Why Is College So Hard?

By Amanda HoyleJanuary 7, 2022
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Amanda Hoyle
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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College is an exciting phase in one’s life. However, it comes as a shock when the hard work begins. Some blossom while others stop in their tracks. But why exactly is it such a difficult feat? Well, there are varying variables from a lack of structure to challenging course work as well as newfound independence and responsibility. 

If you’re struggling with college or anxious about what the journey holds for you, there are many students who can relate to what you’re going through. It’s not easy transitioning from high school to college but we’re here to help ease any anxiousness you might have. 

Why Is College So Stressful?

People find college stressful because they rely on themselves to succeed. It’s much different from high school where you are held accountable for irresponsible actions such as skipping classes or dedicating a certain amount of hours to your studies. At university, you’re expected to take ownership of your studies, drive your independence, sometimes this is challenging. After the structured procedure of high school, it feels good to skip a few classes with no consequences, but you bear the brunt of it later. 

Nobody keeps tabs on whether you’ve studied or gone through your course material. Freedom is insatiable, but it leads to failure because priorities become twisted. You may develop stress and anxiety over being unable to keep up with your coursework. 

All coursework is developed to be specific and focused. You may have the prerogative to choose classes and courses you’re interested in and the work is more difficult. If you stay organized and responsible, you can manage all the work that comes your way. 

Reasons Why It's Difficult To Navigate College 

1. Poverty 

 Poverty can have a heavy effect on a student. It makes it difficult to focus in school due to a lack of sustenance. Some students have little to no food. It's also hard keeping up with all your friends who have the latest gadgets and clothes. 

 2. Time Management 

 Once you get to college, you quickly realize that you have to strike a balance between your performance coursework. You should spend a significant amount of your time in college on your studies. 

 3. Lack Of Role Models 

 It's hard to find someone reliable and responsible enough to mentor you in college. Most people are busy with their own lives.

Is It Normal To Struggle In College? 

It’s perfectly normal to go through the struggles of college. However, it’s more difficult when you’re not doing well at school. Some students give up, while others work hard enough to obtain their degrees. You might experience demotivation from the bad grades but it’s worth it once you make it to the other side. 

 The transition from high school to college is a huge step. There is less structure and more freedom. Some people grow from experiencing complete control over their lives, while others struggle to manage responsibilities. 

Give yourself a few months to get used to the swing of things. Learn how to manage time and adjust to university life. At times you may feel as though you are failing, but it’s a rite of passage that you must go through. 

Take it up as a challenge to structure your college experience. You might need assistance with time management or study methods, so if you need help, reach out to the campus counselor or academic support. These people are put in place to assist struggling students with their needs. 

Does College Get Easier?

That’s a completely personal experience, but for most people, it gets easier despite the course material becoming harder. The first year is usually the toughest and this often affects students’ studies. If you put that together with low grades and mismanagement of time, it probably won’t get easier. 

With time, you will get accustomed to the lifestyle change and find out what works for you. From your schedule, how to improve your grades, and how to live your best life in college. After you grasp all of this, you’ll find that university gets better.

 Is College More Difficult Than It Used To Be?

Generally, college is harder than it used to be due to varying reasons. One of which is that course material has developed over time and so, the content has become more difficult. Also, college is expensive, and some students are forced to work part-time jobs. 

Is It Okay To Score B’s In College? 

College grades are calculated differently from high school. If you’re usually an A student but find yourself scoring B’s, don’t be discouraged. If you’re getting steady B’s, it means you’re above average and you should be ecstatic. Don’t focus too much on the grade, rather make sure you’ve got an understanding of the course material.  

Why Do Good Students Do Bad In College? 

It’s not uncommon for students who did well to do badly in university, mostly due to the adjustment from high school to university. It might take a while to get used to the way things are done in college. Most of these students lived a structured life during high school and with that out the window, it’s not as easy. 

Does The Difficulty Of The Degree Impact Your Experience? 


Procrastination can knock you off your mojo, it can increase your workload because last-minute work can push you over the edge. Avoid saving any course for the last minute, it leads to unnecessary stress, you have to find effective ways to manage your work. 

Time management is an important skill. You should be disciplined enough to maintain a healthy work routine, it will keep you calm and able to handle any pressures. If you’re not organized, it’s okay, just work at a good pace. Divide your time and ensure a minimum of two hours per day for studying. If you engage with your studies every day, it’s easier to manage in the long run. 

People have different ways of studying, what may work for you, may not work for the next person. Stick to what helps you maximize your time for the best results. If things get difficult, meet with an academic counselor who can advise you. 


Good discipline is the success factor of every good student. Although it is a difficult habit to start, most students will find that it’s rewarding. The first step is to listen carefully in class. There are plenty of distractions but the aim should be to remain focused. There’s a risk of failure if you don’t attend and pay attention. 

Lectures And Homework

As a new student, you’re probably used to 25 students in one class. However, colleges have larger groups and the lectures can get extensive. Learn to take notes during teaching, but the bulk of your time should be spent on studying. 

What Do You Do When Things Get Tough?

Gain Perspective

Give yourself a break. College isn't supposed to be a walk in the park. You only grow when you push and challenge yourself. So, try to be as understanding as you can. It may look like people around you are managing better than you are, but you don't know what's really happening in their lives. So, focus on your own path and learn how to be better.

Being patient with yourself as you adjust is the greatest favor. Avoid speaking bad things to yourself and try to take action in improving your life and well-being.

Speak To A Professional

Universities are fully aware of how much pressure students are exposed to. Especially those transitioning from high school to university. So, they've got professionals in the schools ready to assist you. For example, there are teaching assistants (TAs) and professors, usually available during working hours. Their job is to guide you through your academic journey. Take advantage of any one-on-one time you can get. Additionally, there are tutorial programs for certain classes or types of assignments, such as writing. Your friends are also great people to reach out to for assistance.

Seek Online Help

If there's a specific class that you struggle with, you should look into finding help online. There are plenty of resources and you can access them at your leisure. Everything is one Google search away. You might even find that your course has its own Facebook group where you can ask and answer questions.

Manage Your Course Load

If you've got too much on your plate, you can drop a class if it's still early in the semester. You can also choose the pass/no-pass grading system to avoid any anxiety over managing your courses. Visit your academic advisor to help you sort out your class schedule so that you aren't taking on too much.

Look Forward To The Future

In college, you'll face different challenges from academics to relationships, money, and mental health but through it all, keep in mind that you are working towards making a better future for yourself. For now, just enjoy being a freshman.


College isn’t easy and it’s not supposed to be. You go through struggles but the most important thing to remember is that there are ways to manage any stress that comes your way. All you have to do is create avenues to relieve or prevent stress. Otherwise, college is an amazing experience that will make you a better person.

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Amanda Hoyle
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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