The Leaving Cert and CAO excitement is becoming a mere memory as college looms. In just a few weeks, you will be living out of home for the first time, meeting new people with similar interests to you and starting a new chapter of your life.
Now that you have dealt with the shock, delight and congratulations after being offered one of your CAO choices, you’ve probably started to think about the infamous “Freshers’ Week”.
Here are ten tips to surviving your first one ever:
Meet new people
This is more than likely your first foray into the independent world of adulthood – so get to know your classmates and neighbours. Leave your door open when you’re moving into your new place – that way you might get to meet your neighbours as they move in. If someone invites you over pop in to them or vice versa; invite them over yourself. Suggest going for a drink even, you’ve nothing to lose!
Might seem like a simple tip but it’s true – you need to have fun. Freshers’ Week is normally the week where (a) you make a life-long friend or two or (b) you meet a few people that you vaguely say hello to by the end of your degree. Either way, it’s always good to meet new people!
Attend everything you need to
This is one of the biggest dangers of college life. You’re away from your parents for the first time and, depending on your class size, your absence might go unnoticed. DO NOT SKIP CLASS! It never ends well, trust me, I know from experience. Freshers’ Week is a particularly dangerous time for this as it tends to be the week you do the most socialising. By all means socialise, but balance your work and play. Freshers’ Week is also the week you’ll have to register and the like so make sure you turn up for these important days.
Set up your room
It won’t ever feel like your bedroom at home, that you’ve lived in for years but make the effort! Bring photos from home, posters, etc. and make your room that bit more welcoming. It’s always nice to have your own space away from home.
A lot of students fall into the false security trap. When you begin the college year you may have a lot of money. This money has to last you until the following May though! Freshers’ Week can involve a lot of social events which cost a lot of money but set yourself a budget and stick to it.
Freshers’ Week tends to involve a clubs and societies day. Go along to this event and go to speak to just about everybody there. Any club or society that takes your fancy or is relevant to your degree, join up! It’s a great way of meeting people with similar interests that are outside of your class too, you can never have enough friends.
Simple advice and something you’ll probably do on your phone anyway but Freshers’ Week (and indeed your entire first year) will fly by and it will be great to have the photos to look back on later on in your degree. It’s unbelievable how much you change over the course of the three or four years!
This may or may not be an issue; don’t force it. When it happens it happens but on the off chance you have sex during Freshers’ Week, be careful! Use protection and don’t do anything you don’t want to.
Explore the place
Chances are, you’ve visited the college for an open day but you won’t be familiar with it. It can be daunting and the college can seem huge but it really isn’t (with the possible exception of UCD). Take a walk around the college early on in Freshers’ Week so you know where to go and what to do. If you’re not living on campus, explore the area where you live too. Find your nearest shop and the like, so you know where everything is.
Keep your family updated
It’s always easy to forget how tough it is for your parents when you start college. You get wrapped up in the excitement, the nerves, etc. and think about the new experiences you’re about to embark on. Your parents have raised you for 17 or 18 years and this is your first time away from them – it can’t be easy for them. Call them or text them and let them know how you’re getting on when you get a chance.