University :(


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 14, 2003
Omicron Persei 8
Hey everyone,

I have just started uni at the University of Glasgow (Scotland) and upon joining the Science Faculty you are required to study three subjects. In high school I had a keen interest in computing, physics and maths (especially maths) and I sat 'Highers' in all these subjects (Highers are qualifications required in Scotland to go to University - 4 good highers typically gets you into a university.) I also studied Advanced Higher Maths in my last year of High school (which is like the first couple of months of uni maths).

Well, this is now my second week there, and I hate it and I was wondering if any of you could offers advice and personal insight.

1. I have to get up at six in the morning to be in Glasgow for my first lecture which is at 9am (physics). I am in university every single day (mostly half days on a Thursday and Friday as I work on those days including a saturday I work 19hrs a week).

2. I'm finding the maths really easy as they seem to be starting at a fairly basic level, to bring everyone to the same standard. However I am finding computer science boring and physics extremely difficult. We were doing recently real and apparent depth, light when it's reflected onto straight and spherical mirrors etc and he starts drawing these fairly complicated diagrams and ugh I'm just finding it really difficult.

3. I haven't made any friends. I'm not really good at making friends and I am very self concious. I was overweight so I have lost so far 4 stone (56 pounds) in weight leading up to university so I could wear nicer clothes and increase my overall experience. I have spoken to some people, but I haven't really made what you would call 'friends'.

So basically I am hating university and I don't know if I'm going to make my way through it. I am a bright person and got loads of awards for being the top in maths in my year etc and I got the highest level achievable at 'Higher' Physics (an A) but this is just a different difficulty of work and understanding. The only thing I seem to be enjoying and understanding fully is maths. And I want to be a maths teacher after uni.

Sorry if this is sort of a rant but I feel a lot of you in here will have valuable advice for me, as I am only 18 and most of you are most older (no offence meant!) and wiser. Maybe you were in the same situation as me? Maybe you could tell me how you dealt with it etc.

I am really depressed right now and I think it's definetely down to all the 3 points above.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

P.S. I am not going to drop out of university and I am not going to change my subjects as changing my subjects would be a lot of hassle for both me and the staff and I will have missed a lot of work. So I'm not really taking that as an option.

Thanks for any help,



macrumors 603
Feb 2, 2002
not to be discouraging, but 1 in 3 kids (who attend college) in this generation will drop out. Hell, I'm no idiot myself, and I dropped out after a year. Some people just don't fit in well there. Not to say you have to, or even should, drop out; but if things do go that way eventually, don't waste any time feeling guilty about it.


Jun 18, 2004
Sounds like you've got a 2hr commute to college, why's that? Are you living at home? If yes, is it to save money?

Not a lot of help but if you're still living at home as a student and it takes 2hrs to get to/from college that could be the reason you've not made friends yet.

I think the most important reason for going to college is to move on from the family home. Sure there's the academic stuff but the majority of my friends who went to college found the living away from home was the biggest deal and of those who benefited most from college it was a bigger deal than the academic stuff.

I never went 'cause academia and I never got on(I scored over 97% in maths at high school, just never enjoyed being there) but I wish I could’ve for the social side alone.

I’d say stick at the studies, if you can do it academically you will, but fix the social side if you can. Losing the weight’s a start, if it makes YOU feel better and it’s a good idea anyway, but if you can try getting a room closer to the college so you’re naturally around your fellow students.


macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
Location Location Location
If you have to work 19 hours part-time AND go to all your lectures and do all your work, you're going to struggle when exam time comes. Seriously.

You probably need the money, though. I suggest you get a loan, even if it means going into what seems like a massive debt to you, and just live at or close to Uni. You'll have more time to study as well, which means you can concentrate more on grades and understand all this physics.

You'll also be able to make more friends. I'm guessing not many people in the science program you're in live close to you, and even if there were a few students who did, you may never meet them because you can't know everybody.

Get a loan, live closer to Uni, and work on studying. Living closer to Uni also means you get to join a club or society of some sort. It's easier to make friends that way. Get a flat with a bunch of guys (or guys and girls mixed) your age. It's fun. :)

Glasgow couldn't be THAT expensive. I've lived in London. :eek:


macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
(warning, long post)

Hi FearFactor,
First, let me congratulate you on losing the 4 stones or 56 pounds. Many kids today are battling with a weight issue, I wish that I knew then what I know now--my struggle would not be nearly as difficult. You did it and that is what counts. Now that you've fixed the outside, and probably will continue to fix it, you have to fix the inside.

Friends: College is a time where you make some of the best friends. You aren't bombarded with the past of high school and the Uni is the place where you get a fresh start. You can be who you want to be. The question is, who do you want to be? You want friends and let me tell you from experience that friends are almost as important as family. But now you're in the big leagues and people are at the Uni for different reasons. Some are there because that is how they intend to get somewhere in life, others are there because their parents made them go. You sound like you're there because it was the right thing to do and most of all you have a goal that would require you to have a top-level education. But now you're in need of something else to fill the void.

To start, you want to find friends with similar interests as you. Trying to find a friend that likes to hang out on message boards is going to be hard. I am not trying to sound mean, but I am telling you I know this because I tried. I too have gone through, or maybe even I am going through the same thing. Approaching someone to be a friend is hard. I've made what I thought were friends, but then the class would end and I would never see them again. We even had common interests, but it never worked out for me. Life gets in the way.

I am trying to live by two mottos (for lack of better words). One is irrelevant and the other is do one thing that makes YOU happy.

School is tough. I know this because like you I went to college right after high school and found myself with a decent job. I was taking 19-21 units (which is 5-6 classes) and working for a mortgage company. At 18 I was earning a whopping $1600 a month (USD). I was on top of the world and thought I would get by with that. So I quit school and swore I would go back. $1600 stopped cutting it. Rent was due, bills were due, food needed to be bought and because I had to work so much I lost whatever friends I had. True friends that I am certain I would still have had I not ditched them. If my child (when I have one) were standing in front of me telling me what you just told us I would encourage them to stay with school. There is so much time to work and do whatever, but school gets harder as you get older and going back never really feels the same. Being an adult learner I am not able to stay in the dorms like others because I make too much money. I am not able to join a Sorority or anything like that. Whatever I do in college is purely academic and in some ways that makes me sad.

The point here is that you should stick with it. But, there is nothing saying that 2 weeks into it you can't change your top levels or whatever they're called. Stick with Math and I'd almost say stick with Physics, but pick something else that is super easy to you. I do not know the rules of your Uni. Physics was tough, no doubt and I'll never attempt it again. But my love for math is hardly what yours appears to be. I would get a tutor, or find someone in your class that looks halfway coherent and buddy up. I'll bet you anything you're not the only person thinking this way and you're not the only one who is scared. The next thing is talk to the professor in Physics. Tell him your history with math and physics and tell him your concerns. Ask him to help you figure out a way to stick with it and make it less painful. The one thing I learned is that college professors won't come to you, you MUST go to them. They have too many students and too little time to devote to wondering if someone is happy or not. Go to him/her.

Back to friends. I notice you get up at 6am to get to school by 9 for a lecture. Something tells me that you live too far from campus to make this work. I also made that mistake. The hours I drove to campus and the time spent there were damaging to my health and my overall behavior. You only work 19 hours a week, barely enough to survive I am sure. What about campus living? What about renting a room and asking your parents for help? What about University work programs? Sometimes you get to work on campus, which makes it nice. Get back some of those hours. It seems like you maybe travel 2 hours one way a day. Do the math. Your travel time is your part time job! Living closer will give you the ability to get some rest, relax, study, etc. Tell your parents that living closer will give you more time to study. Then it is on you to make the responsible decision to study. When I finally moved closer (a year later) I gained back 20 hours a week in time. I worked 40 hours, went to school pretty much the same amount of time you did, but I had 20 extra hours. I started studying more and my grades went back up. I fell under a 3.0 my second term, this coming from straight A's the first term. That leads me to friends....again.

The reason why I had a hard time making friends is that I lived too far from school. Everyone who wanted to do something lived near the school and I always had a 2 hour drive. I never could invite them down because it was so hard on them. When I figured out a better location, which for me meant switching schools, I started to make a couple of friends. It is hard for me to make friends as well for a variety of reasons. But in truth, I own that fault.

I am sorry that you are feeling this way. I can only tell you that it will get better, but you need to take back your life and get closer to school. Find a flat, get some roommates, whatever. My heart breaks when I hear kids are sad about their situation. I don't know you, but I can venture to guess you're capable of succeeding in this, but it's time to step up and do one thing that makes you & everyday.

Again sorry for the long post.


macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
North Carolina
The two most reliable ways to make friends in college (or university, as everyone other than Americans call it) is first, living on-campus in dorms, and second, doing extracurricular activities. It sounds like you're so busy and spend so much time commuting that you really don't have time for either one. As others have suggested, you may want to consider another way of financing college so you can live closer, if not in the dorms.

Another decent way of making friends is through study groups -- sounds like you might be able to kill two birds with one stone if you got involved in a physics study group. Also, if you're really good at math, you may be able to interest some of your classmates in tutoring sessions, which could make you money and/or friends.


macrumors G3
May 24, 2005
Well first of all, congratulations on your exam results and obtaining a place at Uni. I too studied Physics and yes... you'll find your timetable will be pretty full for the foreseeable future, compared to other disciplines. That's what you get for being bright ;)

You've lost 4 stone? That's an incredible loss and you should be very proud of yourself! As for making friends, give it time, you've only been there for a week! Although from what you posted about getting up at 6am for a 9am lecture it sounds as though you're not living in halls? Admittedly it is a lot easier to make friends when you're forced into the situation of living with a bunch of new people. if you're still living at home then you're going to have to find other ways to meet people... daunting as it may sound, remember everyone else there is in a similar situation! try chatting to people before/in-between lectures when you're hanging around outside the theatre... find out what people are doing afterwards and go for a drink... visit your student union building to find out about any planned events or clubs you could sign up to. Last week was probably more of an orientation week so you probably haven't had a 'proper' timetabled week yet, but this week they'll probably assign you a lab partner and/or into a small group for tutorials and examples classes etc, so you'll get to know people on your course that way.

Most of the "university experience" is living away from home, meeting new people, getting drunk and doing completely stupid things (let's not get into that right now ;) )... but the onus is on you to make this happen (or not, in the case of stupid drunken stuff!).

Don't get disheartened, don't feel depressed, give it time... but you've got to put yourself out there a bit more! This is a whole new era in your life and you WILL enjoy it :) let's see if we can't put a smile on your face and next time you post on here it'll be more like "University :) YAY!!"


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 14, 2003
Omicron Persei 8
Thank you all for your comments.

I know it is very popular in America for you to leave to go to university but because Scotland is a small country, Glasgow is only 30 minutes on a train from where I live. I get up about six and try to get a bus at around seven to the train station, and I basically end up in Glasgow at about 8-ish. I then have a 5 minute walk to the underground/subway station and I'm on the subway for about 10 minutes, then I have a 10 minute walk to the University.

It is too late for me to apply for University Accomodation (which you can only use for one year anyway) and renting a flat would be really expensive, and I'd need to quit my job (I found it hard to get a job in the first place). Also, I bought a £320 card for all my travelling ($700) which lasts ten weeks.

For all subjects you are made to go to 1 hour 'tutorial' groups of about 8 people (as opposed to 200-300 in a single lecture) once a week. Also, physics and computer science require 1 3hr experiment/lab per week.

I am learning how to drive and my parents have provided me with a car (which I obviously can't drive until I pass my test. Which will mean getting to the train station will be much easier and getting home also. It will also mean I can drive to work and back instead of relying on the bus.

University here seems to be a lot different that America. I.e. there are 3 universities in Glasgow (Glasgow Uni, Strathclyde Uni and Glasgow Caledonian).


macrumors 68040
Apr 10, 2002
Are you in Residence? If not, try and get into residence for next year, that will help with friends. I'm off campus, and I haven't made any friends at my school yet either after 1+ years, so you aren't alone there. I suggest a pet.

Just stick with it if it's what you want. I think personally I will be taking a break after this year, maybe work, maybe a little travel, and then I'll go back to a different school. I have decided yet.

Just do you readings, and assignments and you'll be fine.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 21, 2004
South Bucks, UK
Most of my friends at university were met either in halls/residence, or while doing group work. Big lectures let you make passing acquaintances with people, but you often don't get to really know them, and as someone else mentioned, as soon as the subject/module ends you never see them again!

Moving away from home would be a bonus, even if you only do it for one year. It may be expensive, but hey you're a student, you're supposed to have loads of debt..! :p. Living in halls got rid of my shyness when it came to meeting people, as you're thrown in the deep end and just have to get on with it. I'd often find myself talking to people in queues, cafeteria etc and while you usually don't end up best mates, you do end up walking into lectures and so on and knowing lots of people which makes it more fun and the time pass quicker! (Plus you then have a ready supply of people to go and ask for help when you get stuck with things). It might be worth asking if any places have come up in halls of residence as other people who were initially allocated them may have dropped out since the term started.

If you feel that the course might not be right for you, go and discuss it with a lecturer/head of course - this kind of problem comes up all the time, I knew lots of people who swapped courses or changed modules during the year and the earlier you do it the better. It may seem like a lot of work to catch up with, but compared to the second year it will seem like nothing, plus if you moved to a course you found easier the work would be that much less demanding to catch up on!

My overall advice:

Consider changing your course if you don't feel its right for you - discuss your options before it gets too late in the term.

If you don't have many group projects coming up, join clubs - the more mainstream the better as you will get to meet totally different people compared to your fellow maths/physics students.

SMILE! If you seem approachable, often people in a similar situation will come and chat to you without any effort on your part!


macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2004
rainman::|:| said:
not to be discouraging, but 1 in 3 kids (who attend college) in this generation will drop out.
That may be true in the U.S. where there are more colleges with lower standards than previous generations. It's not that the kids are dumber or lazier, it's that the colleges let the dumber and lazier kids into school. Look at all the scandals coming to light regarding corporate colleges, i.e.: University of Phoenix, Vatterot, ITT, etc.


Staff member
Jul 1, 2002
(Another long rambling post, sorry)

I have some similarities, but of course some differences in my University experience. I went to Strathclyde University in 1998 to do Computer & Electronic Systems, which is really a combination of computer science and electronic engineering classes. I stayed at home for the first year, then moved into flats in Glasgow for the rest of the course.

For me, the subjects were quite a mixture in first year - computing was rather boring because of the level it was being taught at; physics was bloody impossible, very few people got good marks for it (we only had one class on it however); maths was fine, but it was basically repeating Higher & CSYS (as it was then). We also had various other classes for EEE, and physics has now been replaced by a business class. Subsequent years did get better, more specialised classes, more project work and things that you could imagine might actually be useful in a job, even if it wasn't necessarily the job you ended up doing.

Strathclyde's degree was/is structured slightly differently however - you couldn't pick your primary subjects like you have picked maths/physics/computing - the whole degree was considered one unit. However, as cheekyspanky said, people do change courses a lot - one girl I know changed from Orthotics & Prosthetics to Maths of all things, and with Glasgow's 3 subject system changing classes is not a problem, especially this early in the year.

However, the first two weeks aren't necessarily representive of the whole year - the best thing is to talk to someone. I don't know Glasgow's system unfortunately but in Strathclyde there was a lecturer in charge of the course year who you could talk to about classes if you were having any problems. See if you can find out what is covered in the rest of the year, and possibly future years - some of the later computer science classes at Glasgow sounded infinitely more interesting than the ones we did at Strathclyde.

The financial situation often spoils people's uni experience, but there is help and it would be worth investigating your options. The universities often have hardship funds for those who are really having problems, and the students loans are quite favourable - the interest rate is low and you only have to pay back when you are earning over £10,000/yr. You can usually get up to ~£3500/yr in loans, more in some situations.

Working lots of hours during term time will affect both your classes and how much fun you have. The summer holiday is long, and students will quite often working during the holiday to build up enough money for the following year, together with the loans, and not work during the year. Obviously that's more applicable for future years rather than this one. For this year, maybe see if you can get a loan and cut your hours so you aren't working during the week. This will free up time for both your class work and also any clubs that run after uni.

Being a flat during uni is great, both from the proximity to the uni - less time commuting, more time sleeping in the morning, more time to do stuff after uni - and also for the social aspect of being around people. Check your options for sharing a flat for this year - there are always people looking for flatmates, and sharing a flat will bring the cost down considerably. There are loads of places to find them - the uni will have listings, shop windows and websites ( is one that springs to mind, but search google). The city centre will probably be too expensive, but look at the east end (Dennistoun) and the south side (Shawlands, Cartside, Langside), plus possibly further out along the low-level train lines out of Queen Street & Central (Springburn & Partick for example). Check for transport times into the city centre, there are often 24 hour buses to certain areas which are very handy. For reference, I stayed on Alexandra Parade in 2nd/3rd year and Baliol Street in 4th year.

What often happens is that people will live at home in the first year, gradually meet people during first year and then organise to move into a flat for 2nd year. Making friends in classes of 200 isn't exactly easy, I had the advantage of being in a course of only 30, but the smaller tutorials and lab groups will be easier to get to talk to people. Don't be scared is probably the key, but I know that's easier said than done, trust me! If you need help, ask someone, it's a great ice breaker, and (in the labs especially) don't be afraid to try to give help, even if you're not sure yourself!

Investigate what clubs & societies there are - there will be hundreds of them, varying from the obvious stuff like sports to well, the frankly bizarre. If you can't see anything that spring outs at you, even look at the Strathclyde ones - you can often join clubs without being a student at the uni. Glasgow's nightlife scene is vast and varied given the size of the student population, but don't worry if that doesn't interest you - I wasn't particularly into it, which is vaguely ironic given the website I run.

Summary: ask for help, there's lots available! :)

(Some of the figures might have changed since i was uni, but it gives the general idea)


Jul 9, 2000
OnceUGoMac said:
That may be true in the U.S. where there are more colleges with lower standards than previous generations. It's not that the kids are dumber or lazier, it's that the colleges let the dumber and lazier kids into school. Look at all the scandals coming to light regarding corporate colleges, i.e.: University of Phoenix, Vatterot, ITT, etc.
the truth is that the university of phoenix is accredited regionally (which is what matters most in the usa...north central, wasc, middle states, etc) and it happens to make a ton of money...some not for profit universities are scared of the for profit model of education and losing their students to some of those highly aggressive organizations

so what are the traditional schools to do?

cornell, an ivy league school, has decided to join them...thus, e-cornell, a for profit wing of the not for profit cornell

computers, internet, and thus online education mixed with democracy and capitalism was bound to create a giant like the university of phoenix and their high profits and huge rise in stock value for the business/university

i say let the schools operate publicly, privately, for profit, and not for profit and just make sure that the for profit universities don't go hog wild and recruit just anybody out there as students, but make the regional accredidation agencies responsible to keep some sort of standards that all schools should meet

and have a cap on how much a for profit school can charge for tuition


How are you getting on now, FearFactor? Are you any happier with your course?


macrumors member
Oct 24, 2005
rainman::|:| said:
not to be discouraging, but 1 in 3 kids (who attend college) in this generation will drop out.
University (College) isn't for everyone. My Advise is plain: What is it you wish to do for a living.

If you have an interest in electronics, become an electrician. not all well paying (or interesting jobs for that matter) require time at university.

I'm stufying Mining Engineering and can't get enough of it, the firt year was tough (very dry with lots of maths and Physics) but as time progressed the subects become more interesting.

I'm not going to say stick with it, but just look at where you would like to be in 5 years and head towards that.



macrumors member
Dec 15, 2004
Skareb said:
University (College) isn't for everyone. My Advise is plain: What is it you wish to do for a living.

If you have an interest in electronics, become an electrician. not all well paying (or interesting jobs for that matter) require time at university.

I'm stufying Mining Engineering and can't get enough of it, the firt year was tough (very dry with lots of maths and Physics) but as time progressed the subects become more interesting.

I'm not going to say stick with it, but just look at where you would like to be in 5 years and head towards that.

you are totally right. University is not for everyone. Ar.... I am lost here.


macrumors 68030
Feb 2, 2005
Ann Arbor, Michigan
you have to live on campus if you want to have fun and make friends.
Case in point: My wife commuted to college everyday. She had 2 friends (which she new before college) and never talks to anyone from college.

I lived on campus for 4 years. I met about 20 good friends in college (none I knew before going there) and still keep in touch with most of them.


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 14, 2003
Omicron Persei 8
Just to give you all an update - I simply don't go to physics any more :(.

I am going to do something really easy beginning December) and in year 2 I'm going to do another half of a course to make up for the credits I'm losing.

Maths is going OK - I got 29/30 for a test worth 10% of my degree exam in May. I also have a maths test this Monday which I should do OK in.

Computer Science - I don't really like the programming I find it difficult. As for the a HCI stuff it is really interesting and not too difficult. We have moved onto Databases and Information Management and I seem to like it.

Also, there is this person who always sits beside me who I *really* like. I think I might be slowly falling in love with them. Which has never happened to me before lol. :confused:

Dropping physics means I get home around half one on a Monday which is great. I not get like a full day to myself during the week when I don't have to work.

I had a 6 week review at my work a couple of weeks ago and they said stuff like 'I was an asset to the company', 'I have fitted in well' so I was pleased at that.

And I have decided that I am buying a nice new Intel iBook when they are released in January (I'm using my student loan to pay)!


macrumors G4
Things sound much better - glad that they're working out for you. Remember to let the person sitting next to you know that you really like them. ;)

Good for you on dropping Physics and making it up with something else. One of my biggest regrets is being encouraged to stay with my Law degree because my advisor convinced me it was a phase that everyone went through at that point. By the time I decided it really wasn't just a phase, it was too late and I didn't get as much out of it as I might have.

Work again seems to be going well for you but remember to review it regularly. I worked my way through University; about the same hours. Was it worth it? Yes and no. Yes, I had money while at Uni and fewer worries about debt when I left. But no, I do know that I missed out on some great events/nights that I regret. Money is only money in the long-run and with inflation, the amount becomes more trivial as time goes on. Your memories and the friends you might make will last longer.


Jul 9, 2000
FearFactor47 said:
Also, there is this person who always sits beside me who I *really* like. I think I might be slowly falling in love with them. Which has never happened to me before lol. :confused:
wow, you are meeting people ;)

someone earlier said that one out of three people who are in college eventually drop out...i did back in 1987 because of "meeting" someone...we got married and other things took priority in life...i eventually graduated 7 years later and she graduated 14 years later or's funny how getting married can put things like school on the back burner...and i have heard tons of stories like this, especially to women

we used to joke that we thought some women were at school just to find a husband and we called them the girls who are "M.R.S. majors" as opposed to a B.A. or M.A. student


macrumors 68020
Apr 18, 2004
FearFactor47 said:
Lol. I seriously doubt anything is going to happen!
you seem like a very passive person.. the type of person that feels the world affects or invokes change on them, not the other way around. which can be a hurdle to get over. if you want to meet people and get friends, talk.. speak up.. while on the surface it may be easier said than done it really isn't. when i started college here in so-cal, my college had a total of 30,000 students combined which initially scared me because i feared i would never know anyone past the "acquaintance" level.. let me tell you, since i started two mos ago i have met a bunch of people in my classes. be really friendly and open, don't close yourself off. talk about the class, make side remarks about it. the first week of school in one of my classes i started talking up a storm with random people and now we all chill and eat lunch together. its awesome. don't have this fear of rejection. everybody is in the same boat as you. you have nothing to be afraid of. and as some other poster said, once the semester is over.. BAM.. EVERYONE FORGETS... unless of course you have made some solid friends in your classes.. which is not a bad thing to do. just remember if you want to get to know someone more in depth, you have to put forward the effort. or else nothing will ever happen. what do you got to lose?