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Old 10-21-2005, 06:04 PM   #1
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I can't cope

This place has been a big help to me in the past and once again i need your help.
I've just started at university and as the title mite suggest, Im struggling to cope.
I've been here for a month now and have really hit a low. I'm studying medicine, a massive step up from A levels that im used to. It's a 5 yr course and every time i think of the amount of work i have to do I m filled with dread. So far things haven't gone well. I hardly speak during tutorials which is supposed to get noted by tutors. I dont know what sort of notes Im supposed to be making and we're given no help. I can;t turn to fellow students as they dont seem to be very receptive to me and this is all exacerbated by the fact that despite all the pressure, I find it difficult to sit down to the work.
I don't have any real friends here...sure i can talk quite amicably with people here, but theres no one who i can have a proper conversation with and connect with. So now all I feel is lonely, depressed and worried sick all the time.
I cried for the first time in ages tonight...please help me someone
I dread waking up every morning

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Old 10-21-2005, 10:36 PM   #2
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I'm afraid I can't give you any well earned advice becuase I'm only in the last year of high school. I find it hard to make friends because I'm really shy around people I don't know though. But what I have found is that the friends I do make are there forever. I wouldn't worry about that part too much, you sound pretty cool to me and I think it will come with time. Don't think about the work that will come, just look at one day at a time. Thats the only way I'm managing to come with the Higher School Certifilate (what we have in Aus).

Try not to stress to much, and of course listen to more U2...everyone goes through shit times, how you deal with it reflects on the person you are...and you will come out a much stronger person for it.

Good luck with everything, I hope you feel happier soon.

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Old 10-22-2005, 12:53 AM   #3
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Yes, taking it one day at a time will help. And also, aren't there some counselors and stuff for your university? They get paid for a reason; find some people out that can help you with what you need to overcome, and improve yourself with their help.

You're an investment to the university, so ought to have some people who are there to help you out and reach your goals.
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:05 AM   #4
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The only advice that comes to mind is .. take your time, don´t take your studies too serious.

Try to establish communication with professors. I know that it is very different from school. At school teachers are supposed to help you, at uni, they are not. You will have to do it all by yourself, and with medicine, it´s not going to be a picknick.

One possibility is to talk to the profs academically. So when they tell you "read this and this paper", and it seems to be an interesting topic, ask them questions where you can find some more material about that. They´ll probably tell you two or three other authors. Research the publications in the library. Don´t bother to read it all. Skip through them so you get an idea what they say (read the abstracts).

Check your professors (academic) publications. It can´t hurt if you know what they wrote. Usually, professors reserve one or two hours per week where students can chime in (their bureau/room) and ask them questions, etc. Always ask your (specific) questions before of a course, or after a course, or in those hours.

As to friends, find out where they hang out. if they´re all arrogant in your opinion, try to look for a higher grade. And don´t you have student representation? Here, we have and they meet once a week for a coffee and to discuss the changes, profs at the institute, exams, etc. etc. Look out if you got sth. alike, maybe you can even get involved in uni politics if this is your interest.

Also, take into account that it´s just been a month. You will get used to it. Prepare well for the exams, but don´t freeze when you don´t pass. Some studies, like law and medicine, have to "filter out" the best students because there are so many. Personally, I have never failed an exam, but if that would have happened, I would just repeat it. Uni-Professors are known for not reading the papers of their students.

You don´t really have to worry, see? Nobody will push you. The bad thing is, you have to do it all by yourself. No one´s gonna be even remotely interested whether you finish your studies or not. You are an adult, so you are responsible for it. The good thing is, you can do it all by yourself, at your own pace, choosing your own courses, specialize in the fields you want.

Good luck!
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Old 10-22-2005, 02:30 AM   #5
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Two things -

Think of the course units individually. Concentrate on the ones you are studying at the moment and don't think about the units to follow.

They're will be people on campus you can relate to, you just need to find them. Judging by your username youre a Trekkie, yes? There should be a Star Trek club on campus. If there isn't there'll be an ANIME or something else scifi/fantasy related. Ask Student Services, or whatever it's called on your campus, for a list of clubs. Guilds quite often have clubs too, might pay to ask them as well.

Also, Student Services should provide free or cheap counselling. If you are having difficulties settling in to your course, academically and/or socially, a counsellor may be of assistance. (Preferably Troi )
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Old 10-22-2005, 06:20 AM   #6
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Your uni should have counselors as well as a learning skills/resources support service which can help with note taking and the academic side of things (at the university where I work that's part of the Dean of Students' office, but it's probably called something different where you are). Beli's advice about finding organizations to join is also good.

Being depressed and worried can make it almost impossible to concentrate. I had the same problem when I came to the UK to do an MA two years ago. I didn't know anyone and didn't feel like I could relate to any of the other students on my course. I was really, really depressed (as my numerous embarrassing posts here during that time can attest!) and it took me hours just to write a paragraph because I was having so many problems concentrating. I was even doing quite well in my modules, but I felt like it was just a fluke because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It's good that you're realising this a month in because you have plenty of time to get it sorted.
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Old 10-22-2005, 07:19 AM   #7
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I'm sorry that you're not feeling well. I'm at uni in the UK as well, and though I don't do medicine I can relate to what you're feeling.

Don't give up. That's the first thing I'd say. It's too easy to concede defeat in situations like this. Try and talk to someone. I'm sure all universities have counselors - your departmental tutors might be a good place to start, as they've most likely dealt with many medical students who have struggled initially.

I presume you miss your life before university - don't lose touch with the people/things that made that time of your life what it was. Try and talk to your friends from school or home or your family.

I understand what you mean by missing 'a connection' with someone. That takes time, unfortunately. But it will happen. Try not to get too upset about it. In the interim, try keeping yourself busy, doing things you enjoy - going to the movies, taking walks, gym, whatever.

If you're feeling depressed, try and make some time to get away and things which make you happy.. listening to U2 is always a good start . Being depressed and still attempting to work isn't much use in my experience. It'll be impossible to concentrate and get anything done and you'll end up feeling worse at the end for not having done anything.

Start a blog or journal maybe - that's sometimes a useful outlet, if you don't have anyone to talk to your problems about. And most of all, remember that your first month at uni isn't going to set a pattern for the remaining years. There's a lot of time to get things sorted. So things will get better, even if it doesn't seem like it right now.

All the best.
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:32 AM   #8
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Re: I can't cope

First of all, have a since you sound like you need one.

Starting a university course is a huge step for anyone - as you noticed it's very different to A Levels in terms of both the amount of work and the amount of support and advice you can expect from your lecturers. But, don't forget that everyone is in the same boat and the people assessing your work are aware of this and won't judge your work by such high standards as they will later in your course when you've had chance to settle in to university and adjust to the different expectations. In other words - don't think that just because you're finding it hard to adjust to the different demands of university you're going to fail or do badly at your course - you're not, everyone on your course will be feeling the same way and you'll all adjust and get used to university-level study soon enough.

If you're really struggling with academic expectations then talk to someone in your department about it. Do you have a personal tutor system at your university? If so then try talking to your personal tutor about your concerns. Or maybe you have a course director or year director who you could speak to? If you're not sure who to talk to then go to the general office/secretary for your department and ask who you should talk to. Or if you're not comfortable doing that then just wait at the end of a tutorial and speak to the tutor about your concerns. They'll be used to first year students having difficulties with the course and they'll be more than willing to help you and offer advice.

Now, what you said about not yet having real friends at university - again, that's what everyone goes through when they go to uni for the first time. You'll only have been at uni for a few weeks or perhaps a month at this point, right? You can't expect to have best friends already - it's all about gradually getting to know people and eventually you'll start to get closer to your friends. If you try comparing friendships made at uni to those at home you're going to feel like you have no friends because you've had your friends at home for years and yet you've known people at uni for only a few weeks. It gets better, I promise - when I came to uni I spent weeks sitting in my room alone at night feeling like I'd never get to know people and yet now I have an amazing group of friends, both people who I know are there when I need to talk to them and people who I can just go out and get drunk with. You might feel alone now, but I promise that later this term or the start of next term you'll be amazed at all the new people you've met and made friends with.

Are you living in a hall of residence? If so you might want to see if they organise any kind of social activities where you could meet new people. Alternatively go to your students union/guild of students/whatever else it's called and find out what sort of clubs and societies are available for you to join, then just go along to a meeting and talk to people. I'm involved in numerous student societies and I can promise you'll be welcome at any club or society you go along to - people are always happy to see a new person turn up for the first time and you'll be made very welcome. And besides, student societies normally follow up their meetings with a quick trip to the pub so there's another opportunity to get to know people.

On the feeling depressed all the time - firstly, there will definitely be a counselling service at university you can seek help from if you think that would help you. Again, the students union will help you with this - have a look on their website and see if they give information about a student advice department or student services department and then you can call in/phone/email to ask to speak to someone who can help you. You can also go to see your GP if you feel they would be more helpful to you. Your students union might also run some sort of helpline which you could phone if you just need someone to talk to - again have a look at their website or ask the student advice department for details.

Even if you don't feel that you want to speak to a counsellor or anything, there are plenty of things you yourself can do to help you feel better. Try setting aside an afternoon when you tell yourself you won't do any work you're just going to do something which you enjoy and makes you happy - maybe that's watching your favourite film, reading your favourite book, playing a musical instrument, listening to some good CDs - whatever you enjoy. Just try doing something nice for yourself - maybe buy yourself a CD you've been wanting for ages or buy yourself a meal from your favourite takeaway or call a friend from home for a good long chat. Anything which might give you chance to forget about your problems with university for a few hours and make you feel a little bit happier afterwards.

Anyway, god I've rambled on for hours here. I hope some of this was vaguely helpful. If you ever need someone to chat to about any university stuff feel free to PM or email me anytime. I've been at uni over three years now and I honestly know how difficult it can be to adjust to university, but I also know that once you've had chance to settle in and get used to everything you can have a fantastic time as a student. So...take care of yourself, try not to worry too much and try talking to student advice/your department/students union - all of them will have years of experience of helping students and they'll be able to offer you some good advice about improving your experience of university. Good luck with everything, and have another for good measure.

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Old 10-22-2005, 01:31 PM   #9
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Thanks you guys...I've spent all afternoon at the library so I feel quite satisfied that I've done some good solid work. Now I'm giving myself the evening off to relax and do what I want to do. I'm just gonna take it a day at a time and see how things go...
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Old 10-22-2005, 06:39 PM   #10
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Into the heart of a child...
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Old 10-24-2005, 11:13 PM   #11
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I've so been there-I recently started grad school & it sucked for like the first 3 months. Doing research & upper level classes & being surrounded by PhD students who make you feel like Igor the lab tech makes for some major low self-esteem. There are 2 things that got me through: gym & Guinness Gyming just makes you feel good-I started running & lifting weight since I had no one to hang out with. For the first week it sucked, but after that it was & still is awesome. Plus it just makes you feel sexier. This lead to step 2 of my program-Guinness. PhD students didn't spend half their lives in college & not learn how to drink. Ask some kids out to lunch, beer, whatever-especially after difficult exams or anything whine-worthy. Some of the best friends I have now were made over a pint-sloshing-whining session at a local pub. Just don't let it get you down-you're obviously intelligent enough to get in the school, so rock it like you've got a pair! Hope everything goes better for you-just listen to Mofo every morning, then make the day yours.

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