It’s like your first day of school all over again. New building, people, teachers and rules that liberate you from secondary school. The first few weeks of first year can be daunting. Here’s a Ned’s Declassified style guide to help ease you in.
Get your bearings:
Take a look around campus. Don’t just check out lecture halls, canteen, bus stop. Do a bit of exploring and you could find your favourite chill spot or an awesome café. Canteens can be great for proper meals and a decent enough lunch (Chill downtown in Maynooth. Thank you for saving me several times). Try different places and see what works for you. Don’t worry about getting lost. It will happen. Believe me.
Bring a laptop:
Computer rooms in libraries can be jammers, especially during exam season. The computers can be mad slow and in bits too. Having your own laptop will negate these issues as pretty much every building should have Wi-Fi in some way. Pro-tip number 2, get yourself a USB and save whatever your working on to it. You don’t have to buy one either, you’ll probably get one from a society if you join one.
You’ll make new friends. You will! How you’ll do it can send the social anxiety into overdrive, however. Don’t worry about not making friends with people in your course. Most of my pals I met in college I met through clubs and societies like Trampoline club, Radio or Games. Before you know it you’re getting lunch and hanging out in-between classes.
Everyone in college is looking to make friends. They want to look out for each other. It’s incredibly unlikely that someone won’t be up for a casual chat unless you’re disturbing them from their work.
Managing Your Work Load and Dealing with Professors:
No matter how determined you say you are to get every project done the day it’s assigned, that’s not going to happen. Assignments have timed deadlines and if you’re so much as two minutes late, you’re out of luck. Professors can be very understanding if you’ve a legitimate excuse and they’ll usually throw you a bone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and if you feel like you’re struggling. Some professors are sound enough to help you directly and there are councillors that’ll help you out.
Taking these tips on board but don’t forget to just go with the flow. Do good work and study first of course, but let loose every now again. Have fun, make friends, join societies, try new things and look after yourself. College is a time for fun, experimentation and finding out about yourself. It also involves going to the bar in-between classes and getting soakage from chicken goujons.