How to Be Happy at a School That Wasn’t Your First Choice

How to Be Happy at a College That Wasn’t Your Dream School


Not going to your dream college can seem devastating. Whether you didn’t get accepted or chose a cheaper school, it can be hard to make the best of the situation. But it’s not the end of the world! Here are some ways to make the most of your college experience (no matter where you are) and be happy wherever you go to college.

Make Friends

Having a nice group of friends to hang out with on a regular basis will make a huge difference when you get to college. When you find people you like, it makes your situation suck a lot less and contributes to your overall happiness.

Join a Club

There are all kinds of clubs and organizations to get involved in on a college campus. Whether you’re artsy, like to dance, can sing, are a minority, or like speech and debate, there is something you will find that you will enjoy.

Find a Spot You Like on Campus

When I was a freshman I would always go to the campus university center and hang out in the basement. I would work on homework, eat lunch, sit and talk with friends, or just hang out on my own there. If there is a place on your campus that brings you good vibes, go there whenever you feel like it! Having a place where you feel comfortable and can just relax (that isn’t your dorm or apartment) will be a great addition to your time on campus.

Find a Spot You Like in Town

If your university is based in a typical college town, odds are there will not be a lot to do. However, finding a spot in town that you enjoy, whether that be a coffee shop, bowling alley, skate rink, or anything that brings you happiness, will make you forget you are not at your first-choice school.

Personalize Your Living Space

Living on campus can be fun, but daunting at times if you aren’t keen on having a roommate or two. Having your own personal space to decorate and add your own touch will lift your spirits. Most college campuses don’t allow things like lit candles, but you can decorate with a wax warmer, diffuser, flowers, brightly colored rugs and throws, and maybe even a bean bag chair or two if you have the space.


Go Home When You Can and When You Want To

For a while you may get homesick on a semiregular basis. When this happens, just head home if you can, to clear your head and be around everything that makes you happy there. Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you’ll never need your parents or siblings, pets, or your own bed again.

Do Well in Your Classes

College is hard. It’s something to be proud of when you can say you aced the organic chemistry exam, never missed class, or got an A on your midterm paper. When you see you are doing well in your classes and getting all your homework done, you’ll notice a boost in your mood and attitude. There is just something about getting things done that will leave you feeling accomplished and happy.

Work out or Play a Sport

Maybe you have a fitness goal, or maybe you just like to play a sport. Whatever your desire is, being physically active will help with your mood and help you to enjoy your university a little bit more. Playing sports is also a wonderful way to meet new people and make friends!

Get a Job or Volunteer

Staying busy will help keep you distracted. Between classes, homework, hanging with friends, and holding down a part time job or volunteering, your mind won’t be focused on the fact that you aren’t at your first-choice school. Plus, with a job, you will be making money to put toward fun activities to make your time there even better.

Set a Goal

If you find that you absolutely hate your university, set a goal for yourself to achieve after the semester is over. Plan a trip, save for a car, or make it your goal to raise your GPA and reapply to your first-choice school. Having a goal will give you something to look forward to, and then suddenly, things don’t look so bad.

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