Let’s face it, in secondary school we are spoon-fed and it’s easy to drift through in an airy-fairy fashion as there’s always a teacher or parent to remind us of the CAO completion date or whatever it might be.
College is different. In return for being treated as adults, lecturers and college staff expect students to behave like adults. Lecturers’ deal with thousands of students so excuses and delays are, generally, not well received. A little planning will make your college life a lot easier especially as there are plenty of forms to be filled in and deadlines to be met.
Here are a few tips to keep track of things:
- You will be sent paper work (to your home address) from the college before you start, don’t forget to bring it with you when heading off to college.
- Set reminders in your phone for important dates such as registration day, deadline for payment of fees, when your essays/ assignments are due, any important date.
- Give your parents/ whoever is paying your fees a bit of notice before due payment dates- it will be much appreciated.
- Try to avoid printing out assignments the morning they are due, chances are half your class will be on the computers or the computer suddenly won’t recognize your memory stick!
- Know for sure where your exam venue is, how you are going to get there and how long it will take to get there- the last thing you need is to be dashing across campus when you could be having a last minute cram session…
Love your library
Even in the midst of the first crazy partying weeks at college you should make an effort to get somewhat familiar with the library, it’ll pay dividends the week before the exams! Libraries run guided tours the first week or two, which are well worth taking time out of your busy socializing schedule for.
You will see where journals are, learn how to understand the library’s catalogue system (how to find books) and how to request books. While this may seem unnecessary in September, when your first exam is looming you’ll be the envy of your friends!
Beware of library fines- unlike your county library it’s unlikely to be 50 cent. Be especially careful with books that are reserved (books you can keep for only a couple of hours/ one night). One friend had to plead his case in front of the library fines board and explain how he had racked up a fine of €4,000 (no joke!) for a book he had ‘lost’.
Classes and tutorials
Try to make it to a decent amount of your classes so that you have some clue about the subjects and some notes to go on, come exam time.
Even if you find a particular module difficult or boring make it to enough classes to cover yourself for a few exam questions. If you head out on a particular night and often miss an early class the follow morning, drag yourself in for a few so that you will not fail the class. It can be difficult to balance socialising and classes so remember college is more than a three-year long holiday and you will miss quite a bit unless you have very nice lecturers who post extensive notes online…
For those who have difficulty making it to their basic timetable of classes, tutorials can sometimes be totally disregarded, especially if they are optional. I heard someone ask a college tutor once if it was a difficult job; she said ‘no’ because you could be sure your classes were smaller than they were supposed to be and those present were usually ‘up for it’.
It’s worth bearing in mind that tutorials are one of the best places to make friends in your class. This is especially true if you do Arts or Commerce where class sizes can be enormous. Tutorials are usually small groups of 10- 20 with a relaxed vibe where questions are welcome and help and advice is forthcoming and it’s a lot easier to meet people in this smaller group.