Top 10 Annoying Things at College (and What To Do About Them)

Perturbed by regular problems at school? The professors have the remedies.

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Unfortunately, college is not all fun and games: There are many annoyances college students have to put up with. Some students count going to class as one of them. We can't help you there. But if the petty problems of day-to-day college life are getting on your nerves, we have some remedies for you. Have a look at our top 10 annoyances—and how you might get around them:

Annoyance No. 1: I hate this class. It's ______________ (choose one or more): unbelievably boring, way too hard, a total waste of my time, not anything like I was thinking, or (fill in your own reason).

Remedy: Drop the sucker, or if the instructor is the problem, switch to another section of the same course. If you're stuck with the course—because only one professor is teaching it, the other sections are all closed, or your schedule is so wedged in that you can't change courses—at least try to find something about the course that's interesting to you. Maybe it'd be the reading, one topic you're studying, or discussions in your study group.

Annoyance No. 2: There aren't enough seats in the lecture hall, so I have to sit in the aisle.

Remedy: Get your a** to class earlier. Or try sitting on your friend's lap. (That'll make the class less boring, too.)

Annoyance No. 3: I'm closed out of the classes I want. And, if that wasn't enough, the classes I do have meet at 7:30 a.m.—I haven't been up that early since fourth grade—and that's the morning after my night class that goes 'til 10.

Remedy: If you hadn't been such a doofus, you would have preregistered (or attended orientation) as early as possible. Oh well, chalk it up to experience. But even now, you can get on the wait list for better times—and actually adjust your schedule when they come through. And while you're waiting, you might try to sweet talk the professor (or TA or departmental secretary, depending on who controls the "overrides") into a spot in the course (which may not work no matter how sweet you talk but is still worth a shot).

Annoyance No. 4: I'm at my wit's end about the school requirements (distribution, gen ed, prerequisites, courses for the major, etc.). No mere mortal could figure out this stuff.

Remedy: Start with the school website. Often, for legal reasons and to prevent endless fighting, the website contains the school's official rule book—written in enough detail so that, if you take the time to puzzle it out, the information is actually all there. If you're still confused—which you probably are—seek out a real human interpreter: Depending on your level, a general college adviser or a departmental adviser (look to your major department) might do the trick.

Annoyance No. 5: I didn't get the grade I deserved on my test (or paper).

Remedy: Begin by going over the comments (if any), trying—hard—to make sense of what the grader is complaining about. If you're still convinced there was an error in the grading, go see the grader (who could be the professor, the TA, or some nameless "grader" you'll have to hunt down); nicely explain your point of view; and listen (again trying hard to understand) his or her response. If it still seems appropriate, you can ask for the work to be regraded, though you should keep in mind that some graders reserve the right to lower the grade on review. Might not be worth the risk.

Annoyance No. 6: I'm never able to log on to the university computer (to get my E-mail, download E-reserves, browse the library, check my course schedule, or preregister).

Remedy: Other than convincing your university to get a better server or get rid of a few thousand students, you might be stuck having to log on during less-trafficked, weird times. How many students are going to be logging in at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning? And why bother with the university E-mail system when there are so many better, free alternatives (click here for ratings). And, of course, it doesn't hurt to make sure your password is up-to-date: Many universities require you to change each semester (and barely even notify you).

Annoyance No. 7: The food in my dorm sucks.

Remedy: See if your meal plan allows you to eat at other dorms, then ask around to see which dorm (if any) offers decent food. Or try bringing along some of your own food to brighten up the offerings—sometimes even one better item, sauce, or dressing can spruce up an otherwise dismal meal. If the food is simply beyond saving, you might want to consider moving to an apartment next year, where you won't be stuck with paying for inedible fare—at least, inedible fare that you yourself didn't cook.

Annoyance No. 8: My parking spot is so far from my classes that I have to run a marathon every morning just to get to class on time.

Remedy: Consider carpooling with someone with a better parking spot (think upperclassperson, honor student, or scion of rich alumnus). Or you might try to snag a prime spot by buying one from a friendly staff member or professor who isn't using theirs. And why not consider saving the planet on your way to class by taking public transport or a bike?

Annoyance No. 9: I have the roommate from hell, who keeps me up every night with his/her partying—or, worse, insists on going to bed at 8:30 p.m. and getting up at 6 a.m.

Remedy: This could be an excellent time for a room swap—ask your RA about this. If you can't swap, try finding a friend who will let you sleep over. A lot. (Of course, you can always try talking to your roommate about the problem. Probably won't work, because that's why he/she's from hell.)

Annoyance No. 10 : College is breaking my budget. I'm all tapped out on my credit cards, and dad will kill me with an ax if I ask again for money.

Remedy: Try Grandpa. Alternatively, reduce the costs of textbooks by buying E-textbooks, renting, or borrowing them. Try to cut down on going out—consider freeloading at parties (know any fraternities or sororities?) instead of forking out your own bucks at the local pub. Stop paying for dates. Other ways to cut back? Reduce your travel costs by going home less frequently. And don't forget to keep applying for fellowships and prizes, especially in your major: Many departments give out lots of prizes and don't have lots of students competing for them.

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