Freshers Week: Five things every first year should know

The transition from secondary school to college can seem very daunting, leaving many young students feeling lost and overwhelmed as they face the hustle and bustle of college life and all that comes with it.

Full of knowledge and advice from her past years in college, Limerick Voice reporter Moya Galvin compiled a list to shed some light on the craziness that is freshers week, and advise others on what she could have done differently.

1.Put yourself out there –

Moving to a new city and away from home for the first time can seem daunting, so you’ll need people around you who can lift you up and help you to settle into college life.

It’s always a good idea to try to get along with your housemates, but sometimes we just don’t click with certain people and that’s okay as long as you’ve made the effort.

Venture outside your room to cook dinner or make a cup of tea and strike up a conversation.

If you find that you’ve tried and haven’t got very much in common, try to do the same in your classes.

You can go early for the first few days to give yourself time to chat to new people before class starts.

Sit beside someone you don’t know, and just talk. Everyone is in the exact same situation as you, and they’re all trying to make friends too so don’t worry about talking to strangers or what they might think, just go for it!

2. Don’t waste your money on too many groceries –

It’s easy to think that once you move out and become an independent college student that you’ll cook really fresh, healthy meals for yourself all the time, but the reality for most is that they don’t.

You’ll likely end up eating out or eating the same easy meals a lot, so choose a few quick, healthy things that are easy to prepare.

Aoife Trunwit, a third year Business student in UL says “I wish I didn’t spend so much on groceries each week, I used to buy so much food and always go back to quick meals that were easy to make. Pasta was a staple in my diet.”.

3. Keep your space clean –

While it can sometimes feel like a chore to clean whilst balancing college work, new friends, and of course many nights out, living in a cluttered or dirty space can make it hard to stay organised and feeling in control of your life, and after a while start to impact your mental health.

Dirt, dust, and mould can also affect your physical health after a while of living and sleeping in those conditions and breathing it in.

Ambar Williams, a study abroad student at UL says “It was especially hard for me because being used to living at home usually you have help, but now I’m living alone in another country, and I can’t even go home at the weekends like other students.

4. Keep up with your classes –

Now that you finally have the freedom to decide if you want to actually show up for your classes and put in the work or not, it can be very easy to settle on the latter.

The thing is, if you get behind it becomes very hard to catch up.

At first it’s just one assignment or one project, but very quickly there’s a test or a follow-up project on the one you didn’t do, and now you’re way behind.

Everyone skips a lecture or two, but you should always try to get notes or watch the lecture online, or even just ask someone else in the class what happened on the day you missed.

Ambar says “Sometimes it’s hard to juggle going out and going to class but it’s important because once you get behind it’s hard to catch up, and it gets you ready for the real world, because if you have a job and you don’t show up or do the work you need to then you get fired.”

5.Take some time to yourself –

As much as putting yourself out there, making friends, going to classes, cooking, and cleaning are all important, sometimes it can all be a bit overwhelming.

Remind yourself that you’re away from home for the first time, that you’re adapting to this new independence and freedom, and that you may not always want it.

Some days you may just want to go back to eating a dinner your mam has cooked and watching tv with your siblings and sleeping in your own bed, and that’s okay.

Don’t guilt yourself or think ‘I should be happy here, this is college and I should be enjoying this’.

Eimear Kelly, a fourth year architecture student at UL says: “I just wish I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to be having fun and enjoying myself all the time. If I’d been able to identify those overwhelming moments back then it would have made things easier for me.

“I wish I’d known it was okay not to go out some nights and to just stay in my room or call my parents. Sometimes that’s all you need.”

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