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Surviving Being a Fresher

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Let’s get ready to rumblllllle!

Whether you’re a first year or you missed out on your own freshers week last year because of COVID, we’re mad to get out and about.

But for those of us who might never have gone out properly (underage drinking in a bush does not count lol) it can be a bit hectic and we tend to run away with ourselves. Also, lots of you are living away from home for the first time and may be at a loss for how to be an “adult” and basically remember which way is up. We here at An Focal have been through it all and survived. So here is your guide to surviving life as a fresher.

1)    Budget baby-ya, budgeting may not seem “cool” but you’ll be glad of it when you’re not starving waiting for your next cash infusion. Some people love doing a full on budget, maybe make a spreadsheet if you’re feeling fancy. But there are some pretty easy ways to keep track of your spending, like a bank app, where you can see where your money is going. Some people like to take out a certain amount of money as being able to physically see how much you have as it helps you to pull in the reins. Another way is to be conscious of your spending. For example, did you need to go to Starbucks 3 times today? That €10-20 could have gone towards a textbook, petrol, food shop, even a date. Make a plan and do your best to stick to it, but don’t beat yourself up if you slip. Sometimes that large mocha or cute jumper in Penney’s is absolutely needed.

 

2)    What you’ll need during the day- Whether it’s your first day, the start of a new week etc, your head might be all over the place.

  • First off, the obvious-pen and paper. If you prefer to take notes digitally then do what works best for you.
  • Also, having some sort of thin folder to keep any sheets you get clean and straight is a great asset. This could be a module outline, consent forms etc. Or maybe double up by sticking them in an A4 notebook to save space in your bag.
  • A reusable water bottle- there are water foundations all over campus that give you ice cold, fully filtered water so you can stay hydrated all day. Fill up your bottle and never spend money on a plastic bottle of water again!
  • Portable chargers for when you’re on campus all day and you’re battery is running low
  • Spare cash – Card machines can break down at any time and it’s an awful hassle when you’re hangry and you’ve just found out a cash machine has broken. It also doesn’t hurt to have cash on hand if you need a taxi urgently. The ATM in the courtyard can get very busy so try using ones closer to where you live or get cash back where possible to avoid wait times.
  • Personal items- think stuff like prescription glasses, medication, assist devices like digital recorders, inhalers etc. A beanie and a small umbrella have been proven to be super handy. Lip balm, hand sanitiser, a hair brush. All good stuff to keep on hand.
  • Be comfortable! It’s a big campus guys, and sometimes you have to leg it from one end to the other. Make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes and you feel nice and cosy in your clothes.

 

3)    Don’t change yourself- You may think that college is the time to reinvent yourself, or you may want to do what you can to fit in. Let us tell you-you don’t need to. You are awesome in your own right. Yes, the people in your house or course may be dry but there’s so many other amazing people on this campus. They’re out there. Be yourself and you will find your people.

 

4)    Come out of your room – If you’re living out of home for the first time, it can be scary. Don’t just hide in your room. Go hang out in the common room, go have your coffee in the Student Union, if you see someone scanning Red Raisin for a seat- give them the nod. You’re a lot less likely to make connections sitting on your bed rewatching Gilmore Girls for the 50th time.

5)    Join in –  you’ve probably heard it a hundred times already, join in, join clubs and societies, be active on campus. Sounds like a bunch of cliches right? Well, it actually works! We’ve all tried and love it! Look around and see what’s for you! Archery? Gaming? Rowing? Arts & Crafts? Join in, kids!

 

6)    Get stuff out of the way – it’s tempting to leave things to the last minute. You don’t feel like a real student until you’re panic-typing an essay right up to the deadline, shaking from your third can of Monster of the day. But, delaying your work can not only stress you out but it can affect your social life. If you knuckle down early on, your evenings and weekends are free to have the craic.

 

7)    Be ready for fancy dress – it might seem odd and nerdy and out of your comfort zone. But we strongly advise buying a few bits that you could use for multiple fancy-dress and themed parties. They’re fun and silly, so you can let your hair down and meet new people.

 

8)    Don’t go to everything- it might sound like we’re contradicting ourselves by telling you to be open minded but you shouldn’t go to everything. Between money,time,assignments and the fact that you’d be wrecked, you literally can’t go to everything. You should balance out your resources, interests and the desire to try new things.

9)    Student ID – you’ve probably heard it already but stick to your ID! And your key card if you live in campus accomodation. They are magic. It lets you into the library, some specific lab rooms, get pool sticks in the SU, discounts in certain stores and restaurants etc. Stick to your ID!

 

10)    Homesick- It’s completely natural to feel homesick when you go away to college, even if you’re still in the same county. Do little things to remind yourself of home so it feels less daunting. Subscribe to papers or follow social media pages from back home, buy some local tatt before you leave to have  in your accommodation. Keep in contact with family members and friends from back home so you don’t feel too isolated.

Check back in tomorrow where Sadhbh will give you some of the most important advice you may ever receive in UL… how to prepare for and recuperate from a college night out!

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