I Hate My Degree, What Should I Do; 9 Practical Options

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Not everyone loves university. For some, it is hard work.

In the below post, I’m going to through some of the things you can do if you hate your degree:

  • Talk to your lecturers/tutors
  • Speak to ex graduates
  • Explore the option of switching degrees
  • Make a list of things you like and don’t like
  • List out your options, costs and consequences
  • Talk to some final year students
  • Make a study group
  • Ask yourself if you are enjoying university itself
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people
  • Don’t be afraid of dropping out

I Hate My Degree – 1)Talk To Your Lecturers/Tutors

Don’t just suffer alone. 

Instead of talking to your friends or your parents, speak to your lecturers/tutors and heads of year.

They will have helped so many people who are in exactly the same boat as you over the years. 

Lots of people in your university every year will ‘hate’ their course, lots of people every year will drop out, switch courses, and switch universities.

Tap into how people have overcome the exact same problem before you. Find out what their solutions were.

I Hate My Degree – 2) Talk To Ex Graduates

I think many students think that what they do for their degree will form the basis of what they do for their careers.

This is absolutely not true.

People with science degrees can end up as investment bankers, or start up CEO’s. Artists can end up as marketing directors.

You may hate your degree right now, but what it is just a stepping stone to something else?

Search for your degree and your university on LinkedIn, then find some alumni who did the same degree as you, but are working in a very different field now.

Send them a message and say you are struggling with degree and can you ask them about their career path and how much they have used their degree in their careers.

If you have a chat with 3-5 of these people, I think you will quickly see that your degree becomes not that important once you get out into the working world.

They will also be able to tell you the varied career paths of some of their friends from their course, and how their job now is so very different to what they studied at university.

Graduate Salaries UK

I Hate My Degree – 3) Explore Option Of Switching To A Different Degree

My sister started a computer science degree and absolutely hated it. At the end of the first year she transferred to Philosophy and loved the final two years of her course.

It will be different depending on the individual case and university. However, if you can show you have explored every other option and still are having a really rough time with your course, then hopefully the university could accommodate a request to change courses.

If you are trying to transfer into a course with the capacity to take on students, and you get your request in early hopefully you should be ok.

Transferring to a very competitive course like medicine may be a different story.

Maybe university isn’t for you, have you considered taking the apprenticeship route? If not check out my post on The Different Types Of Apprenticeships

I Hate My Degree – 4) Make A List Of Pros And Cons

Sit down with a pen and paper and write down all the things you like and don’t like about the course.

Be absolutely honest with yourself. Don’t try and game your list and make the cons side much longer than the pros side.

If there are things, i.e. people, subjects, practical time, that you like about your course put them down.

Once you have your list, for each item you have noted down as a ‘con’, ask yourself what could you do to make it better.

For example, if you hate one of your modules:

  • Could you ask for help from one of the tutors
  • Form a study group with some of your friends who are good at that module
  • Tell the lecturer exactly what is giving you difficulty and ask their advice
  • Take an online course that will give you a broader knowledge of the subject
  • Ask a student in the year ahead of you for their advice

For each con, brainstorm a list of possible things you could do to turn the negatives things on your list into a positive.

Don’t be afraid to ask people for advice. Tell them your problem and see if they have any advice that is different from possible solutions you have come up with.

Make sure to ask for a few people’s advice.

If you only get one person’s advice it might be bad. You need to ask several people for advice, the people who give you good advice will often say the same thing.

I hate my degree; pros, and, cons

I Hate My Degree – 5) Make A List Of Your Options, Costs And Consequences

Some people can be afraid to make a decision because it looks bad in the short term or they are worried about what people will think.

List out all your possible options on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet, then make two columns beside them. One detailing the ‘cost’, and the second detailing the ‘consequences’

For example, let’s say you hate your degree and you have four possible options.

  1. Continue with course
  2. Drop out
  3. Switch degrees
  4. Take a year out

Put down the associated costs and consequences related to each option. 

For example:

  1. Continuing with your course might cost you no money right now, but what if you continue and want to drop out at the end of your second year, you may have wasted more money and time.
  2. Dropping out may mean you have to incur more costs in the short term, but maybe you could work for a year to save up again for university, be much happier in that year, and start afresh in a course you really love? Or maybe university isn’t for you and you do an apprenticeship?

Try to think with the end in mind.

What do you want in 3 or 5 years? If you keep doing what you’re doing right now are you on track to achieve it? If not, then maybe you are better off in the short term making a change, even if it’s an uncomfortable decision.

Don’t just take the easy way out. Sometimes you need short term pain for long term gain.

I hate my career: short term gain for long term pain

Ever wonder how long it takes to get fully qualified in the most popular professions? It can be a lot longer than you think! Check out my How Long Does It Take To Become A…

I Hate My Degree – 6) Talk To Some Final Year Students

In the first few years of university, what you are doing can seem pointless and boring. You have to go to lectures and do assignments that you think are a waste of time.

The final year of university courses are often very different to first and second year. There is more practical and real world application of the material you are learning. 

People who work in the field come and talk to you about jobs and career prospects. In some industries final year students will apply for internships and graduate programmes.

If you hate your degree, ask your lecturers, class reps, or students union if there are any final year students you could talk to? Ask them about their job applications, career plans, etc.

They will be able to give you a fresh perspective on what is important and not important in your current year. They can also guide you on interesting internships and companies to work for.

I did an internship and a graduate programme and both could not have been more different to what I studied in my degree. 

Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in short term thinking and feel you hate a class, module, year, etc. Fresh perspective from final year students will help you see how it is merely a small part in a much much bigger journey.

I hate my degree; perspective quote

I Hate My Degree – 7) Make A Study Group

If you have issues with a particular subject / module, then try to get some help from your fellow students.

Ask your lecturers if there is anyone particularly strong in a subject that would be willing to form a little study group.

I had a little group in university of 3-4 students who were way smarter than me who I asked questions of all the time. I tried to provide them with value in return by giving them tips I got from other students. 

If you can get a little mastermind group going, it can make your life so much easier. Sometimes you can think you are no good at a subject or topic, but you are just going about it the wrong way. 

students, education, school

I Hate My Degree – 8) Are You Enjoying University In General?

If you are commuting long hours every day to and from university, you may be missing out on some of the university experience. 

If it just like a job to you, with lots of work, long hours and stress but none of the social fun aspect of university then this can be a big factor in your hating your course.

Try to join some societies and clubs to take your mind off your studies and give you time to relax and enjoy yourself instead of worrying about your course.

Picture of group of people at work

I Hate My Degree – 9) Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Your friends might say they love their courses, but they might just be saying that. Also, they might actually love the friends they made in their courses and not the material itself.

Some people might say they are getting on fine, but are actually struggling and won’t admit it. Others might say they fine the course material easy, but are sinking lots of hours into understanding it every day.

You never know what is really going on with someone, you just have your perspective, so don’t pay any attention to anyone else, just focus on you. 

I hate my degree: don't compare yourself to others

I Hate My Degree – 10) Don’t Be Afraid Of Dropping Out

One of my best friends dropped out of civil engineering after one week. He then went home and worked in a bar for a year while we were all having a great time in our 1st year of university.

I remember everyone being quite surprised he dropped out and that he did it so early on. The next year he started a 3-year business degree in the same university and he is now the CFO of a major property company. 

Don’t think that you are a ‘failure’ by dropping out and starting over again, plenty of the most successful people in the world have also done the exact same thing. 

If you don’t want to drop out, really ask yourself what is the reason behind this?

To do this, use the 5 Why’s exercise – ask yourself ‘why’ for each reason you give behind not wanting to drop out. 

For example:

I don’t want to drop out….

Why?

Because I don’t know what else to do….

Why?

Because I haven’t researched any of my options…

Why? 

Because I scared to drop out

Why? 

Because I’m worried what my friends and family might think

Why?

I don’t want to be seen as a failure

Asking yourself ‘Why’ five times is a really powerful way of finding the real reason behind an issue. 

Dropping out is absolutely not the end of the world, it might be the best thing you ever did.

Lots of famous people dropped out of college/university:

  • Michael Dell (Dell)
  • Steve Jobs (Apple)
  • Bill Gates (Microsoft)
  • Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
  • Evan Williams (Twitter)
  • Larry Ellison (Oracle)
  • Jan Koum (Whatsapp)
  • Travis Kalanick (Uber)
  • Daniel Ek (Spotify)
  • Matt Mullenweg (WordPress)
  • Arash Ferdowsi (Dropbox)
  • Ellen Degeneres
  • Brad Pitt
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Jon Snow
  • George Clooney

Hope you found this ‘I hate my degree’ post helpful!

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