Maybe all of your friends seem to have more money than you do for socializing, while you're on a strict budget. Or you are set on being an English major, but your school is making you take at least two math classes. You thought going away to university would afford you more freedoms, but there still seem to be a lot of rules.
You're not alone with your frustrations. Here's a list of 7 of the most common college complaints - and what immediate steps you can take to resolve them:
1. Required Courses
That came up a lot at Notre Dame, along with the two required Philosophy courses. Please, please, please understand - if your school has any kind of religious affiliation, you will have to take these courses. Know it, accept it, move on.
Now what about the more common, and quite annoying, requirements of taking classes completely outside of the realm of your major and general academic interests?
Well, let's start by being honest with ourselves. Take me, for example. Give me any writing-based class and I'm happy. Tell me to take a math or science class, and I'm miserable. Why? Cause I'm just not very good at numbers. If you are peeved about a required course, ask yourself if you could stand to get extra help that might make the courseload a little more tolerable.
Finally, exercise some some good choices over the aspects you do have control over. Choose a professor who is funny, or a class time that lets you sleep in. And go out of your way to make friends, so at least you have someone to commiserate with after class.
2. The Food
Some easy fixes for this one: if you can budget a certain amount for food, organize a weekly or monthly carpool to a grocery store and buy food you enjoy. If there isn't a way to cook food in your room, plenty of dorms have kitchens available. See if your friends are up for weekly dinners, where you each cook something for the meal.
Look for any openings with your favorite food place on or around campus - free or discounted menu items are usually a perk of being an employee.
Get creative in the dining hall. Don't just grab the slice of pizza if you are tired of it. Wait in line for the prepared food (like stir fry) or create your own master sandwich or salad combo. Try breakfast for dinner. Mix it up.
That's ok. Go ahead and dislike her all you want. The goal is to co-exist functionally. Ask if she can see her boyfriend at his room sometimes, or tell her you need the room to be a quiet study space for 2 hours a night on weeknights.
Divide up the chores. If she still doesn't do them, do your share and ignore her mess, lest she think the Cleaning Fairy continues to keep the room in order.
And if you're living with someone randomly assigned to you - take heart. This ends after a year.
If your roommate truly makes you uncomfortable or makes you feel unsafe, take the issue to your R.A. or the Housing Office. Transfers can be arranged in appropriate cases.
4. Feeling Isolated
Feeling isolated due to a perceived lack of diversity on campus or not finding people with compatible interests and personalities is a matter of not meeting the right people. Find a club or organization (or start your own) to meet like-minded friends, or get a job on or around campus to broaden your social network.
By finding a solid group of friends to ground yourself at school, the campus's size and / or remote location won't seem so overwhelming.
5. Nothing To Do For Fun
If you don't like bars, stop spending your nights there and organize a movie night or a bowling outing with your friends. If you are tired of sitting in your room in the evenings, join an intramural sports team, volunteer organization, or club.
Suggest activities for your friends if they seem unmotivated to get out. Organize a day trip to a local site on the weekend if you're feeling stifled on campus.
Get out of your room. There is, actually, plenty to do.
6. Too Flippin' Expensive
If your friends like to do expensive activities, suggest alternatives so that you can still go out together but nobody is asking you to put $60 towards one meal at the trendy new sushi bar.
And if they are really your friends, you can always be honest with them about your budgetary restrictions. I had to turn down some invitations while I was in school, and earned a little extra cash for pocket money by working one (sometimes two) extra jobs a semester.
7. Difficult Classes And Professors
So what do you do? Start finding help and instead of silently drowning in bad grades. Talk with your TA's and professors, make appointments with the campus tutoring center, hire a private tutor or enlist a friend's assistance, and keep doing the work. Not understanding an assignment is not a valid excuse for not doing the work.
Work with an academic advisor to discuss how to lighten your workload next semester by spreading out your more challenging classes evenly over your time remaining there, or see if there are alternative classes or major options that might be a better fit for your interests and talents.