Survival Guide

How to Settle in to College

College is a major life event for today’s millennials. It is your first taste of independence; you will meet new people, experience new things, learn how to survive without your mam and dad there to take care of your every need. It can be incredibly empowering and life-changing but settling into college is a struggle. We dream of the day when we leave home, we count down the hours and minutes, mark it in our calendars, yet when the day finally comes, when we say goodbye, the thing that hits us the most is leaving behind all that we know and starting a new chapter.

Homesickness is the most common trait amongst college students, particularly in the first few weeks. Eventually, you’ll find yourself filling the time with college, meeting new people, going out, maybe joining a few clubs or societies. As time goes on, the homesickness goes away and suddenly this new place starts to feel like home, of course, there are a few tips and tricks that I used to settle in.

Here are my top five:

1. Make it your space

The first thing I did when I moved into my accommodation was unpacked and organised. My top priority, while my parents were around, was unpacking as much as I could and making my room feel homier. I put up pictures, hung a few fairy lights and added little touches like my favourite books, some cushions, and a throw. That first night was easier because it wasn’t this totally different space, it felt like being at home.

2. Get to know your area

In the first year, I lived on campus, so it was easy to get to know the area. Luckily enough, there was an onsite shop and laundrettes, and the campus gym was only five minutes away. There were a few shops around us, a petrol station, a student branch of AIB, a café and then a bit further out, there were a few shopping centres, about twenty minutes away. The town was about a half an hour walk in so it wasn’t too bad; everything was within walking distance really.

3. Invest in essentials
 
When I first moved into my accommodation, what we had was very basic; a pan and two pots, a bit of cutlery and some glasses and plates. If you want to make the place homier, I’d suggest investing in homeware; things like a wok or a George Foreman grill. I picked up a cheap version of both in Tesco and I’m still using them a year later. Whether it’s making a stir-fry, grilling chicken, making toasties (there were a lot of toasties in the first year) or even burgers, it’s worth shelling out a few euro for items that you’ll have throughout college.

4. Get out as much as you can

Try and meet as many people as you can when you move in. Go to events on campus, freshers week is packed with them. Hang out with your housemates, and whatever you do, make sure you don’t isolate yourself. It’s better to get out for an hour or two, go to the gym or the cinema than spending your night locked away in your room watching Netflix. Try to get out in those first few weeks.

5. Don’t forget why you’re here

The most important thing to remember is why you’re here. This course is that you chose. You made that call, not your parents or your teachers, YOU. This is your chance to study subjects that you are interested in, to be a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist, a nurse, an accountant or, like myself, a journalist. Don’t lose sight of the reason that you are here; all those hours of studying, cramming, they led you to get here. Make it worth it.