Why Is College So Hard? (Plus 7 Things To Do If You’re Struggling)

Why is college so hard? And what can you do to make it easier? In this article, we go over everything you need to know if you’re struggling in college right now.

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A person sitting indoors with their face covered by their hands in a gesture of stress or exhaustion, wearing a cozy beige sweater, suggesting a moment of overwhelm or concern, possibly related to academic or personal challenges.

College can be hard, even if you’re a straight-A student. There’s all this homework and studying, which can be overwhelming and stressful.

There are also so many social events to keep up with that it can be easy to fall behind.

It’s supposed to be a rewarding experience, but college can be a nightmare for many kids.

If you find yourself struggling with the whole college thing, read on to figure out how to get the most out of your college experience.

Common Reasons Why College Feels So Hard

Difficult Classes

College can feel difficult because the courses require a level of research and independent learning that students may not be used to.

Most school systems teach kids to memorize rather than theorize. Once students get to college, they’re expected to put in more research and original insights into their assignments.

And most students simply haven’t learned those skills yet. But don’t worry too much – these skills can be developed if you put in the work.

Social Changes

Another challenging aspect of college is the complicated social scene. It can feel like you’re starting from scratch with your friend groups and sense of community.

If you’re struggling socially in college, try joining extracurricular activities, get a job on campus, or try to get involved with some volunteering.

All of those settings are good places to meet likeminded people and hopefully develop friendships.

Lack Of Routine

Before college you probably didn’t have much control over your own schedule. And most school days looked pretty much the same.

When you’re in college you’re living on your own for the first time and are in charge of your own day. If you’re not careful, your life in college can feel disorganized and chaotic really quickly.

If a lack of routine is leading to problems for you, try to get back on a regular schedule. Use a planner to schedule out your days and try going to sleep around the same time every night.

This can make a huge difference in your overall well-being.

Poor Major Selection

If you choose a major that you’re not really interested in, it can ruin your college experience.

You’ll end up bored in your classes, assignments will take longer for you to complete, and college will just feel harder overall.

While each program has its challenges, you should try to choose one that aligns with your natural learning tendencies.

What To Do If You Are Struggling In College

An overhead view of a person at a desk, appearing stressed with one hand on their head, surrounded by a laptop displaying an editing program, notebooks, and a smartphone, indicative of a busy work or study environment.

Here are a few things you can do if you are struggling in college:

1. Seek Academic Support

If you’re feeling lost in the coursework, don’t hesitate to reach out to your campus’s academic support centers.

These places are goldmines for help, whether you need a tutor or just some advice on how to tackle a tough subject.

You can also visit your professor during their office hours to get help on their course. Professors set aside time each day to meet with students and address their concerns, so make sure you take advantage of that.

2. Set Up A Daily Routine

Balancing coursework, social life, and downtime can be tough.

Try setting up a structured daily schedule, making sure to factor in time for studying, completing assignments, and relaxing. It’ll help keep you on track without burning out.

3. Consider Your Course Load

If you’re feeling overburdened by all of your classwork, think about reducing your course load.

It’s better to take a little bit longer to finish your degree than to push yourself too hard and burn out.

4. Form Study Groups

Studying in groups is a great hack for increasing your productivity. Get together with classmates to share notes, discuss concepts, and study for exams.

It’ll help you to understand different perspectives and learn collaboratively.

5. Reassess Your Major

If you’re feeling bored or overly challenged in your classes, your major may just not be a good fit for you..

For example, if you’re a creative person but you choose a math major, you will probably end up hating your classes.

Try to switch to a major that better aligns with your learning style and interests. Reassessing and switching majors can help a lot if you’re struggling in your college courses.

6. Get Checked Out For Neurodivergence

You might have a hard time in college if you have ADHD or other neurodivergent conditions.

The college system is designed for neurotypical brains, and understanding this can help you strategize how you will deal with college life.

Work with a professional to get a diagnoses and a treatment plan. Getting this figured out can greatly improve your college experience.

7. Engage In Campus Activities

There are so many good reasons to get involved on campus. Participating in clubs, sports, or other groups helps you build a network of friends who can support you through tough times.

It’s also a great way to explore new interests or hobbies, which can be a refreshing change from academic pressures.

Plus, being involved in campus life can provide a sense of belonging and community, helping you feel more connected and less isolated during your college journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions most new college students often ask when struggling to adapt.

Does College Get Easier?

College gets easier if students give it enough time and positive energy.

Students generally settle into a routine, form social groups, and get acclimated to the course load as the years go on.

Which Year of College is the Hardest?

The first year of college is the hardest for productivity, getting things done, and feeling like you belong.

The final college year is the toughest for academics. The second year of college is often the easiest.

Is it Normal to Hate College?

It is perfectly normal to hate college initially.

However, if you keep hating the experience after your first year of college you should reassess your major or consider transferring schools.

There you have it – everything you need to know about why college is so hard and what you can do if you’re struggling.

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