The Woes of University Life

The Woes of University Life

I’m in my fifth and final year of university and I’m just so ready to be done with school. I’m tired of taking classes I don’t like, I’m tired of working on projects I hate, I’m tired of being forced to attend workshops where you just sit there and work on your own project by yourself (I can totally do that at home)…

I’m in a digital arts degree. In the first year it totally made sense for us to have to take a wide variety of classes (photography, film making, web design, programming, and 3D modeling). It gave us the opportunity to experiment and decide what we like and what we’re good at.

In my opinion, a good university would start out broad like that, and then allow you to specialize by the time you get to your final year. By now, I know what I’m good at, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. In my three years at this university, I have learned a few things:

  • I still love web design.
  • Filmmaking lectures make me fall asleep.
  • I HATE HATE HATE 3D modeling and animation. I never want to see it again.

And yet, in my third year, I’m still having to take a variety of pre-determined classes: digital effects (which combines filmmaking and 3D modeling), video game design, and managers & organizations. I feel like if my school were truly vocational, they would allow me to pick my area of expertise by my final year. Let me pick my classes! Let me take classes I actually like!

But instead, I’m forced to take classes I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE.

To be fair, my video game design class wouldn’t be half bad if:

  • I hadn’t already taken a video game design class 3 years ago.
  • The teacher didn’t hate every single popular video game in the world.

Seriously. My teacher is anti-mainstream video games, anti-popular video games, anti-conventional video games. So he basically says a big “fuck you” to all the millions of people who love anything that’s popular. I feel like he shouldn’t be allowed to teach a video game class if he hates all the popular video games in the world. >_<

I’m just so ready to be done with school. I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything useful in all my years here. In the classes I actually liked (programming, web design, etc.), I enjoyed them but I didn’t actually learn anything because I was already at a more advanced level than the classes. In the classes I didn’t like, sure I may have learned a few things, but I also learned that I hate those subjects and never want to touch them again.

I’m just ready to move on and get started on the next phase of my life!

Are you in university? How are you liking it?

If you’re not in university, will you be going? Do you know what you want to study?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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21 comments

  1. You just gave me things I’m going to ask people about for college, because I’m thinking of doing a double major in multimedia arts and marketing. I’m going to ask if I can determine what I would specialize in in later years.

    And now I just feel a little bad that I’m taking advantage of you situation. ><

    But yeah, I'm just scared. You told me to go with what I liked, but it's not really possible in the Philippines. I would be interested in publishing, but there's no publishing opportunities in the Philippines.

    1. Well keep in mind that every country and every university is different! In my university (and I think most across the UK) you don’t have a lot of choice in the classes you take. You’re given a pre-determined set of classes and that’s that.

      But every university is different and each country has a slightly different structure.

      So just because I have very little choice in the classes I take doesn’t mean it would be the same for you!

  2. Haha, we’ve all been there, love. You feel like you’re growing up, and you are, and still there’s people treating you like you’re 12, except they talk down on you in a way more formal language. I hated that about university. I’m very glad I’m done.
    Seriously, it’d’ve been better if I had stayed 2 more years for my masters degree, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore. In my 3,5 years, I had to listen to one and the same lecture THREE times, because there was only one teacher available to do it until my second to last semester, when I jumped on the opportunity to have someone else lecture, even if it meant boring me out of my mind.
    Good thing about “lecture only” classes were that you could get alot of reading done, because you weren’t forced to participate. I haven’t really picked up a magazine since then…

    Anyhoot, I know what you mean about not having a lot of options. My problem on that front was that I only studied English, so all the courses for the other languages weren’t available for me. But alot of those who studied more than one language still chose to sign up for the English courses coz they’d be easier — and that’s just crappy when people “steal” your spots, and those of us who have no choice get stuck with all the real crappy courses. GRR

    But you’ll have ti over with soon. Hang in there, and hope that one day GB will catch up to the 21st century as well. πŸ˜›

    Caro @ The Book Rogue recently posted: In Her Shoes ~19~ .:. Sia Holloway
  3. Whoo, final year! As tedious as it’s getting for you stick through it, you’re almost there!

    I’ve just finished my first year of uni and for the most part, I really enjoy it. I’m studying veterinary science (a 5 year degree like yours) and don’t really ever get to choose my own subject because we need to know how to do everything for all species. Lots to know, fortunately I find it interesting. And our last years is placement rotations, where we get to work in actual clinics and stuff which’ll be fun.

    Study can get tedious though, and some of the lecturers just can’t make content interesting no matter how they deliver it (Most lecturers are great, but there’s one or two whose lectures I can’t focus in no matter what I do). Some classes are really good, and our pracs/dissections are usually fun (except histology, which is the most boring thing on the planet).

    Bec @ Ransom Reads recently posted: Aristocrat's Ransom: Pawn
  4. I got my BS in Business a few years back and it had its ups and downs. I got to pick some of my classes and most of them I loved (except economics and accounting). But my problem has always been teachers. I have run into so many horrible teachers. My Law teacher only gave girls C’s and B’s and boys A’s. And I am not joking at all. He was a sexiest. I had straight A’s on the tests and homework assignments and he gave me a B in the class. You can imagine the hell I raised. And the first B I ever got on a paper, I asked the teacher what was wrong with it and how I could improve it since he left no notes. He said “It was just a B paper” WOW, stupid mofos need to stop teaching if they hate it that much.

    Anyways. Now I am back in school for web design and I love it just as much as business. I have always been a school person. I just like to learn and challenge myself. But I still have trouble with teachers even now.

    Happy to hear your are almost done!!!

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Review: Naturals by Tiffany Truitt
  5. I will be starting university next year in September, I am 21 and I’ve finally figured out I want be an English major and hopefully work any way I can in the publishing industry. I have secret dreams of being an author whether I have the talent or not is something I’m still figuring out. But I definitely want to work in the industry with my loving books <33 It sucks that you can't take the classes that you want. I really hope I get a good uni experience πŸ™‚

  6. I am having a similar problem with my Digital Film Technology degree. I love the Cinematography and Editing side of things but I despise doing the Animation and 3D Modelling side of things. Like 3/4 of my class went onto the degree already knowing how to use Blender and Flash so they didn’t bother teaching the 1/4 of us that didn’t so for 3 years now I’ve painstakingly sat through those lessons doing basically nothing. I wish I could focus more on things I like doing and want to learn about or actually wouldn’t mind going home and making an effort to find out more about rather than just sitting there doing nothing but I don’t even like 3D enough to bother trying to learn it in my own time and they won’t let us focus on one thing for our final year. I’m just happy my degree is only 3 years not 5, no wonder you are so annoyed! Who needs 5 year of doing the same thing?

  7. Speaking as someone not attending a University, but as someone who has spent the last 10 years working in one and running various programs, I can understand where you are coming from.

    However, something that a lot of student’s don’t consider are accreditation requirements that a certain program has to meet and adhere to that force the curriculum to be structured in a certain way. Sometimes those requirements are set out by outside professional bodies and governments and it ends up leaving the actual school/department very little flexibility in terms of designing curriculum.

    I myself ran a couple of Engineering Programs and I can’t tell you how many times I heard this same complaint from my students, but due to mandated accreditation requirements, my hands were tied. It definitely is something that impacted the overall student experience very heavily. All I can say is hang in there. It will be so worth it when you are done and can have a bonfire with the textbooks for all of the classes that you didn’t like and had no interest in!

    Nicole @ Nicole About Town recently posted: Anywhere But Here by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
    1. I think it goes to show that something in our system is seriously broken.

      For example, I am doing digital arts. When I get a job, employers want someone who SPECIALIZES in one area. They want someone massively good at animation, or someone massively good at modeling, or someone massively good at filmmaking… etc. They don’t want someone who’s “okay” at all of them. They want someone who specializes in ONE.

      And yet, by forcing me to take a variety of classes (instead of specializing) my university sends me out into the world as a “jack of all digital trades”. That leaves me ill equipped to deal with a real working environment, which university is supposed to prepare you for.

      If it is indeed outside bodies/governments forcing the school to teach a variety of classes instead of being able to specialize, then it needs to be fixed at that level!

      And although I’d certainly enjoy school more if I could pick my own classes, I think the main point here is that if you teach students in a way that employers don’t follow (learning all areas, instead of focusing on one) then you’re leaving students seriously unprepared for the job market.

      1. Oh, I totally agree.

        That is the same feedback we get from Employers. The sad part is, that sometimes, Employers are also on the accreditation boards and help set the requirements in such a contrary way it’s not even funny. I can’t tell you how many times I had to offer a supplemental CAD class because while it was touched on in the curriculum, it wasn’t detailed or specialized enough for what the students need out in the field. They were going out on their work experience year lacking the depth they needed. It drives me up the flippin’ wall.

        Hang in there!

  8. Ugh, college. I was supposed to graduate next year but because I kept failing almost all of my classes for, like, two years, now I’ll finish on 2015 if I don’t fail anything else. I try so hard but ugh, Math! I’m taking up computer engineering and I seriously doubt we’re gonna use Integral Calculus and whatnot for work. It sucks. Good thing I enjoy the programming part or I’d have no reason to stick to this.

  9. Oh man, hipster professor! That sucks! LoL

    I graduated last September and miss college terribly! I loooooved it! I only had a handful of truly required classes, but for my major (Environmental Science Management with a focus on Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conservation; mouth full!) had a TON of options. I took a lot of extra classes too, because I had to do an extra year since one of my required classes kept getting cancelled or conflicted with another (there was another option but that class cost $10,000 EXTRA because it was a field class and you had to live on site for the summer). I just love learning new things and how they can be applied to my field (pretty much everything can, which is a plus).

    I had plans on going to grad school immediately, but my program requires 2-3 years of working experience in lab/research, since it’s extremely competitive. Sooo…finding a job is hard. πŸ˜›

  10. Our system is a bit different here. We have several degrees of study you can pick from. It varies from MBO, HBO to University (you can’t just go there, there are some requirements) I am studying on HBO level, because I didn’t like focus of the University on my study (they have a research approach and I’m more into the medical aspect.) Our first year we had two different things to choose from, second year many required classes and now in my third year I picked a specialization and I’m loving it πŸ™‚ I have to follow required classes now, but for the last half year I got to choose my own minor (and almost everything is allowed), so that’s pretty cool.

    It’s so annoying that you are forced to take so many classes you don’t enjoy! And being a video game teacher who hates almost everything is strange..

    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted: Epic Recs: December.
  11. I graduated from college in May, so I haven’t been out very long(six months! Which seems crazy enough on its own). I would HATE to have had so many of cmy classes pre-determined. I started college as an English literature major, and while my first year was mainly the basic classes everyone was required to take(government, a really easy math class, a lab science, things like that), I did manage to fit in a few English classes.

    And I really disliked them. That saddened me, because I loved to read, and I really do love actually analyzing literature. But the classes were just never a great fit. So over the summer, I thought about my major a lot, and what I would want to change. It seems silly now, but I was scared of changing at the time. Even though I wasn’t enjoying my lit classes, I couldn’t think of NOT being an English major–it was what I had always wanted to major in. At the start of my sophomore Fall, I switched to a Professional Writing degree. It was still in the English department, and I had to take three more literature classes, but most of my classes focused on writing. The way my degree worked was that there were three or four classes in four different areas, and I had to take one from each area, plus a few basics everyone in the program had to take, as well as a part-time internship my senior year. Sometimes it was stressful, but I was always glad I had made the switch.

    I think the main reason I loved my classes so much was that they were practical. For all my writing classes, we had to do projects, and we had to partner with business or nonprofits in the community to do them. We were writing things that people actually needed to use, and it was useful. Even in the classes I disliked(which weren’t very many), that always kept me focused, so I can see how it would be difficult to have to take classes that are pointless for you.

  12. I admire you for sticking with it! I went to a community college for I think 3 years and I got so burnt out I quit going. I was dropping classes and failing classes (I don’t apply myself at ALL – I’m lazy and half the time don’t do my homework) and it was just a waste of money. I hated it so much that I didn’t feel like trying, and I got to the point that I wasn’t even going to class when I was supposed to be. It’s sad, but I just suck at forcing myself to do anything I don’t want to do that I’m not getting paid for….
    As for the professor, he would hate me because my faves are Black Ops and Skyrim. I’d have told him to suck it haha! ;p

    Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Review: The Moth in the Mirror by A.G. Howard
    1. Oh my god that is TOTALLY me! I also suck at forcing myself to do things I don’t want to do >_< It's such a massive effort to pull myself out of bed to attend stupid lectures that I hate. Then I put off all my projects because I really really don't like doing them! Lol. But then when it's a web design class, I finish the project in the first week because I actually enjoy it.

      I feel like I'm just not made for school.. lol.

      1. I’m not made for school either, baha! I literally do not write papers. Ever. I’ll sit and stare at the screen, and after a few hours of coming up with nothing, I’m like, “Fuck it, dude. I’m done!” Then I fail the class because the paper counted for 25% of my grade -___-
        I’d love to take a web design class! I just can’t afford school right now though…

        Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently posted: Heartbeat Weekly (6)
  13. It’s my first time visiting your blog (I clicked on your Sequel & Prequel Challenge sign-up link) and I have to say that I’m a fan already! My husband and some friends and I were just discussing this EXACT TOPIC over dinner last night! All of us have some type of post-secondary experience, whether it be college or university, and we all had similar feelings of the whole experience being a series of hoop-jumping, with the ultimate goal of that (rather expensive) sheet of paper — the degree.

    Personally, I have a BA that took me five years and, although I likely won’t use most of the subject material I learned in school, I did learn a lot of valuable skills along the way. I think my multi-tasking skills and ability to perform under pressure were definitely enhanced by my post-secondary experience. Now, after having completed that degree and then trying (and failing) at doing a post-degree teaching program, I’m now doing an online Library & Information Technology program and LOVING IT. Online learning is completely different than in-class learning, and I really love this learning environment. Most importantly, it’s cut out on the wasted classroom time, listening to a professor drone on and on. I can pop online when it’s convenient for me, post to the discussion forum and engage with my classmates. We still have assignments with deadlines, so it’s not self-paced (I did one class like that — ended up doing all the assignments and the exam in one week … oops!) I’ve been taking one course per semester since the fall of 2009 and, after this semester is over, will have 4 classes left. It’s been lots of fun!

    Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads recently posted: 2014 Sequel & Prequel Challenge
    1. Thank you Melissa! πŸ˜€

      What a coincidence that you were also just discussing it!

      I think you make a good point about online classes. I imagine they would be a better fit for me! I’m glad they’re going well for you. πŸ™‚

  14. I’m finishing up my Master’s degree in English Literature, and while I still love my studies in general I’m also ready to be finished. Hopefully this summer, if I can finish my MA thesis in time. I was freer in what classes I wanted to take, especially during the MA, but I don’t really like my minor and just… I don’t know. It’s been nearly 6 years. I’m ready for a change. Maybe it’s also thaat I don’t study full time like I did during my BA and feel less immersed and connected to university life.
    I can definitely see how it would suck to have to take so many classes you dislike and already be at a more advanced level with those you do like! Kind of makes it feel like the piece of paper that says you’ve gone to a certain school is more important than your actual abilities. You should stick it out, though. It’s not that much longer and you’ll come into the terrifying enjoyment of post-uni life πŸ˜‰
    I for one, am also really afraid of being ‘cut loose’…

  15. I had a similar teacher like your Video Game Design prof. But he made an off-handed snark remark about an in-law family member who had a degree/diploma. And wound up sticking his foot further in his mouth when he basically said it wasn’t worth anything. Which little to his naivety he was teaching a classroom full of diploma bound students. Needless to say, he did not teach us our English (second year). He knew what class we were all part of yet still managed to ruffle our feathers.
    You’re almost done and even though, right now, it may not feel like a course might be what you wanted, but you just never know. You might need it some day.

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