-Remember, it’s everyone around yous first day of college too, they’re freaking out just as much as you are!
-Say hello to at least one person. Even if the idea of talking to someone puts the fear of God in you, try to say hi to at least one person. Try strick up conversations. The first day is the best time to make friends.
- If you’re lost, ask someone where you have to go. Chances are they’re either new and lost too, or else they have at one point in their lives been new and lost. Either way they will be more than happy to help you out. No point in wasting time running around like a headless chicken!
-Check a map of the college online the night before so you have more of an idea of where you’re going.
- You’ll get your student card on your first day but find out if you need a library card and when you’ll be able to get your student travel card.
-Explore the campus thoroughly and get to know where everything is. It’ll make your life a lot easier later on.
- Wear your favourite outfit to make you feel super attractive and cool (as long is its comfortable and not too fancy). But don’t show up in a tracksuit. Leave that for the second week.
- Talk to as many people as possible!
- Bring a notebook and pen, you will definitely need one at least 20 times throughout the day.
- Bring a snack with you because it’ll be a long day and you might not get much time for food.
-Try not to get too overwhelmed. If you feel yourself panicking just go into the bathroom and take a few deep breaths.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged so you can 1) keep track of the time and 2) put in the numbers of your new friends.
- If you’re going to bring your laptop with you to take notes only do it if you can handle lugging it around the place all day. By the end of the day it will feel ten times heavier. And for the first day you probably wont need more than a pen and paper.
- Where you sit on the first day will probably be where you sit for the rest of the year.
- If you’re able to roam the campus in the days preceding your first day, do. It’ll help you get to know the layout and you might make some friends or run into the lecturers.
- I know it’ll be difficult but go to bed early the night before and get a lot of sleep the night before. It’ll be a loooong day.
When studying, study the hardest subject first. The easier ones will then seem like a breeze. If you leave the hardest one until last you’ll just end up avoiding it forever.
Take study breaks every hour or so. If you’re in the library you can leave your stuff on the table and disappear for twenty minutes or so (but if the libraries are packed and you’re gone for more than half an hour you’ll probably get some side-eye on your way back in)
Take advantage of wearing your favourite clothes in the first week because by the second week you and everyone else will be in baggy pants, pajamas and dungarees.
Try get to class on time to avoid the embarrassment of having to walk in when the lecture has started.
Go to college the morning after big events. These are usually very calming days when the most fun things happen because everyone’s hungover and delusional.
The social dynamics are completely different than secondary school. It’s a completely fresh start and everyone is on the same social level.
The canteen lady and the security guards will be your best friends by fourth year.
Start your work as soon as you get it because it will pile up very quickly and next thing you know it’s four o’clock in the morning and you’re crying over an essay that’s due in 5 hours and you only have 200 words.
If you’re in art college you’ll soon learn that the majority of the time the art work comes first and the concept behind it comes later.
It’s ok to take sick days once in a while but its also very easy to fall behind, so do try to drag your ass in. And if you’re not going to make it send a quick email to your lecturer apologising for your absence.
There’s a big difference between sitting on the left side of the room and the right side of the room. I dont know what it is, but its there.
With smaller classes, where everyone sits on the first day is where they will sit for the rest of the year because of some unspoken force.
If you feel like wearing your penneys finest baggy pants into college- do it. It’s fine. No one cares.
The Writing/Resource centre is extremely helpful to some people and completely crappy for others. It’s all about how you learn, and both ways are ok. But if you struggle with writing in any way it’s always worth paying them a visit.
Some of the colleges have their doctors office in ridiculously public places (IADT’s is right across from the canteen and you have to weave in and out of the chairs to get to it. If you have to pee in a cup everyone will know about it.) so your privacy on that front may not be so private.
Learn how to cook, and eat healthily. The more you know about cooking the cheaper you can make healthy foods. Living off ramen noodles might seem like the cheapest option, but if you know what you’re doing there are cheaper and better ways.
The person with the car will become your best friend.
If anyone’s going for a ride somewhere and asks if you wanna come along, say yes. It doesnt matter what you’re doing, drop it and go with them. 99.9% of the time it’ll be the funnest thing you do all day.
Make as many connections as you can because they will be vital come job hunting time when you leave college.
Most of what you learn about during these years will be outside of the classroom. Especially if you’re in art college, it’ll be the life experiences that really shape the path you will take.
Ring home often. Don’t loose touch with your family because they probably miss you like hell.
But don’t go home every single weekend, you’ll miss all the fun. Plus weekends are sometimes needed to catch up on work.
Take pictures. Lots of them. Your years in college are worth documenting.
You will almost definitely cry in public at least once a year and that’s totally ok, you’ll probably get a free cup of tea out of it.
Have a snack with you at all times.
You will be a completely different person by the end of first year.
Living with new people is always going to come with some difficulties, especially when its everyones first time living out of home. While most of the time you wont have any problems, here are some tips on dealing with a nightmare of a housemate.
If the house is always in a mess, suggest a cleaning rota and write one up.
If they’re doing something wrong, don’t be afraid to bring it up with them. Especially is its someone who is living away from their parents for the first time since they probably don’t realise they’re doing anything wrong. Even if they’re mad at first they’ll eventually thank you for your honesty. There’s also no point in you being uncomfortable for their sake.
When confronting your housemate about something, do it in private and make sure they’re not rushing off somewhere in order to ensure they give you their full attention.
When confronting a housemate, speak calmly and don’t get angry or start yelling. Talk in a mature and direct manner.
If you are worried about their reaction, bring in a third unbiased housemate as a mediator. If you’re in on campus housing your RA will be able to mediate or find someone else to do it.
Always trust your gut.
Have regular house meetings so you can talk openly about any issues ye have.
Don’t use post-its to tell your housemates about things- do it in person or else they’ll claim to have ‘never seen the post it’.
If they’re constantly walking into your room without knocking, dont be afraid to lock your door (or prop something up against it if you dont have a key) they’ll get the message eventually.
If they’re eating your food, confront them about it before resorting to sharpie-ing your name everywhere. Same with if they’re taking your stuff. People growing up in large households will be used to sharing everything and might need a heads up that that’s not how everyone is.
The most important thing to remember is not to let yourself live uncomfortably just for the sake of others. You don’t need that extra stress! It’s best to get things out in the open.
Entering into new ventures after leaving school can leave you feeling very lost and lonely, especially when all your friends seem to have their shit together. But I can guarantee you that they’re probably just as lost as you are. But with your school friends all going off to different colleges and some of them going overseas, sometimes meeting new friends can seem like an impossible and daunting experience. Especially if you’re someone with varying levels of social anxiety. But don’t worry; we’re here to provide some help on how to avoid loneliness in your first few months of post-school life.
Stay in touch with your school friends. This can seem impossible with everyone being so busy and for the first few weeks it might be, but it will get easier once everyone sinks into a schedule. Have one last night out before you all leave for college and have nights out together every few months. Try keep in touch via social networks. Im not talking about making sure to message them every day, just link them to anything that reminds you of them to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Don’t let how much you miss your school friends to stop you from making new ones. Chances are they’re going to be completely different than your school friends, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Embrace it.
Phone home often.
Join societys and clubs, both in college and outside college. It’s a good way to distract yourself and is the easiest environment to make friends in.
If you’re living with new people organise nights out or nights in where you can all hang out and get to know each other.
Go to college events and participate in any charity or community things that are happening through your college.
Organise or join study groups with the people in your class.
Remember everyone’s name. They’re more likely to respond positively to you when you use their name when you’re saying to them in the corridor.
If you’re at a loss with what to say when talking to someone for the first time, don’t be afraid to state the obvious. Hells, you can even talk about the weather if you’re that stuck. (or if there’s music on, talk about the music. if it’s your first college event, say so.) Or even you can be completely honest and say ”sorry im not good at talking to new people, i get really nervous” and then they’ll steer the conversation for you.
If the college has multiple common areas for studying, don’t stick to one place. Moving around gives you more of a chance of getting to talk to new people.
If you’re invited somewhere, do try and go. Even if you only know one person who will be there and you’re pretty sure they’ll ignore you 95% of the time, go anyway and talk to someone else.
The more you talk to people the easier it becomes. So even if you bomb your first few conversations, don’t give up, just learn as you go.
Asking people what they’re studying is always the best opener.
Make friends with the staff- the canteen workers, the receptionist, the security guard. I dont mean become their bff or anything but get to know them enough so that if you’re feeling lonely you can go to them for a quick two minute chat when you’re passing by.
If social anxiety is really effecting your lonliness levels in college then you should try go to counselling, either in college or outside. A counsellor will help you through your anxiety and equip you with he right tools to help get past it.
College is completely different than school in that there isn’t any cliches. The jock becomes best friends with the art student and everyone turns into a nerd. So just be yourself.
Disabilities, Learning Difficulties, and Health Problems in College
Most colleges have access to a doctor, either for free or for a very small fee. If you are frequently sick or have a long term illness find out the location and price of the doctor in the college you plan to attend.
If it’s a long term illness you have it would be a good idea to get an appointment with the doctor at the start of the year (if you plan on using your college doctor as your main doctor). They can therefore get the low-down on your illness and be in a better position to help you when you need it.
Most colleges will provide extra help and special laptops to those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Before you go, find out who you have to talk to about it (usually an Access Officer or a learning support person) and set up a meeting so they can help you out immediately.
Before you go to college make sure you inform your college about your disability. There may be special considerations and help available to you, depending on the college. You may be eligible for an on-hand tutor, extra exam time, or a room to yourself while taking exams. If you have a learning disability you may also be able to record lectures or receive specially printed notes.
If you are wheelchair bound or have mobility problems, check the accessibility of the college. Unfortunately a lot of colleges in Ireland are not wheelchair accessible, but each college will do their best to accommodate you.
Each college has an Access Officer whose job is to make your life easier, so make sure you meet them before you start college and bring any problems you have up with them.
Most colleges will have a counsellor but getting an appointment with them is going to be difficult. The waiting lists will be very long, so book your appointment as soon as possible.
Whether you’re heading overseas for college or just to escape this rock of country, here’s some important things to keep in mind and point you in the right direction.
Going abroad to study:
-Make sure you thoroughly research the college/university. Get to know what facilities are available in each college/university before you choose one. -Check the average living costs of the country to ensure that it will be affordable. -Check what the qualifications you will be receiving are and what countries they’re recognised in. -Check if you need a student visa/permit.
Going abroad just to get out of this damn country:
-Check the average living costs of the country and compare it to the standard minimum wage. -You will more than likely need a visa, so check the prices and what each visa entails. -Some jobs overseas will require a background criminal check, so make sure you have easy access to everything you need over there, or get yourself garda vetted before you leave.
-If you’re staying within the EU you can sometimes still claim jobseekers until you find a job. All you need to do is get yourself a U2 form, register yourself as a job seeker in your new country, fill out the U2. and send it to the unemployment agency in the new country. (click here for more info on that.)
Some helpful links about finding jobs abroad before you leave Ireland:
First of all congratulations on getting your course! But sometimes, especially coming straight out of school, you just need a break. So here’s some tips on differing your college course for a year.
What is a deferral? A deferral is basically where the college holds your place in first year until the following year.
Why defer? It’s common to need a big of breathing space coming out of school. Some people just aren’t emotionally or mentally prepared for college straight after school- which is perfectly fine and normal. Some people defer in order to spend the year travelling and others need the year to make money so they can actually afford college.
How to defer:
Step one: Contact the college and let them know. Step two: You will probably have to answer some questions on why you want to defer, so make sure you have a good well thought out answer Step three: In January you will still have to reapply through CAO, but put this course down as your only choice. (or else you’ll be giving up your deferred spot and it’ll go based on points again.)
Keep in mind: Certain courses have different rules on deferrals, so do some research first. Some will only give deferrals under very strict circumstances.