It’s that wonderful time of year again where colleges all over Ireland reopen their doors to old, new and foreign students alike. For all those first time college students, here is some useful advice to help you survive the year without dying from a breakdown.
1.You’ll soon realise that the high cost of living isn’t a joke. Everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, costs money. You’ll start to become more nervous checking your bank account after a night out than you were getting your leaving cert results. Not to worry though, you’ll soon master the art of getting drunk and partying on less than €20.
2.Many students find comfort in fuelling themselves with coffee. Only problem is, students take this comfort too far and they over indulge in caffeine. This habit has become a trend and is subconsciously being picked up by freshers wanting to blend with older college students. Don’t get into this habit because caffeine actually increases anxiety, causes headaches, indigestion and insomnia. Which are the last things you need when attending early lectures.
3. Despite the fact that you worked so hard to get into the course you’re in, you’ll soon find yourself questioning whether it’s truly what you want to do. You’ll have panic attacks over whether or not you’ve made the right choice or a horrible mistake. It’s okay to feel this way, I repeat, IT’S OKAY. Everyone feels this way at some point and if you realise you’ve made a mistake, you’re young. It’s never too late to start over.
4. You’ll soon be introduced to the wonderful, confusing world of referencing. You’ll be shown how to reference only once and by god if you don’t get it the first time, you’re screwed.Don’t worry though, there are final year students who still don’t have a clue how to reference. Just attempt to do it right and hope for the best.
5. In your first few weeks, your lecturers will recommend various expensive books that are “compulsory” for your course. This is only half true. Coming from someone who rarely had enough money to eat, expensive books did not factor into my already tight budget. Make avail of your library’s photocopy machine and the internet. Now I’m not saying you should illegally download books, because that’s illegal, very illegal, but make use of the internet and search for a good bargain!
6. Don’t worry about the little things. It’s natural to start the year with unrealistically high hopes, only to have them rapidly crashing down. So what if you don’t understand your classes or find it hard to study? Remember, college is all about learning what suits you best. It might take time to figure it all out but enjoy it and make sure you have fun. If you don’t take time to chill, you’ll regret it. When else will it ever be acceptable to be unemployed, poor and still be making your parents proud? Enjoy the feeling while it lasts.
7. In the first few weeks, you’re going to meet a lot of new people. Don’t be tempted to cling on to the first person who talks to you. Mix with different people and naturally you’ll make friends with like-minded people.
8. You’ll begin to wonder how you were once able to stay in school for 6 hours when an hour’s lecture feels like a lifetime. You’ll be tired all the time and it won’t even matter how much or little you’ve slept the night before. Remember fruit and vegetables are not your kryptonite! If they’re too expensive to buy, steal them from home, or better yet get your mother to buy you supplements. Don’t be the kid who relies on red bull to keep their eyes open.
9. Whether you find yourself needing the previously mentioned advice or not, remember to make your time in college memorable. Explore all the facilities your college has to offer. Be bold and try new things.