Should you be nervous starting college? Well, college can seem like a daunting time ahead. It’s something brand new to you and is totally different to secondary school. While you may hear from so many people that their college years were some of the best years of their lives, no one will admit the pure fear of their first few days, or even weeks in college because, well, who wants to remember them?
For me personally, starting college seemed quite surreal. I found it quite hard to comprehend; I was moving further into adulthood and one step closer to the real world of independence when only five minutes ago I was asking someone could I leave the room to go to the bathroom. It was quite a change to the system, to say the least. Looking back from a sixth-year perspective I felt like I wasn’t ready for college, most likely because I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college until about half way through the sixth-year.
It was the question on every teacher’s lips “what course do you want to do in college?” There were girls in my year who knew what they wanted to do in college as soon as they walked through the door in the first year and there were others who still didn’t know what they wanted walking out at the end of the sixth year. I’m almost certain every careers counsellor has said to a student at some point “pick a course you like” – if only it was that simple! Throughout sixth year in school, I felt a constant pressure knowing I was running out of time to choose a course or college. Thankfully I chose something I had an interest in and luckily got enough points to do the course I wanted. But then panic set in, I was actually going to college (deep breaths).
I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first day of college. I vividly remember walking into the Helix not knowing a soul (great way to start) and sitting in the Helix for over two hours with all these different professionals of DCU telling us apprentices how great and wonderful college life can be. The first few days were a struggle. I didn’t know where any of my lectures were. Thankfully there were a lot of overly happy, smiley students walking around with t-shirts on that said “can I help?” on the back, they were a god sent! Even the first few lectures were challenging, not knowing what was going to be discussed in each lecture which was the polar opposite of going into a classroom of fewer than 30 students and picking up from where you left off the day before.
But these struggles are all part of the experience of college life. Thankfully for me, those unfamiliar faces I encountered on my first day soon became my friends and the societies I joined in Fresher’s week that I knew nothing about and only joined because of free stuff (especially one in particular), I now see them as family and some of my closest friends. I’m now half way through my degree and I couldn’t be happier. I’m doing a course that I love with people who are so passionate and ambitious, which makes me strive to do better. Back in sixth year I would never have thought I would be where I am now. I never knew of anyone who actually enjoyed their course; even now, when I tell people how much I love college, they are quite taken aback and don’t believe me. But it’s true, and I am very lucky to be able to say it.
So should you be nervous about starting college? Yes! I’d be slightly worried if you weren’t but being nervous is all part of the journey and don’t worry, it won’t last long. So for those who are sitting the Leaving Cert, worrying about college or for those who are still finding their feet – relax, just enjoy yourselves and enjoy the experience of college; it’s like no other! Also, don’t forget that college doesn’t last forever so make the most of it!