LEAVING CERT students across the country received their college offers this week, and excitement is running high in thousands of households.
But while most people are excited to start their college career, it’s totally normal to feel a bit nervous.
Worry not, because we have a bit of advice for you…
1 Talk to everyone on the first day
Everyone is out of their comfort zones, in a new city and excited to meet new people. Don’t be afraid to approach people, and don’t worry about being shy—everyone is in the same boat.
2 Be yourself
Sure it’s a cliché, but clichés exist for a reason. You’re finished with secondary school, you’re no longer held to the schoolyard politics that have haunted you for the past decade. Your new college holds thousands of people with different interests and you’ll always find someone you fit in with. Don’t waste your energy making friends with people you can’t be yourself with.
3 Join a club
Every college, no matter how small, have dedicated student-run groups where like-minded people can get together and enjoy their favourite hobbies together. Whether it’s a film club, anime club, juggling, rowing—there’s something for everyone.
4 Find the deals
Your student card opens up a world of discounts, because everyone knows that students struggle with money. Generally your student card will deliver discounts in pharmacies, clothes shops and certain fast-food restaurants. Plus, most bus and train operators offer student tickets which are much cheaper than the general ‘adult’ ticket.
5 Don’t start an essay the night before it’s due
You’ll hear people claim “Due tomorrow, do tomorrow”, but if you look closely, their eyes are filled with fear. They’re just tamping down the paralysing panic by encouraging others to do the same. Procrastination is not your friend. You might get it in just before the deadline but you’ll always feel a bit shameful that you could have got a better grade if you had started earlier.
6 Don’t be afraid to admit if it all becomes too much
All colleges have dedicated services set up to help students who are worried about coursework, rent or even making friends. Whether it’s Mental Health services or financial aid, there’s always someone you can turn to if you need advice. Even opening up to a flatmate over a cup of tea can release the weight from your chest—and even if someone looks like they’re doing brilliantly, starting the conversation almost always leads to the other person admitting they’re struggling with some of the same things.
7 Don’t take a 9am Friday class.
If you have any choice at all, just don’t do it. ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ are a real thing in college towns. You’ll face the choice of missing the night and suffering from serious FOMO, or go into your class sick, tired and barely alive. You will not understand a word the lecturer is saying.
8 Don’t drink Buckfast
Buckfast is an enigma. It has the volume of your average bottle of wine but there’s something in it that just turns people crazy. It’s like absinthe mixed with cough syrup. One moment you’re grand, the next moment you’re chanting “BUCKY, BUCKY, BUCKY” on a table in a nightclub while security is trying to drag you out. The next thing you know you wake up alone with no friends and the worst Fear of your life.