Final year diaries: Last first day

Last first days are supposed to be a mess of emotions and nostalgia. Looking back at my first day on campus three years ago, I would have told myself to just enjoy it more, to not worry so much and just trust that there will be certain things that will happen over these next few years that need to happen. 

I also would’ve told myself to invest in a proper jacket, if I have learnt anything from college, especially from my first week back, it’s that I should invest more into jackets, boots, umbrellas and hats, because the weather in Galway is forever changing. 

Also, I probably would warn my younger and more naïve self that sometimes your course can have its ups and downs, that you won’t like every aspect but the modules you enjoy the most are the ones you will do well in. Most optional modules can be swapped out if you don’t like the options you picked before starting lectures, most disciplines give you a week or two once classes start. 

Heading into final year I didn’t know what to expect. I spent most of last year working as a communications intern, so I had developed a different routine. I had almost fallen out of sync with college, when you’re on placement obviously you don’t go out as much, you have more deadlines, but it was probably the least stressful year I had in college. 

The thing is, college throws a lot at us. As I’m writing this week’s instalment, my Blackboard app is lighting up like a Christmas tree with notifications about lecture slides, course reading lists, schedules and more. I always thought week one wouldn’t be so heavy on content, but I’m already halfway through a reading on development and change, and slowly the reality of final year is beginning to set in. 

I spent the majority of my first day back walking in and out of campus, only to find out my lectures were either cancelled or had been replaced with a new timetable. Anyone out there who knows the pain of studying English will be familiar with this, particularly final years. I had a total of four hours of college during fresher’s week.  

Already the emails about career events and ‘what to do with an arts degree’ are flooding in. Suddenly all those SU emails that I glanced over have become a weekly read to find out how to improve your C.V., what to do after you graduate and more. It feels like this year isn’t just about finishing your degree, it’s about preparing yourself for the big bad world out there. 

So to my fellow final years, here is the starting line.