Advice we wish we'd gotten when starting college

Whether you're a green 18-year-old starting university, or a mature student heading back to education, there's no denying that college is scary. The opening of a wide, new chapter in your life can be a bit overwhelming, not to mention all the little pressures that come with heading back to the classroom.

Hearing recycled advice from parents and guidance counsellors ("just do your best" yeah, cheers) can feel a little stale, especially when the doors of university are looming in front of your eyes. The digital team here at IMAGE.ie don't claim to be experts, but we have all gone to college (most of us fairly recently, in fact) and whatever wisdom we have to bestow, we're happy to do it. If you're in need of some reassurance, some information or just a good read before it all kicks off, check out our advice for starting college below.

Grace McGettigan, staff writer

If you don’t like your course, it's okay to switch to something else. I swapped from English Literature in UCD to Journalism in DBS and it was the best decision I ever made. It’s also okay to take time out if you need it; your mental health is more important than anything. Not sure if college is for you? Consider taking a semester off to figure out what you want. There's no rush; you've got your whole life ahead of you. Just make sure to enjoy it. 

Erin Lindsay, staff writer

My advice for pretty much every situation in life is to fake it til you make it, and it's no different for college. If you're shy or introverted or a bit afraid of joining societies, still make the effort to strike up a conversation - new friends are waiting, and are probably just as awkward as you. The same goes for in class; be interested and enthusiastic about the work and think about opportunites outside of college that could help you out in future (depending on the course, obviously). College is the time that you really find yourself, and the more open you are to opportunities, the more they'll show up.

 

Sophie Teyssier, social media manager

I wish someone told me to just trust my instincts. If you know you're more passionate about a particular subject or area, believe in yourself and go with it. Down the line, you'll end up wanting to revisit that passion anyway! Save time now on day one of college and as cringey as it might sound- follow your heart.

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Geraldine Carton, staff writer

My main piece of advice would be to join as many of the weird and wonderful groups and societies possible; this is how you get to meet people that you'd never otherwise get the chance to in later life. Make a conscious effort to put yourself out of your comfort zone and try out new activities, ideally by yourself - everything from drama to knitting and every sport group in between is sure to give you some unforgettable experiences and new friends, and these factors combined are what make college the special experience that it is.

 

Edaein O'Connell, social media intern

Don’t go into college with the sole intention of having the craic. Some work has to be done and if you leave it too late, you’ll be in first class to panic station in final year. And if you really don’t like your course, there is no shame in leaving it. It’s better and more fulfilling to be happy!

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