, this is obvious, but if you don't, you'll need whatever transportation is provided to students to get around. Do not rely on the food and groceries available to you on and around campus too much, they are stupid expensive. You're a sucker if you pay for a full year meal plan. Having the convenience is nice, and you'll be able to leverage the cafeteria and eateries for socializing, but for the love of god buy groceries from a supermarket and make your own meals some days of the week. Even if you have to pay cab fares, you will still save money over a meal plan.

I can't say what's happening in your life with your depression, but be prepared for it to be a part of your college life. It is not going to disappear simply because you're somewhere else, but it is also possible that this will be what you need to leave it behind for good. If it's really bad, take a preemptive step early in the semester by finding what services are provided for student mental health and therapy, at minimum know where the building is.

Self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts. "Get involved" is cliche, but do not ignore it. It might take awhile to find something that fits, but look for what that thing is. No one's going to offer you a job or fellate you for having a high score in Donkey Kong or knowing the entire timeline of Game of Thrones.

Wear fitting clothes that you are proud of. Wear clothes you want to be seen in, do not wear clothes to hide in. I'm not saying you need to be flashy, what I'm saying is if you're using your clothes to hide your body, you need to improve your body, clothes will not change that.

Be aware of what you're eating. Convenient fast foods and readymade meals rule at college, but your bowels will tell you when you need to rebalance your nutritional intake. In other words, Taco Bell every night is out.
When I write, I tend to write a lot. Too much, really. If you've read this or skimmed it, thank you, and I hope it helps or gives you some things to ponder.

I will leave you with choice quotes from Daria [http://imgur.com/a/6RJcK], which say much more than I can much more succinctly.
This is probably the most worth-while post I have read in years here in The Escapist. Thank you for taking the time to write this, I really enjoyed reading through all of it. I will be going to university next year (I believe University begins at January/February here in Australia), and I can tell much of your advice will come in useful. Hell, I have already started to take steps to improve the state I am in. I will be auditioning as a pianist for Melbourne University, and to succeed as a pianist I can see it is necessary for me to eliminate much of the distractions around me.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write. I appreciate it.
 

Scarim Coral

Jumped the ship
Legacy
Apr 30, 2020
18,157
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Country
UK
-What college/university did you attend/are currently enroll?
I went to a university in England (no I ain't going to specify where in England).

-What did you major in/what are thinking of majoring in?
It was a 3D modelling degee (BA honour) again I'm not going to be specific.

-Related to the poll and initial question, how would the rate the experience? Was it a chance to grow as a person or was it all hyped up BS?
10/10 I definitely mature during my time in University as this is where I truly did gain my independant. It was awesome to lived on my own, eating what I want and getting up/ when to slepp when I want and most importantly I had new fantastic people who I can truly called as my friends.

-If you could do anything different, what would it be?
I was of soo had taken better care of my pc (I bought to used in Uni) and my rice cooker (I will never ever lend it to anyone else ever!).

-Any advice for a soon to be freshman?
Have fun as it won't last forever (you will graduate or quit years later) and finish your Uni work on time! You do NOT want to get stress out being late with your work or rushing it at the last minute!