1. Do you feel engaged i.e. energetic and interested in at least two of the courses you are currently enrolled in ?

Sometimes it takes time to develop an understanding of Uni and lectures and not all content is going to jump out and grab you. Learning is about being receptive and open – taking notes, stepping through the process. You don’t need to know everything right now. On the other hand, if you find that you can’t bring your self to attend your lectures and tutes, this is a clear warning sign. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Talk to some-one in your faculty  now. 

2. Did you choose your degree with your head (career opportunities and aspirations) or with your heart (what you know and love)?

Neither of these is wrong but research shows that we will do better studying more about what we already enjoy. However, University is all about learning new things and having a developmental mind set so don’t jump ship just yet. Think carefully about whether you’re ready to learn new subject matter and apply yourself. If you chose your degree based on whether you think you’ll get a job at the end, that might not be enough to sustain you through a three or four year program. Mix up your program by including at least one course that you really like and think you’ll do well at. 

3. Do you feel out of your depth already and can’t keep up?

Again, this is pretty normal in the first year as you adjust to a different style of learning. However, it’s a mistake not to acknowledge this so here’s what can help 

a) Get a tutor – ask for help.

b) Find a student who has studied the course prior to you and get some tips.

c) Start connected to the students in your lectures and tutes. They are probably feeling the same of as you. Networking and sharing your anxiety will make you feel better and you can help each other out.

4. Does the course build on your skills and expertise from high school?

This is definitely an indicator of how well you cope. I do advise students in Year 12 to build on the foundations they’ve already laid down. There is a saying “What you love you practise. What you practise you become.” The last sentence also applies to what you don’t love but it takes a lot more hard work.

5.Are you happy?

Essentially, this is the key question. If you find that you are dreading going to Uni each day, it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing. Make sure you tell some-one – a parent, support person. Now is the time to talk it over. There is no point spending money on something that does not support your well being and mental health. It’s okay not to know what you want to do. I say to students

“It’s not what you want to do that counts. It’s what kind of life you want to have and what sort of person you want to be.”

Everyone is different and there is no one right course of action  – just what you right for you right now.

If you need help contact Student Support on your campus OR send me your questions. I’ll  do my best to answer them – for free.