So you've done it, you've finished the Leaving Cert and are itching to start college. No more uniforms, no more notes home and no more immaure drama. College is going be your time. Or so you think.
I'm not saying college is going to be awful and you're going to hate every second of it, not at all. You're probably going to love every second of it and be devastated when you have to leave, like so many other students. But it can be a shock to the system when you first start. You're used to rigid structures and over-bearing teachers, that when you get to college you don't know what to do with yourself. So here's a quick run-down on what to expect:
1. You'll spend more time in the library than you'll expect.
I was a First Year too once, and I know you think that college is going to be a non-stop stream of parties and nights out. But there's also the whole academic side of things that need to get done sadly, and the library will quickly become your best friend for those times. For essays and last-minute assignments, you'll find yourself spending hours in the building you thought you'd never see the inside of.
2. Calling your lecturers by their first name is normal.
And totally weird for the first few weeks. A good rule of thumb is when addressing them - via e-mail or face to face - is to use their correct title, and then go from there. A lot of the time, especially in e-mails, they'll sign off with just their name, so you know you're good to go on first name terms with them.
3. Your lecturers are people too.
In school, whenever you saw a teacher outside of the classroom it was like seeing a fish out of water. In college, all illusions that your lecturers and professors have no lives outside of campus are shattered. Expect delayed responses to emails, hungover classes and questionable work attire.
4. You will waste your free time.
A timetable that has gaps in it! Different start times during the week! A day off! Your new college timetable is going to be your best friend the first few weeks as you get to grips with all the new freedom it brings you. Your two hours gaps in between tutorials? Perfect opportunity for a catch up with your mates. For the first month or so, you're going to waste that golden time that come Christmas exam time, you're going to wish you didn't.
5. Anything goes.
Literally anything. You can come to college wearing a fur coat and rollerblades and people won't even look twice at you. You do you, boo.
6. You will discover the true meaning of hangovers.
Thought you had hangovers before? At least you never had to go to a 9am lab tutorial with one before. Enjoy the experience...
7. You'll begin to miss your uniform.
Trust me, you will. The novelty of getting to wear whatever you want every morning will soon be replaced by the dread of having to put together another outfit.
8. You'll forget how to eat.
Three standard meals a day? More like a quick snack every two hours. Your diet will go to the wayside as your usual lunch and dinner times get replaced by trips to the SU.
9. You'll be wrecked
Even though you have way less hours than you did in school, at the end of the week you'll be exhausted. It's just the rule of college, so go with it.
Still here? Read next: 6 Things To Remember About The Leaving Cert