There really is no right or wrong way to do college but here are some simple truths to help you write the best college chapter possible.
You’re going to need a small few ‘confidants.’ Essentially your college family, to be there for you and vice versa. After that, there’s your wider circle of friends, the more the merrier. You don’t need to love everything about all of them and you don’t need to be best friends with everyone. Unfortunately you’re also going to meet a lot of toxic individuals**. Don’t worry about them, you no longer need to associate with the people you don’t like and it’s class.
How to make friends? It’s as simple as getting out of the house and getting involved in all opportunities that come your way. I got to know my friends on a library tour of all things. The first week of college is full of insufferable small talk and names you won’t remember. I have the most random numbers in my phone from orientation week and yeah phone numbers were a thing. Just be a better version of yourself for a day or two, fool people into thinking you’re normal and then boom they’re stuck with you. Seriously though, making friends is easy because everyone else starting college wants them too, so fear not. Nights out and alcohol break down those awkward barriers pretty quickly. That’s why attending class nights is so important in the beginning. Nothing breeds friendship like a shared love for tequila and exchanging names over a toilet bowl after one two many. The more involved you get the better it will be, literally go to everything you can, meet as many people as you can. You need to put in the effort and you’ll be rewarded.
- You do you.
Forget about fitting in. Everyone is alternative these days, to the point that I am starting to feel different for being so basic. There’s thousands of people here so there is no ‘normal’ anymore. Dress how you like, act how you like. College isn’t like school, you can be whoever you want to be and eventually you will find like-minded people to share your college experience with. Don’t get me wrong, there are still going to be bitches on every corner judging your every move, the difference is, no-one cares about their opinion so it just doesn’t matter.
This might come as a shock but even though you are college student, You don’t have to care about the environment, LGBTQ rights, veganism, feminism etc. You don’t have to care about anything. You are entitled to have your own views and opinions on everything. There is a culture breeding in universities that if you’re not a social justice warrior then you’re a baddie. No. Freedom of thought and speech, that’s what third level education is meant to be about. An incredibly popular opinion may imply to you that it must be right, however that is usually not the case. People are sheep, popular opinion is not always right. Some of these opinions are uninformed and influenced by their friends and social media. Have an open mind and don’t be afraid to form your own thoughts on absolutely everything and anything.
Keep it in the back of your mind that you are in fact here to get a degree.
Do all of your continuous assessment during the semester. By the time the exams come around you will be very stressed out as, hopefully, you will have spent the last few months having a great time. You’ll be very glad to have those continuous assesment marks. Just like five euro will mean a lot more to you by December, 5% grows in value too.
Study week is hell on earth. People freaking out all around you, getting up at ridiculous hours or not going to bed at all, spending more time drinking monster than doing actual work. You should go home if you want to get actual work done. I usually stick around as I find the extreme levels of procrastination entertaining and I don’t like actually studying.
Make friends in the older years. It’s not school anymore and there are many was to study wrong. Advice from people who have been there done that and who will probably have past papers etc will be incredibly beneficial.
Failing exams is not the end of the world but repeating them during the Summer is really really gross so just do a bit of study along the way to avoid that.
- Netflix needs to go.
I am clapping myself on the back for this piece of college-life changing advice, take it. Only you will suffer if you spend your time sitting in on your laptop. Don’t do that, seriously. It is the largest waste of your young life imaginable. Save ‘House of cards’ for when you’re old and can’t physically do anything else. It won’t make you happy. You should be doing absolutely anything else. OK, make an exception that you can watch it in company, Even then I’d be more inclined to encourage the ‘chill’ side of things. Or watch it when you’re avoiding your family at the weekend, that’s fair enough. There are oppurtunities to have new experiences and meet great people every day in college. GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM.
- Drugs man.
They’re everywhere. As the year progresses, It might seem like everyone is on drugs so they’re probably fine. It’s very likely that all those people are wrong. There is a bubble that exists and whoever is in that bubble doesn’t seem to see drugs as dangerous anymore. I expressed concern to a friend of mine once about a teenager in Dublin who had recently died after taking one bad pill. She replied, ‘No Sarah, that girl took a generic form of the drug’ Oh, silly girl. So where can I get my hands on the quality approved, branded drugs from a sound, reliable drug dealer? The truth is they don’t exist. Drugs are a really normal part of nights out and even daily life for a smaller subgroup of the bubble. You might take drugs for your 4 years in college and never have a problem, or you could get unlucky, take one bad pill and die. Oops. I’d advise to avoid:)
- NB Sport.
I dedicated a whole blog post to this one and I’m going to say it again. It might be tempting to abandon your sport when you come to college, it might just happen without you realising. You start drinking in September and wake up one morning and it’s Christmas. It happens. When you do wake up though, think about getting back into your sport. Obviously it will be difficult to train properly when you’re a first year and trying to enjoy your life. But keep it ticking over and then when you’re ready to go back at it again properly, it won’t be so hard. I didn’t run again until my third year of college so it’s really never too late. TBH I do regret not going back sooner as it has changed my college life for the better in so many ways. If you don’t have a sport coming to college, find one. There’s something for everyone but you have to put the work in to find it. Having a sport will give you a sense of purpose during your college years, not to mention the friends you make, the confidence you gain, the invaluable endorphins and the lack of worry about putting on the dreaded ‘Freshers 14’.
- Mind your mind.
Your mental health is the bottom of your priority list, I’ve been there. Just be mindful that issues that have been grumbling away throughout your school years generally come to the fore in college. College is hard and can come with pressures that you didn’t anticipate. With everyone saying it should be the ‘Time of your life’ It can be tempting to pretend that everything’s OK, you may not even realise how stressed you are. If something’s is up, get a little help with dealing with it. Overall it will make you a lot happier. More happy=More fun and you should be aiming to have a lot of that. Talk about it- but be careful to whom. This is where those ‘Confidants’ come in. If you don’t have anyone you fully trust, visit the college chaplain, the welfare officer on the Students Union or go see a counsellor (The college ones are free). If none of those ideas appeal to you, write it down. Do anything just don’t ignore and shove down your feelings. You shouldn’t and don’t need to deal with anything on your own.
- RaNdoMz! 🙂
Don’t ask anyone about their leaving cert points, ever.
Think twice and then again before getting involved with someone in your class. It’s a long few years.
Dublin folk aren’t half bad.
STIs are not a myth and are not reserved for those who sleep around. It just takes the one time. Be safe.
Alka seltzer for a hangover.
Invest in a Macbook. Nothing like a slow, unreliable laptop to turn you off study.
Be yourself. And If you don’t know who that is, what a great time to find out.
- Now Get up, Get out and Embrace the next chapter of your life.