After the Leaving Cert. you may want the summer to last for eternity. It doesn’t, which isn’t a bad thing, however. The majority of students will be looking forward to going to college in some way, shape or form come September. Here are 10 things to look forward to if you do choose to go to college.
This will probably be one of the biggest changes for the majority. In secondary school, you were always being checked up on to a certain extent by, whether it was by your teachers, parents or friends asking what the homework was for maths the next morning. In college, it changes completely. It’s completely up to you to make sure that you know what the story is with whatever you’re meant to do for the middle or the end of the semester. It sounds a wee bit daunting, but if you’re doing something that you really enjoy it shouldn’t be much of a problem for you.
2. Moving away from home
Admittedly this one doesn’t concern everybody who goes to college. However, it is a big factor in some people’s choice of where they end up. This step gives you even greater independence than just going to your local college. You get to buy your own food, alcohol and everyday essentials. Your granny might light a candle to make sure you’re going to be OK, but other than that it’s completely up to you.
You can also make lifelong friends or enemies depending on who you end up with on campus in the first year. Staying on campus also means you’re at the heart of anything that goes on at the college. By the end of first year, you should be able to go home a more capable person than before. Your mammy will put your survival by yourself down to the candle your granny lit, but you’ll know what saved you: Red Bull, coffee and late night cramming.
3. Meeting new people
No matter which college you go to, there will be a lot more people there than in your old secondary school, a lot more. Places like UCC and UCD have about 20,000-25,000 students in total. Arts alone has about 4000 people or so doing it. These numbers may make you wonder how on earth you’re going to get to know people if you go from having 20-30 in a class to about 400. It is a wee bit difficult at the start, but there being so many people to meet, you’re bound to come across people who you get along with really well, no matter what you’re interests or personality.
4. Control of your timetable (most of it anyway)
This is a huge bonus to going to college. In secondary school, you got handed a timetable which said you had to be in from 9.00 until 4.00 Monday to Friday each week. In college, unless you do something like medicine, you can pick and choose which lecture and tutorial times you want to go to. There are some that only offer the one time which you can’t work around, however, a lot of it you can fit so that it suits you.
5. Duvet days
If you had one too many Jaegerbombs the night before and wake up feeling as if you had a hydraulic drill in your brain, you don’t have to go in, if that’s what you want to do. The lecturers won’t care, they’ll teach whoever turn up, unless they’r a stickler for attendance, which one or two could be. Not going to a few lectures won’t be the end of the world, unless you’re in medicine.
6. Doing something you wanted to do
One of the main reasons I was looking forward to my first year in college last September. You no longer have to do English, Irish and Maths if you don’t want to. There’s a way bigger range of options in whatever course you end up in and no matter where you go to college. If you find after a few weeks (no later than 6 weeks in, in most places) you can change from that module to another, if there’s room. College has a lot more flexibility than second level education.
7. Trying something new
Not only does college have more course options, but there are also way more extra-curricular stuff that you can get involved, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done it before or not. It cost between 10-20 quid to join most things, which gives you membership for the whole year, so is decent value! If you don’t like it you can stop whenever you like and nobody will pressure you to join again, unlike some secondary school teachers.
Going to college means that you have a wee bit more spare time on your hands unless you’re in certain courses like medicine. This means you can put more time towards hobbies and interests which you probably put on hold during the Leaving Cert. You can also get into something new, like the previous point states or just get more involved in stuff you’re already doing.
9. Figuring out what you want to do
This is one that doesn’t come mind straight away, however, it will happen to differing degrees depending on the person. If you already have a 10 plan in place in your head, then you already know what you want to do. However, if you’re like the majority of students, myself included, who are 85% sure about what they want to do but haven’t totally decided just yet, then college is the perfect place as the previous three points illustrate.
10. Damn. It’s fun.
College, if you haven’t figured out by this point in the article, is one of the best and most enjoyable times in your life. Make the most of your time, wherever you end, it won’t be long before you have to enter the big bad world. However, going to college will be one of the most rewarding and helpful experiences you’ll ever do. Enjoy it.