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Playing The Sims 4 Gives Me Anxiety Now


When TS4 Discover University came out, I bought it for the new CAS items, which imo are the best in any pack. However, I have an anxiety disorder, and I get triggered very easily. I don’t like sending sims to university, and I didn’t like it in TS3 either, because I prefer family play.

However, whenever I play a YA without sending them to university, a popup appears saying that they should consider further education, and this, for some reason, always triggers my anxiety. The only way I can continue playing the save without anxiety is to send the sim to university, even though I hate the whole thing.

After sending several generations of sims to university, setting the lifespan to long while they were there so they still had time to have a family afterwards, I got so frustrated that I killed off one of my sims so I wouldn’t have to send her to university. I saved over it and kept playing, but seeing her family constantly in tears over her death made me feel like a monster, so I deleted the save, and I haven’t played the game since.

At this point, I feel like I may never enjoy the game again. I don’t want to start a new save because, if I do, I’ll have to send more sims to university. I also don’t want to uninstall University because I like the CAS items. What should I do?!


  • GordyGordy Posts: 1,394 Member
    You can send your sims to skill classes without having to enroll in university. They only last a few sim-hours, and you can treat it as them getting education part-time, or doing a course for their job.
  • SimAlexandriaSimAlexandria Posts: 4,426 Member
    Tbh, I can mildly relate, but I'm able to move past it and just close the pop up. I HATE that pop up though lol. It sorta feels like you are letting your Sims down by not sending them. I love the bikes, I won't disable the pack as that's what I bought it for, but most the game play in the pack is boring to me and I don't want to send them lol. I don't get anxious about it, but it does trigger "Something" for sure.
  • shorty943pshorty943p Posts: 155 Member
    Oh that foolish "College Education" thing.
    Get the sim on the phone, get them a job as a "Manual Labourer".
    Work a few hours a week mowing lawns or gardening for $45 an hour and no more annoying University advertising.

    Real Life is proving the world already has enough Barista's with a PHD anyway.
  • asimbsimasimbsim Posts: 413 Member
    That sounds like a really tough thing to manage. What I would say is that generally the pop up to consider university options only seems to happen once per sim, so if you only have 1 teen then it should only happen once, quite soon after they age. I'm not sure if it's that that you mean triggers your anxiety and so you feel like you need to go to University, but if it is then maybe knowing that the pop up only happens once might help you to expect it, and then not have to think about it again, so you can try and not send them to university if you don't want to.

    I'm not sure of any mods that prevent the pop-up completely, but maybe someone will come up with one.
  • SharoniaSharonia Posts: 3,002 Member
    I've been having my sims do their university courses from home and I find it much more enjoyable this way. I tried the dorms with a few sims when the pack first released but it got old fast. There's really no benefit to living at the university campus. The events are boring, roommates are annoying and if I keep my sims at home with the family I can still enjoy playing with multiple sims while my student takes care of all the boring homework tasks. I know university is seemingly a hit when it comes to expansions packs but for me personally it falls very flat.
  • Simtown15Simtown15 Posts: 3,743 Member
    Tbh, I can mildly relate, but I'm able to move past it and just close the pop up. I HATE that pop up though lol. It sorta feels like you are letting your Sims down by not sending them. I love the bikes, I won't disable the pack as that's what I bought it for, but most the game play in the pack is boring to me and I don't want to send them lol. I don't get anxious about it, but it does trigger "Something" for sure.

    That’s exactly what I feel like! Most people in this thread are like, “Oh, just ignore it!” But what they don’t understand is that my anxiety continues afterwards because my brain interprets it like this:

  • elanorbretonelanorbreton Posts: 12,256 Member
    I find that pop up annoying, thank goodness it does not trigger my anxiety but I can fully relate to how it could.

    I'm not sure why they felt the need to include it. I mean, if a person has bought the uni pack I am sure they are fully aware of the option to send a sim to uni without getting a reminder.

    Perhaps there is a small mod out there that stops it?
  • Simtown15Simtown15 Posts: 3,743 Member
    I think I’ve figured out why this triggers my anxiety: it reminds me of my own life.

    I was one of those “gifted and talented” kids and people always said how smart I was. I’m currently almost done with high school, which means I’m expected to go to college soon. I also want to be an epidemiologist, which is a high-level job, and probably impossible without going to university.

    However, I don’t want to go to college. Due to my autism, I can barely take care of myself, much less an entire house or even a dorm, and my anxiety makes me feel like staying home in my pjs and playing Sims all day.

    I usually play Sims to escape my anxiety, but now it’s a constant reminder at how I’m failing at life, not because I’m not smart enough, but because I simply hate the idea of going to college as much as I hate sending my sims.
  • elanorbretonelanorbreton Posts: 12,256 Member
    Being anxious about going to uni is natural and common and does not mean you are failing at life, sweetie.

    I'm sure you will get the opportunity to visit different universities and have a look at the student dorms and see what everything is like before deciding to start. But talk it over with your mum/dad or whoever you live with, tell them about your anxiety.

    Maybe if you can start to feel better about it then you can also enjoy the sims again xx
  • MrSunshineMrSunshine Posts: 99 Member
    In the meantime, maybe you can request some modders to make a little mod for you so you don't need to feel anxious. Or is it already exists?
  • HestiaHestia Posts: 1,997 Member
    edited January 27
    shorty943p wrote: »
    Oh that foolish "College Education" thing.
    Get the sim on the phone, get them a job as a "Manual Labourer".
    Work a few hours a week mowing lawns or gardening for $45 an hour and no more annoying University advertising.

    Real Life is proving the world already has enough Barista's with a PHD anyway.

    That is such a heartbreaking, cold hard fact. :s
  • haneulhaneul Posts: 377 Member
    This may be a stretch, but try looking into mods that disable certain pop ups. The best thing, though, is to just close it and continue playing the game. Sims aren’t better having gone to university and you can prove that to yourself by playing one who has the option to go but chooses not to.
  • orangehippogrifforangehippogriff Posts: 936 Member
    Hey, I just want to say that I understand how you feel 100%. I have really bad anxiety too and was also one of the "gifted" kids. Well, due to an eating disorder, horrible anxiety, OCD, and depression I ended up dropping out of high school and getting my high school equivalency diploma. I went through that thing where anything school related would trigger my anxiety and make me feel like a failure. I even tried to go to college when I was 17 and dropped out on the second day!

    But remember, the school system, (especially in America, I'm not sure where you're from,) is mostly complete garbage that's only there to teach you to be obedient rather than be a well rounded, intelligent, and creative person. Going to college actually doesn't make you any smarter, either. You can learn anything you want on your own with a free library card. I just want you to know that you can live a perfectly happy life without going to college. There are so many ways you can get by in this world. I'm still figuring it out, too, but I'm really happy where I am 4 years after dropping out. I'm getting married, so that's something I never thought would ever happen! Life is full of surprises and you will have wonderful times ahead of you no matter what path you choose. :)

    If university came out when I was in a more vulnerable place, I wouldn't have been able to play it without freaking out. It still makes me anxious sometimes, though. If I'm being honest I 100% bought that expansion for the clothes haha.

    I know the pop up is really hard to ignore, but maybe try to tell yourself that your sims are going to educate themselves and work their own way up in the world. You can think of it as an act of brave rebellion against societal norms on your sims part. They can start living life and having fun instead of having to do homework for 4 weeks. Your sims will be no worse off and they will probably be healthier and happier in the long run. Honestly, they could probably make it really high in their career in the time it takes to finish university anyway. Plus they'd have so much more time to live life.

    I really hope you can get back into sims and that you can find it relaxing again. Sims is my escape, too, so I feel really bad that it's stressing you out. Maybe try playing a kind of hippie, off the grid sim that lives in a tiny home and doesn't care about making money and being traditionally successful. Maybe they could fish for a living or sell collectables. :)

    Side note: this is why Island Living is one of my favorite expansions. It's so chill and the island lifestyle is so relaxing for my anxiety. If you don't have that one I highly recommend :D
  • MsKatieRoseMsKatieRose Posts: 406 Member
    If you must, try using the cheat that allows Sims to get their degree automatically. I believe you can look up the cheat code on the internet or Sim related sites.
  • SimAlexandriaSimAlexandria Posts: 4,426 Member
    edited January 27
    ^Island living is one of my favs too for that reason. I finished high school but not college, I couldn't take it anymore and I also did very well in school, everyone figured I'd go to college but I didn't do well cuz I loved it, it was because I was anxious about the disapproval I'd get if I didn't. I couldn't imagine having to turn in an assignment late or failing it. I don't actually have anxiety that I know of, though some family do, but I get very mildly triggered about stuff like this pop up for sure

    I did take some college but dropped out when I found a job I liked.

    I've decided the pop up is so hard to ignore because of the wording. I wish instead of saying that the sims "should be looking at further education" or however it's worded, it just said "Your sim is now a young adult, if you want, they can go to university" or something like that. I'm not sure if it's the same for you, but for me, that wording would help a lot with me not feeling like I let them down by not sending them.

    When I do play I play off campus, but it's just not the pack for me game play wise. I am glad I have it for build and bikes and soccer balls, but I really wish I waited for a sale or bundle.
  • ElliandreElliandre Posts: 297 Member
    edited January 27
    I have autism as well. <3 And I also hate that popup. <3 It really hits you hard in the face and it's so big, takes up the whole screen. I often feel compelled to send my Sims to University, maybe because I personally wasn't able to complete my education, and then I often regret it, but I can't drop out, because I did that already in real life. And the popup drives me nuts as a rotational player, but sometimes I find it hilarious if I just dropped millions in their bank account to build a beach house so they don't ever have to work and can just become mermaids and then they get the popup lol.

    I know it's hard, autism and autism related anxiety isn't like anything you can ignore or turn off and it makes me sad that this feature can't be turned off for you. I think because so many people find the pop up annoying, maybe a mod will come out soon to remove it. I'm a rotational player, and I've noticed not all the Sims get the popup. Maybe someone will figure out what creates the popup so you can do something to avoid it. In the meantime, If you end up feeling like your brain forced you to enroll because of the annoying popup and now you find your Sim in University, I think you should also explore new ways of playing to make it a more fun family-oriented experience and create your own unique University experience that you love. This is what I do.

    The University takes too long for how I like to play and it definitely sends my anxiety through the roof, so just once in a while I will send a Sim. I tried the dorm gameplay and I didn't really like it. I prefer to keep them home and head out to the campus on the weekend or an evening here and there. And I have also renovated that one empty house so it is a nice cute home and I sometimes keep a Sim there alone or bring their family with them or allow one roomate. Right now, I forget about the dorm completely. In real life, a YA might get stuck in a dorm, but that's no reason my Sim can't live in luxury and with a full stove to cook on. The past few days I've started taking my Sim's family everywhere on campus and having a lot of fun. While the University clubs do their thing, my toddlers and kids run around throwing paint, playing or have water balloon fights in the field. I've had some fun getting free food from the cafeteria for my kids and I let them tag along while my Sim studies or tutors. I have my kids wander around in pajamas and do their homework while I study. And I give the Sims only 3 classes, some of them I only give 2 classes if they have a big family. Since I started taking my whole family to the University campus with me, I'm having way more fun. The other thing you can do is just use the testing cheat to add a degree and avoid the whole experience altogether lol. And the great thing is that you will always get a distinguished degree this way. Of course, you have to be okay with using the testing cheats. I did this for Mortimer Goth. I just couldn't imagine him at a campus, but he just felt like he should have a distinguished science degree. I really hope you can figure out a way to enjoy playing again.
  • orangehippogrifforangehippogriff Posts: 936 Member
    Also, to reply to what @SimAlexandria said about the wording, I definitely agree.
    I think it's also a problem with school for kids in the game. Like when they have a C and they come home from school they get a pop up that says something like "No need to make room on the refrigerator door, blank's work is merely satisfactory." There's other text that says things like that, too. It used to bother me a lot but now I'm so used to it that I barely notice it because I close the notifications so fast out of muscle memory. Kinda tempted to use MCCC to allow kids and teens to quit school and just roleplay them as home schooled and reject school altogether...
  • LustianiciaLustianicia Posts: 2,319 Member
    edited January 27
    In Sims 3, my sims would often get the "enroll in university" wish... I'd always just delete it! lol So this popup doesn't really bother me personally... I never send my first generation sims to college because I enjoy seeing them work their way up the ladder. Their kids, however, almost always end up going to college.

    Not only does it allow me to have a realistic middle class family gameplay, but it also prevents me from getting too bored with the game too quickly. If I don't send my first generation sims to college, it allows me to add something new for the next generation's story.

    In real life, not everyone goes to college... and it's for multiple reasons. Some people just don't want to (which is 100% valid). Others just can't afford the time (or money) to do it. Others just have their own personal reasons. All completely valid! :smile: Besides, many people who do go to college sometimes end up working a "normal" job anyway because the field they studied lacks opportunities... and this, sadly, happens a lot...

    Don't feel bad about not wanting to send your sims to university. It's more realistic this way!
    Favorite Packs
    Sims 1: Hot Date
    Sims 2: Seasons
    Sims 2: Happy Holiday Stuff
    Sims 3: Seasons
    Sims 3: 70's, 80's, & 90's Stuff
    Sims 4: Seasons
    Sims 4: Backyard Stuff
    Sims 4: Dine Out Game Pack

  • DCJ504DCJ504 Posts: 112 Member
    I understand your dilemma. I have depression and there are things I avoid so I don't trigger a bigger episode than I may have anyway. (I take meds that help a great deal, but there are still things I feel the need to avoid.) In the end you are the best judge of what you need for your health. The idea of a mod would be a good one, if it exists. The other thing I can think of is to play adults that are not likely to get the pop-up. Stop aging or set it to long lifespan and you can play the adult life stage long enough for it to be both YA and adult. It may not be your normal method of play, but it would allow you to play without the anxiety.
  • YumikatYumikat Posts: 24 Member
    I know the feeling of anxiety and not wanting things shoved at you as if you're doing something wrong by game standards. I thought there was a way to turn off the notifications they give out or is it the tips they give you? I could have sworn there was an option though. If there isn't, then they should make one and well there might be mods out there to stop them so you could look around in that field.
  • DevilNDisguiseDevilNDisguise Posts: 2,193 Member
    If it comes down to not enjoying the game because of a feature you dislike versus playing without some new CAS items you like, but then being able to enjoy playing again, I feel actually enjoying playing is what matters.
  • SimAlexandriaSimAlexandria Posts: 4,426 Member
    Yumikat wrote: »
    I know the feeling of anxiety and not wanting things shoved at you as if you're doing something wrong by game standards. I thought there was a way to turn off the notifications they give out or is it the tips they give you? I could have sworn there was an option though. If there isn't, then they should make one and well there might be mods out there to stop them so you could look around in that field.

    That's online notifications, like you get them if someone favaourited your build in the gallery. This isn't a notification, it's in game and it's a giant pop up that happens whenever a teen becomes a young adult.
  • ElliandreElliandre Posts: 297 Member
    edited January 27
    Hey, by the way, since you also mentioned that you want to become an Epidemiologist, which is awesome, but you will definitely need higher education for that. I just wanted to highly recommend going to your school's department to ask for accommodation and support when it's time to enroll. Every University has both a developmental disability department for Autism and a mental health disability department for Anxiety, Depression etc. Autism is a disability and you are entitled to get support and accommodation while getting your degree and I am pretty sure an anxiety disorder is supported as well. It's fine if you don't want to go to college, but you should explore all your options before giving up on your dream for this career. And if you are struggling academically now, there are bridging programs you can take and upgrading courses etc.

    The working world is nothing like the school world, so to be unable to get your education when you are so smart, just because of the way University life is set up, makes me really, really sad to think about. Why shouldn't you be able to become an Epidemiologist? Not everyone's experience in University needs to be the same, but we all need access to education. University doesn't have to be hard for you. It can be comfortable, fun and exciting. You can even do courses online. Please look into disability accommodation before you make a decision. You deserve a degree if you can do the coursework. And you deserve to go after your dream job. And of course, you need a degree to become an Epidemiologist. Most Epidemiologists have a Master's degree. Sorry to say this, but you will actually need TWO degrees.

    You would not get any advantage with the actual class subjects, which is a big misconception about accommodation, so you absolutely won't feel like a failure or feel like it's an unfair advantage. The department will be able to assess your needs and maybe you would get a private dorm room, ongoing counseling or just having someone to talk to and meet with on a regular basis is a huge source of support, maybe someone to help you manage your dorm room, anxiety etc.. maybe even apartment accommodation off-campus. When you are in the support program, you will also have someone who can communicate with your teachers on your behalf, this is extremely important because Autism is a developmental disability that affects communication and socialization and under a lot of stress, you might really need this support.

    Please don't limit yourself or sacrifice your dream because of your autism. That just makes me want to cry. You will be totally fine if you get some type of support and accommodation in place and if you are not happy then you can switch to a different program. I hate to say it, but I didn't become okay after dropping out. I'm actually very poor and have no health/dental benefits, so please, please, please become an Epidemiologist or anything you can afford to take, even a technical college diploma done online will help you a lot. A study was done on high functioning Autistic people found that the majority were not accommodated in school like other disability groups, even though they outscored them on all tests proving a great potential, and ended up mostly working minimum wage jobs that rely on social and communication skills, what they are least suited to, like Customer Service or administration work, were unmarried and suffering lack of health and dental care and had a very hard, stressful quality of life (this is where I am), whereas the minority of high functioning Autistic people who were enrolled in disability support programs and had a system in place around them to help them were found to be working as computer engineers, lawyers, architects, accountants, programmers, doctors, scientists, etc. and had on average an very secure, high quality of life, were more healthy and likely to be married, and were thriving in their chosen careers. (This is the path you should take.)You are smart. You can get your degree. You can become an Epidemiologist. Unless you don't want to be an Epidemiologist anymore now that I told you it will probably take two degrees.. :#

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