New College New Challenge New You

New college New challenge

Yesterday I met a colleague in the grounds of Trinity College, Dublin. The square was bustling with make-shift tents and mini marquees. The centurions of which were (mostly) energetically advertising the merit of their various clubs, services, societies, and fraternities.

Some of the browsers were the onlooker type, some approached confidently and I wondered about some of the other students, who are also starting their first year and who were not here. How overwhelming this could all feel. Or how exciting. It depends on the individual doesn't it? 


The first few weeks of college can throw a lot at the 'newbie' or the 'fresher'. I wonder if everyone likes being called out like this? Does it feel a little like the first week in secondary school (all over again)? Some take to college like a duck to water. Many quietly wade through. There are some students who find themselves struggling a little with the sheer size, chaos, and logistics of starting college life.

So what things might you, the new guy or girl, need to be aware of? There is an interesting article on the website which gives practical advice on things like buying college books (I always found used books handy, or pre-booking as soon as you get your reading lists on the website -or your local equivalent-  it's cheap and they'll deliver the book to your local library. The range isn't brilliant but you may be lucky and get the odd essay-filler reference book there).

The SpunOut article also suggests that you attend orientation, join a club and/or society, back up your notes (can't stress that enough!) and budget. Have a read of the article here

When it's not just the books


On a more personal level, perhaps more private level - some students find that they are struggling with the pressure of being in college. Life changes like leaving home, living with flatmates, anxiety from assignments and exams, worrying about failing or being good enough to complete the course, managing finances and looking after yourself are the juggling balls college life presents.

There is also the pressure of fitting in, making new friends and missing your friends from home and from your old school. Maybe you had to break up with your boyfriend so that you could come to college in Dublin, maybe your girlfriend has started a course in the UK and it will be Christmas and holidays only when you see each other. Change. College brings about a lot of change and everyone copes with change differently. 

Talk to your friends about how you feel you are doing, see if they are experiencing the same things. Maybe you can support each other. Look after yourself, eat as well as you can manage and afford, have fun and know when to stop. Alcohol and hangovers will make things seem worse, more intense and difficult to manage. So go easy on the booze. Exercise can really help you feel better in yourself. Walking with friends is a great way to spend time together, to talk about your studies and to talk about what's happening for you - it also scores points on the exercise quota!

If you find that your feelings are getting stuck in a rut, or that your feelings of depression or stress are not going away, or you are noticing that your anxiety levels are causing you concern, then talking to a counsellor might be the action you need to take. Ask Yourself if counselling is right for you. There is more information here 

Relax. Enjoy yourself.
This point is the most important of them all. Enjoy your first year at college. You’ve just finished your Leaving Cert and have come from a year of intense pressure and non-stop study. This is what you have spent your whole secondary school time working towards – now that you’re here, make the most of it.

University is that brief period where you get to live in a world made up of about 20,000 likeminded people all your own age. It’s the world of students and this is your one chance to do it right. Don’t place too much pressure on yourself and don’t let the lifestyle become too much for you. Relax.

You’ll make plenty of friends, you’ll have many new experiences and you’ll even find that you mature and learn new things about yourself and others that you thought you knew already. You’ll gain knowledge in so many different areas and you’ll have one massive adventure in doing so. College is an open book. It’s up to you what you do with it.
— Sorcha Cusack

New You

Yes it's a Check List!

  • Attend orientation
  • Join clubs, societies, groups
  • Get used to budgeting 
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, lonely? Talk about it
  • Cook meals
  • Get your module reading lists &
  • Order books second hand
  • Photocopy!
  • You really are what you eat
  • free exercise here
  • Learn how to reference 
  • Practice safe sex & Get checked
  • STI/GUM Clinics in Ireland here
  • Set up a bibliography template
  • Study partners can work well
  • Really - back up your notes
  • Look after yourself 
  • Look after your mates
  • Weekly shop
  • Quick easy dinners here
  • Proof read before submitting
  • Be safe
  • Be brave, this is your time
  • Relax & have fun.