Your first year in college will be one of the best times of your life. You’ll further your education, meet loads of great people, and really get stuck into a new way of living. It will be your first go at living independently, and here’s how you can make the most of your time as a first-year student.
DON’T FALL BEHIND
Your first year of college is generally more relaxed than the years that follow, but this doesn’t mean that you should let yourself fall behind. You will be busy socialising and getting involved in all the student events on offer, but the first year of your degree is where your lectures will lay down the groundwork for your chosen topic(s). Second year will be a lot more difficult for you if you go into it having fallen behind and therefore have to catch up.
MAKE LOADS OF MATES
The best thing about going off to college is that it’s very easy to make new friends. Just about everywhere you go, you’ll meet like-minded students who are all looking to have a good time and experience the student lifestyle. For most people, college is the time when they start to properly pursue their own interests with people who share those interests, without worrying as much about what old school-friends might think. Make sure you get involved with all the student events, because this is where you and your new pals will get to bond.
FIGHT THE HOMESICKNESS
Homesickness is a big part of moving away for college. It’s highly likely that every student will experience this feeling at some point during their degree. After all, you’ve spent the first 18 years or so of your life living in a particular place, so to then have to pick yourself up and move off to somewhere new is a test for anyone.
There are a few ways that you can fight the homesickness: you can speak to your parents, grandparents, siblings, and pets on Skype or FaceTime, or you can just jump on the bus or train and head back home for the weekend – you’ll be surprised what a weekend back home can do for you! To find out more about combating homesickness, read our article here
MAKE YOUR ROOM FEEL LIKE HOME
Your student room is going to be your new home for at least the next year, so make sure you do everything you can to make it feel like home. Most accommodation providers will allow you to put up posters and pictures to help you feel more comfortable and give your space a personal touch. Bringing some personal bits from home should also help to fight off the homesickness that we were talking about before!
JUMP AT NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Okay, so you go to college to study, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all you go to college for. There are plenty of clubs and societies on offer for students, and college is the perfect time to try out new things and find out what you like and dislike. Taking up some extracurricular activities is also a great way to meet loads of new like-minded people and settle in faster – you never know: you might be the captain of the next college champion Gaelic-football team!
CHAT TO YOUR TUTORS
Building a good relationship with your course tutors can help you in terms of academic development, and making yourself known to them early on will make sure that you’re on their radar. This means that if you happen to be struggling with a topic or you need a little extra support, they will be able to personalise their advice to you specifically. Remember: your tutors are experts on the topics, and most of them have literally written the books on what you’re studying, so their insights are incredibly valuable.
BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET
Money-management is one of those things that you don’t have to think about until you go to college. Almost overnight, you’ll find that you’ve had to learn how to refrain from impulsively spending your cash on the things that you want. Before you head off to college, you’re best sitting down and coming up with a money-saving plan. This will help you put cash aside to live on and still have money to go out and have a good time with friends. To get you started, we've made a list of 5 great tips to help you budget your groceries.
LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE
You can only prepare so much when it comes to college. At the end of the day, it’s an experience, and it’s all about getting stuck in, learning from your mistakes, and enjoying the good times.
If you’re on the lookout for accommodation that gives you a comfortable base and takes the pressure off the more stressful elements of the uni experience, take a look at what we’ve got on offer.