You got through the Leaving Cert. Pat yourself on the back, because you did it. Everyone kept telling you that you couldn’t do it, but I knew you could. I had your back. I believe in you, boo. Now that you’ve got this far, what happens next? You go to college, and start the next stage of your life that brings you that little bit closer to becoming a real adult. Those pearly gates of university hold the next 3-4 years of your life inside, as well as a multitude of different people, personalities and pens. But don’t be fooled, while college is easy-going and not at all like school, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you should avoid, like the 9am lectures that you will soon realise are just not viable for a healthy life.

Sitting too close to someone in a lecture.

Now hear me out. I’m all for socialisation (most of the time), and of course you need to sit beside someone to talk to them. I obviously know this, and most definitely did not spend my first year of college sitting on my own. Obviously. But there’s a limit. When the lecture hall that holds 400 people only has 20 in it, it can be a bit unnerving when someone scooches their eager little bum all the way across the row of seats, to sit beside you. And not converse with you. Leaving you both sitting there, perfect strangers in far too close a proximity, without acknowledging how odd it is. Too close my friend, too close.

Sitting too far away from everybody in a lecture.

Of course, the polar opposite of my previous point is not any better. When everyone has settled on a general side of the lecture hall or classroom, please do not find yourself on the other side, surrounded by empty seats and the evident loneliness that you will emit to your classmates. And don’t hide in the back in the darkness, either. You’re not Edward Cullen, luv.

mistakes hall

“Hold on tight, Spider Monkey”. “Ehhh, I just wanted a seat. But you’re grand, I’ll go somewhere else … “

Joining every society possible, imaginable, and available.

Everyone! Repeat after me! We! Do! Not! Need! To! Join! Every! Society! In! The! College! Yay! Despite what your Mammy may say, societies are not the pinnacle and home-ground of college friendships. Do you really think you’re going to find your platonic soulmate in the AGM of the Tom Selleck Mustache Appreciation Society? Leave the TSMAS members to themselves.

Bathing in silence.

We all get nervous. Unless you’re a lucky (or unlucky) one, you will not go to college with your secondary school bestos. That means in your first tutorial or small class in college, you won’t know anyone. And they won’t know anyone either. What’s the best to make a group of strangers even more awkward? Pure, unadulterated silence. SO, speak. Just speak. Say anything. The first class sets the tone for the rest of the year. Don’t find yourself in a class that seems to not have the ability to speak.

Chewing a pen. 

The ultimate mistake, from which you never come back. Should you forget your pencil case, or your singular pen, and need to borrow one, remember what you’re doing. That pen is not yours. It is not yours to put in your mouth. Do everyone a favour and just write with it. Please. You don’t make friends by chewing someone else’s pen. Trust me.

Choose your bag wisely. 

It’s college, it’s not a holiday. You do not need a bleedin’ suitcase, nor do you need a big school bag that you used in First Year. Your choice of bag says a lot about you. You don’t want people’s first impressions to be based on the tiny handbag you bought but doesn’t even fit a refill pad in it, do you?


And so, after much searching, Ross decided he was ready to enter the golden gates of Trinity, with a 15kg bag on his back.

The Leaving Cert.

PSA: The Leaving Cert is OVER. Gone. Dunzo hunzo. There’s no need to bring it up every two seconds when you’re in college. Don’t ask people what they got. Mostly because it’s irrelevant, but also because not everyone in your course will have come straight from the Leaving Cert, so they have the age, and wisdom, to not care about your 475 points. Shush little grasshopper.

Forgetting to shower.

Freshers week is an amazing time to go out and drink with strangers, and sleep in and freak out because you’ve missed your first lecture. However, let’s just keep the filth in the bedroom. No one wants a sweaty/smoke/alcohol smelling partner for their presentation, so let’s keep up with the cleanliness please. It’s for your own good.

Asking before going to the toilet in a lecture.

Wish should someone would have told me this before I started college, but that’s neither here nor there. Bitch. Anyway, if you need to empty that lil’ bladder, you go do it. Preferably not on the steps of the lecture hall, but in the bathroom, for which you do not need to seek permission to go. Just leave quietly and calmly, like when your Mam is shouting at you because you never unloaded the dishwasher. Quietly and calmly.


This goes for classes and social events. Although freshers week may stretch your wallet and your liver a little further than you’re used to/capable of, but you should really try to go to at least the first lecture of each module. That way, you will have a vague idea of what will happen, and can therefore plan strategically which ones to skip! Show your face around the campus, don’t hide in your room, claiming “Netflix and Chill”. We all know you’re just scared and lonely. Lucky for you, so is everyone is, so gowan ya rascal, get out there!

Clodagh McMeel.