“Dear Brescia Blogger,
I’m a first year student and after a semester of work I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t like the program I’m in. I took similar courses in high school that I really liked and excelled at, however my current courses are really hard. I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that I have to memorize and understand. I feel left behind by my peers and I am struggling to find motivation to keep up with my studies. I need advice.
Dear Seriously Struggling,
This is totally understandable position. Many people have experienced this, even people in their last year. University is about self discovery. You come here to learn not just about the program you are in but also about yourself. If you ask any advisor, your first year is about having those 5 credits, all different courses, no more than 1 credit in the same courses. This is because in your first year you’re more likely to change your mind than any other year. During high school, I absolutely hated the subject that is now my program in university. Once I got to university, by pure chance I was put into this course, but after the first semester I realized I loved it. So, my second year I changed my program to this program. As a recommendation, at least course and program wise, I would say book an appointment with your academic advisor, through the Hive, or the online booking website. Here, you can talk to your advisor about your current program and discuss your options. Or, if your have an idea about what program you would like to switch into, they can discuss that program in detail with you and about how to switch over to that program.
However, the second part of this question was about your lost love of the program, and how you’re struggling. One tidbit of advice from my perspective: even when you love your program, you can sometimes hate it with a passion. When you finally pick your program, you search for something you love but also will challenge you, just keep this in mind throughout the year when it gets this hard.
I think the best way to overcome struggles with your program is to use the resources Western and Brescia give you. You can even find resources within your classes; your peers are your friends. You can start a study group, where you can find help with your big questions, and you might find you are able to answer some questions others have. Teaching others is a great way to learn the material for yourself. Through Facebook groups, creating study groups is surprisingly easy. Alternatively, you can always talk to your professor, who is there to help. If you are just looking for review or follow-up, I recommend finding things you don’t understand or questions you have about prior assignments and ask about them during office hours.
My last piece of advice is to take a step back from time to time and examine where you are in your university career. You may find that you love your program, but you’re getting bogged down by the coursework. Maybe the program you had your heart set on when you entered university is just not the best fit. Whatever the case, you need to take time to examine your situation and determine what your next move should be. After all, university is also for learning about yourself; struggles like these are part of that journey, and working through them in your own way is helping you build your future.
All my best,
The Brescia blogger