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There could be a good reason you're struggling in first yearvia Flickr/Michael Dorokhov

Miserable in Freshers’ Week? No worries, you’re clever

A new study makes links between lower general well-being and high intelligence in first year university students

Going to university is supposed to be the ultimate rite of passage for a young person, right? Finally unleashed from the lamentable shackles of your parents and small town, you can dive into new more exciting friendships, a hotter, larger pool of people to hook up with and a new city to make your own.

The thing is for a lot of people, it’s awful. But don’t stress too much. If you aren’t enjoying it much, it might just be because you’re really fucking smart.

According to a new study, gifted students in freshmen year struggle with their personal well-being. The research undertaken by Dr. Clifton J. Wigtil and his colleague Dr. Gregg R. Henriques was designed to examine the relationship between well-being and intelligence in young adults.

Over three years, 3,829 freshmen students were assessed on measures of well-being prior to the beginning of each autumn term. They measured autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth and purpose in life and compared them to each student’s SAT scores.

“This study revealed that for the sample of young adults, the more intelligent students were, the lower their PWB (personal well-being) tended to be,” Wigtil and Henriques wrote in the study. 

So what does this mean? Well that maybe as a high achieving pupil, you’re mentally badly equipped for the stresses and socialising of first year. Or perhaps those who concentrated less on school work before higher education had more time to learn to be a fun-loving, happy functioning person who thrives in a wider environment. 

The study concludes that smart students might benefit from interventions that address social isolation. This “could ultimately improve the lives of these individuals with great potential to success and improve the world”. Basically, allow people with great minds to apply them IRL.

This study is interesting in the context of what we already know about being a student in the UK. Students struggle with mental health issues. In a survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation, possible clinical anxiety among students was recorded in 46 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women. Possible clinical depression was found in 12 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. And last year's stats from the Higher Education Statistics Agency suggested that 1 in 10 students drop out in the first year of uni in the UK. From a personal British perspective, going from studying 24/7 at home to trying to be a sociable person around loads of new people was totally jarring.

There are a lot of factors that can limit your well-being at uni. But if next month you end up hiding in your halls room watching Buffy like most of us did, take solace in the fact that it might just mean you’re a genius.