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I'm not learning anything in university. Should I drop out?

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What's up bros.

 

I need advice because I'm really stuck here, I can't decide what to do. I'm currently a second year student in university, and I'm paying 9000 pounds every year.

 

The problem is that I'm not learning anything at all at university. I don't say I'm smart and all-knowing, there is always someone smarter, but I can learn anything I want to, if I spend enough time on it.

 

Now, the first semester is almost over, and I missed like 80-85% of the lectures. I just can't make myself go to lectures, I always know most of the stuff, or know how and where to find it when I need it, and I recently stopped going to lectures at all. I calculated that I pay 24£ every hour, doesn't matter if it's a lecture or a practical, it's 24 pounds per hour.

 

And every time I miss a lecture I feel really bad, because I will actually have to pay for something that I don't use, I pay for lectures and I don't attend them. And even on the lab practicals where we write some code, the PhD students are weak, and most of the questions I ask them, they can't answer, "I don't know about that, you can ask dr./prof. whoever" and I need to wait 1 hour until I can get the lecturer to come to me, because we are like 100 people in a group and everyone wants to ask something.

 

And sometimes I really hate myself for missing lectures, because there are people that live a lot worse than me and work 8+ hours every day, and I'm too lazy too even go to lectures. But I just can't, it is so boring, I can't stand it, I prefer to wash dishes for 1 hour, at least I will get paid.

 

I'm really contemplating on whether I should drop out and just work something so I can pay my stuff, because my parents won't even talk to me.

 

I don't feel bad that I'm not learning anything there, I learn enough on my own, I feel bad that I'm paying to not learn anything. And most of the lecturers are so boring and unmotivated, and I'm not productive, because I do stuff I don't need. ( making need-finding studies, interviewing people, parsing linux ext2 filesystem to open one stupid file, etc ). And I'm kind of too perfectionistic when I do stuff I don't like. I don't know how's that called, but when I really hate to do something, I put more effort into it because I know it doesn't come naturally to me and I consciously prioritize it in order to get a good mark. And the result is that I spend more time doing that instead of the stuff I like.(wtf is that?)

 

I don't know how to tackle that problem. Seems like there is no problem, I know everything, I get the highest marks, everything is cool. But I still feel bad about it almost every day.

 

Is the problem in me, maybe I'm doing something wrong, or thinking in the wrong way? :huh:

 

Thanks a lot for reading this and sorry for wasting your time.

Edited by codeBoggs

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I think the problem is you and your attitude about it.

 

College/university education is going to give you back results proportional to what you are putting in, and it sounds like you're putting in the bare minimum of effort. Certainly it is frustrating in the early years where you have less freedom in your course and elective selection and have to take a lot of requirements which you might think have nothing to teach you. But this is an attitude that nearly everybody involved in a computer-science or adjacent program of study seems to have, in my experience, even if the precise reasons and rationale aren't always the same. "I'm not learning anything here" or "I'm not learning anything useful here" is a common refrain and the sooner you disabuse yourself of that notion the better.

 

Remember that the principle flaw of any autodidact's approach to higher education is that they don't know what they don't know, so no matter how well they may be able to learn things on their own their education can be massively misdirected for lack of being able to see the bigger, overall picture at the outset. 

 

If you have really given your lectures a fair chance, you might consider looking at what options you have to enroll in advanced placement (or "honors") programs or similar systems in place at your institution that may let you test out of or short-circuit some of your degree requirements so you can replace them with more electives or substitute with higher-level courses which seem interesting to you. 

 

Further remember that while it is expensive, there is potentially advantage just to finishing your degree. The cost of education is becoming so impractical in the US (I'm not sure about the UK) that there is an argument for not taking on that massive debt... but at the same time the job markets are still very competitive, and by not getting a degree you might be immediately excluding yourself from a significant portion of the available work. It's definitely harder to say this with complete conviction these days, versus a few years ago, but it's still worth thinking about.

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Should I drop out?

No.

I'm currently a second year student in university, and I'm paying 9000 pounds every year.

Second year is still very early. Most of the real challenge comes later, though it also depends on the university you chose and the classes you choose.

 

 

Now, the first semester is almost over, and I missed like 80-85% of the lectures.

 

As long as you're getting decent grades in classes, it doesn't matter. My experience was that when you're skipping most lectures, sooner or later things fall apart. I sometimes did badly in trivial courses.

 

 

And every time I miss a lecture I feel really bad, because I will actually have to pay for something that I don't use, I pay for lectures and I don't attend them.

This is a perfectly normal feeling in the course of doing a degree. Of course the end goal is to learn and do well, which may not necessitate attending lectures. Eventually, I chose to show up to lectures every single time, even if I was 80% checked out on a laptop during them. Again, this was a result of my previous experience that not attending didn't work out.

 

 

I'm really contemplating on whether I should drop out and just work something so I can pay my stuff, because my parents won't even talk to me.

 

No.

 

 

I don't feel bad that I'm not learning anything there, I learn enough on my own, I feel bad that I'm paying to not learn anything. And most of the lecturers are so boring and unmotivated, and I'm not productive, because I do stuff I don't need.

 

This is basically just part of the university experience, particularly in the first two years. In my program, we had enough prerequisites out of the way after three semesters that the fourth semester was a good opportunity to upgrade to some truly serious and challenging courses. The last two years are spent trying to balance those difficulty levels after you overreach ;) 

 

Your crisis of faith is not unusual but it should not be used as a deciding factor at this stage. Remember that there are many external reasons to have a university degree that are not at all connected to what you learn there. In the meantime, your focus should be on learning as much as possible without compromising your mental health. There are many higher level courses in math, applied math, physics, electrical engineering, and computer science that are very challenging, and you should add one or two of those courses to your program.

Edited by Promit

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Promit, thanks for actually reading that. I will think about what you said.

 

Second year is still very early. Most of the real challenge comes later, though it also depends on the university you chose and the classes you choose.

My degree is computer science and it's 3 years, If I want some higher level stuff, I need to take Masters which is another 9000 pounds that I need to pay.

 

 

EDIT: Kylotan,

 

 Having helped you in several threads, I have to say that you are not yet a good enough programmer to get a game development job on your code alone

True. But at least I won't pay like crazy until I get good enough.

 

 

 If you're in the UK and you're a home student, you're not really paying that, you're presumably borrowing it from the Government and they'll collect it back in pseudo-tax later, if you ever earn enough to merit repayments.

Not a pseudo-tax. You pay for 30 years after you've taken the loan and the interest is going up every year. And yes, I won't pay at all if I get a minimum wage my entire life, which is not what I have in mind. And most of the time, if you don't pay everything early, you end up paying a lot more than you've taken.

Edited by codeBoggs

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College/university education is going to give you back results proportional to what you are putting in, and it sounds like you're putting in the bare minimum of effort.

What do you mean by that, I don't have a mark different than A+. I'm far from being the best, I started programming 2 years ago, and I know people that started coding since they were 5. but still, lecturers don't give a damn about anyone. They are boring and .. I can't explain it..

Edited by codeBoggs

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Student loans in the UK are basically a tax. You pay an extra 9% above the minimum earning threshold, exactly the way that income tax works. If you think of it that way, the interest on the loan becomes irrelevant. Even assuming that you'll pay it for life, there are very few circumstances where you could be better off without the degree than with one - e.g. you graduate, and manage to get a decent paying job in a different field where even the mere existence of your degree is completely irrelevant. That's very unlikely. What's a lot more likely is that your degree increases your earning potential by a lot, and less than 10% of that increase goes on repayments. If the degree somehow only ever gives you an extra thousand pounds a year, it'll only cost you an extra ninety pounds a year, at most.
 
If you were studying Art History or Creative Writing, then sure, employment prospects are poor and you may never get much financial benefit from the degree. Computing is the polar opposite of that - if you're a competent coder and are willing to augment your directed study with your own study (and your attempts to get help on these forums are a good indicator that you have the drive for that) then your employment prospects are incredibly good.
 

I won't pay like crazy until I get good enough

 
You're not paying. The Government is. If you weren't on the course that money wouldn't be allocated to you at all. Yes, you are giving yourself a potential tax rise later in life. The upsides to a degree usually far outstrip that. The median salary for a software developer in the UK is almost 50% better than for the population as a whole. That's worth a 9% surcharge.

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And guys, you don't get my point. (or maybe the opposite), but I learned 90% of what I know from this forum and from online tutorials, not from university. In my opinion, I can keep learning without university. I know I'm far from good, but I'm certain that I can get a lot better without having to put my money in the wrong place.

 

EDIT:

 You're not paying. The Government is. If you weren't on the course that money wouldn't be allocated to you at all. Yes, you are giving yourself a potential tax rise later in life. The upsides to a degree usually far outstrip that. The median salary for a software developer in the UK is almost 50% better than for the population as a whole. That's worth a 9% surcharge.

 

Yes, but I'm wiping my *ss with 27 000 pounds. Can't I work as a software developer without doing that? 

Edited by codeBoggs

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but I can learn anything I want to, if I spend enough time on it.

Can you learn to forge the papers? 

 

Take it from a self taught artist who had to freelance for years because no one would hire me, I had no piece of paper that proved I could do the work, even when I handed in my portfolio for interviews, other less experienced artists was selected over me.

Sitting in classes I could teach, wondering if it was all worth it; I was there. It's worth it in the end -and I did learn things a never knew- not even half a year later I landed my first actual job as a 3D modeler. I am even learning animation now, as it is a topic I don't know very well.

 

It's the University degree that costs all that money, on the job market -saturated with everyone wanting to do the same work- it's worth gold.

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In today's world you can mostly learn a great deal that you would learn from university yourself depending on the subject. I found I learned far more myself than actually from lectures etc and this is probably most so for a subject like Computer Science (fast moving and so much info online). As Josh Petrie said, you get out what you put in and in my opinion if you are doing a lot of your own learning then that is putting in and indeed is what you are meant to do. People often post on here that you don't go to uni to learn, you go for the piece of paper so I think you should keep going for that reason. You have already invested £9,000 plus part of this year too if you drop out now what do you get from it? Nothing. Another 2 years of tuition is a lot of money but you presumably went to uni to get a degree so even if you aren't learning much as long as you leave with a degree you got out what you went in for.

 

There's also how bad it looks on a CV too. There's one thing going for a job without a degree but going for a job without one because you dropped out sends a fair few negative signs to an employer.

 

I totally understand the boredom and lack of motivation but you just have to stick with it, go to all the lectures even if you think they are a waste because when you start missing 1 or 2 you soon end up missing 3 or 4 and so on. At the end of it you will have a first class degree (given that you find it all so easy) which looks fantastic, you will know all the things you wanted to learn (either from the course or self taught) and yes you will be out of pocket a few thousand. Or you drop out, have nothing to show for the year which looks terrible and are still out of pocket albeit slightly less out of pocket. 

Edited by Nanoha

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So you pay 9K a year if you drop out now that means you owe 18k with nothing to show for it.

 

Also the thing a lot of people don't realise is that Bachelors degrees are not "taught courses".  They are directed self learning which is why you have the phrase that somebody is "reading for a degree".

The whole point is that you are paying to use all the universities resources such as the library, access to academic papers, access to lecturers who are presumably also doing research in a similar field and you are supposed to use all this to learn stuff yourself. 

 

The lectures are there just to give you guidance as to what direction you should be concentrating those studies and the assignments are just there to make sure you are.

 

 

Everybody feels like this from time to time at University and lots of people don't make it.  The retention point from fist to second year is usually around 30%. If your group is 100 now there will probably only be around 15 by the time you get to graduation.   Also the first year at most British Unis is usually just BS work just to separate who is dead weight and who might be a better candidate for a different course.  You won't get to the real degree content until the second year.

 

 

If you want to work on something else then do so it as well.

 

 

You haven't really given a good enough reason to leave Uni.  Its not taking up too much of your time for you not be able to work on something else. You only have about 20 hours of lectures a week (and you aren't even attending those) so there is nothing stopping you from writing your own game or starting your own games company whilst still being at Uni.

Money isn't really an argument because although 9K a year seems like a lot.  You aren't really paying it the tax payer is and you won't pay any of it back until you earn over 25k a year and even then its a tiny amount that you have to pay back.

 

You are also attending a degree that pretty much guarentees you a well payed job at the end as long as you don't balls it up.
 

 

 

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And guys, you don't get my point. (or maybe the opposite), but I learned 90% of what I know from this forum and from online tutorials, not from university.


That is partly because you refuse to believe that some of the things they are trying to teach are worthwhile, so you don't learn them. I'm telling you, as someone who was in exactly your situation, that you're almost certainly mistaken.

Keep learning from the forum and from tutorials. But also learn from university. You will learn different things.

 

In my opinion, I can keep learning without university.


How will you know what to learn? You can't get to be a good programmer just by going to a forum whenever you hit a roadblock. We don't have time to teach you the really important fundamentals, or the more abstract aspects that aren't immediately related to the code.

 

I bet that if you showed me some of the modules you're taking, I could point out how they could come in useful. One class at uni that I found really weird was one on set theory and relational algebra. It sounded completely abstract and meaningless at the time. Turns out that boolean logic, set theory, and relational algebra all work the same way, and that understanding these fundamentals suddenly improves how you write conditional statements, how you understand SQL queries, and how to make effective data structures.

 

Another example - I thought that learning Haskell was pointless, because I would never write serious software in it. I was right that I'd never write serious software in it, but understanding what 'functional' means opens your eyes to better software development practices in every other language you use. Even John Carmack had something to say on the matter. But (this discussion aside, ironically) you don't learn things like that by going to forums and asking how to fix your code.
 

Yes, but I'm wiping my *ss with 27 000 pounds. Can't I work as a software developer without doing that?


The chances are much lower. Not only will your code quality and your range of knowledge be lower, meaning you're less likely to get through an interview, but you won't have a degree, which means you're less likely to get an interview in the first place. It's not a gamble I'd take.

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Scouting Ninja, artists are different, artists only work in entertainment industries. Making it there is hard, because people entertain themselves only when they got money. And programmers can work in a lot of important spheres that are important to everyday lives of people. ( right? ).

 

Guys, you all wrote a quite long posts, big thanks for this. You all deserve 9000 pounds, but university is sucking enough from me, sorry.

 

I'm really divided on that (if there is such a phrase) because I had this problem since I was 1st grade. And I think it's high time to start doing what I want in life, not what is expected and not what others do. But I guess I will listen to you for now. When someone is really good, people can put up with a lot of stuff, and even the lack of degree. But I'm far away from that level, so I guess I should keep on doing what I hate until I get better.

 

 

 You haven't really given a good enough reason to leave Uni.  Its not taking up too much of your time for you not be able to work on something else. You only have about 20 hours of lectures a week (and you aren't even attending those) so there is nothing stopping you from writing your own game or starting your own games company whilst still being at Uni.

Far away from game company. But you are right, nothing is stopping me to learn, I just give 27k. It's too much, man, even in GTA.

Edited by codeBoggs

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You only have about 20 hours of lectures a week (and you aren't even attending those) so there is nothing stopping you from writing your own game or starting your own games company whilst still being at Uni.

 

 

This is the other 'big hitter' argument. When else will you ever be given enough money to do pretty much whatever you like for 20 hours of every week? If you're very lucky you can get a part-time job for roughly those hours and roughly the same money, except it'll teach you much less, do much for your future career, and is likely to be more exhausting than sitting in a lecture theater or typing in a practical. Even if nothing else convinces you, the opportunity to use your above-average ability to do the minimum necessary (and spend all your spare time on personal projects), and still come out with a career-changing degree, should be one you seize with both hands.

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What do you mean by that, I don't have a mark different than A+. I'm far from being the best, I started programming 2 years ago, and I know people that started coding since they were 5. but still, lecturers don't give a damn about anyone. They are boring and .. I can't explain it..

 

I'm not talking about your grades at all. I'm talking about the idea that the educational value, the things you learn, the quality and long-term benefit of your experience in school is proportional to the amount of effort you put into it. It's not like school when you are younger, elementary middle and high school, where you are spoon fed exactly everything. College/university education is a stepping stone towards taking more control of your own education and it just sounds like you're squandering the opportunities you have a university. 

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 We don't have time to teach you the really important fundamentals, or the more abstract aspects that aren't immediately related to the code.

 

Kylotan, nobody at all looks at my code in university this year, they did it last year, now they don't want. When I ask professors to look at my code, they just say: divide the work on small steps and you will eventually get there. And nobody looks at my code in uni.

 

And I don't agree with you, because I learned a lot of fundamental stuff from here. When I ask for feedback, everyone is giving me high quality feedback and I don't get that in uni. And the proof for this is that I always kind of feel bad that I can't return the favor in any way.

Edited by codeBoggs

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I just give 27k. It's too much, man, even in GTA 
 

 

I'm contracting now but, the last company I worked at in London had graduate salaries of 50k.  

 

Outside of London you are going to be looking at a starting salary of 25k+ and rapid pay increases.  Some areas such as Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Cambridge all have tech hubs so salaries are higher in these areas.

IT Contractors nationwide  can earn anywhere from £250 - £1000 per day.  My current contract is in the middle of this range and its remote so I don't even need to leave the house.

 

Seems like a pretty good ROI for a measly 27k?

 

If you really have the chops to make it to the end of your degree then you could be earning a very good salary.  If you drop out you may never get your foot in the door.

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College/university education is a stepping stone towards taking more control of your own education and it just sounds like you're squandering the opportunities you have a university. 

 

Very true. They want us to do everything on our own. And I can't even listen to lecturers in lectures, when I see a lecturer's face, all I see is 27k. 

 

EDIT: Guys, now that I did a few calculations, you are right. 27k is nothing in the long run. But it still hurts, because of the idea that I need to pay for a paper. I can't forge papers.

Edited by codeBoggs

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My few cents;
- for sure don't drop out before you've at least tried the lectures (Who says you wont learn anything if you didn't follow them?)
- a study/ degree can be done for many reasons, for example to get the "papers". You would get that as a benefit, even if you think you're not learning
- if you already know everything that the study will teach you, then apply it and try a job application (don't cancel the study just yet :))

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 - if you already know everything that the study will teach you, then apply it and try a job application (don't cancel the study just yet  :)

 

cozzie, that is exactly the other reason. I really wanted to apply for an internship and get feedback on what to fix and what to add, but the problem is that I have 5 courseworks to submit in week 10 (now we are in week 8). And the deadline for the game internship job is 7th December and I've done almost nothing on my game this month because I always prioritize stupid courseworks first. If I wasn't so conformistic and I was smarter,  I could have just worked on my game and get B or C in uni, and now I would have had a nicer game. This is the difference between smart person and stupid person, I'm stupid. Now I will go to uni as a punishment. Because I can't take decisions on my own. I wanted to leave a long time ago, but I will stay.

 

 

Specially you shouldn't ask me, I did that: I got fed up with -put your insult here- and professors. So I'm making myself a path while learning along my "indie" autistic ways.

At least you had the balls. I would have been proud of myself.

Edited by codeBoggs

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Taking a gap year is another possibility.

 

It is. But it requires approval from Head of Department, and I need to have a specific reason, like: caring for an elder person, having an internship, take part in an international exchange program etc. My reason is: Hi Mr [ name ], I want to take a gap year, because I first want to try to find a job without paying another 9k, and then if I can't find a job, I will come back next year so you can take my money. 

Edited by codeBoggs

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Here's the thing.

 

  • In reality, you're gonna need that degree if you want to find a programming job of any kind.
  • If you think the material is beneath you, then see if you can test out of those classes to take more challenging ones.
  • You not going to lecture is literally you wasting your own money and time. It might be a bore, but it's stupid not to go.
  • If the class is so easy, then look for projects at school or on the internet to fill in the time.
  • If you're 2 years into a 3 year degree and still not learning anything, then surely you're in a internship of some sort.
Edited by Alpheus

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Many students fail to consider learning a range of things while in university that can in turn help them a lot more than they realize in life:

 

Literature focused classes have had some of the best return on investment from my university time, and things I've learned while listening to someone lecture on about Shakespeare and Paradise Lost have had a direct impact on my income.

 

Improved writing and communication skills have been a huge factor in securing contracts compared to where I expect I would have been without that time in such 'useless' classes that didn't teach me anything 'related to my degree' as many would see it.

 

Another important impact of the range of arts and non-computer related science classes has general familiarity across a wider range of subjects, which in turn offers social flexibility, and greatly increases the breadth on which I've been able to move around social circles. I actually secured an exceptionally lucrative contract on the side which I can directly trace through coffee with a friend while talking about books.

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But I don't talk about non-computer related classes or classes being beneath me. University has a lot of benefits and I've learned some stuff. (kind of)

 

But if you just look at it from a commercial point of view, 27k is not worth it. But I've already paid 18k, too late to return.

 

I'm just venting, because I made a huge mistake. But it's ok. I have to listen to my parents for now because they are paying the bills. Once I find a job, nobody can tell me shit.

Edited by codeBoggs

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