Laura Smith writes about college life and advice to her first-year self.
College life is about to hit the ground rounding for the class of 2017.  From the Leaving Cert - what a distant memory now - to debs with the school year, to find out you won’t be heading back to school in September but to college instead, here is some advice on what I would tell my first-year self before I started college.

1.    Things will change.

A lot of changes will be happening before you even leave for college. You find out all your friends are heading to different colleges and finding time to meet up for catch ups do become more and more difficult. To keep in contact with friends from home or school friends, you'll fiind yourself trying to make it at least a monthly thing to meet up on a Friday or Saturday night just to catch up on everyone’s lives.
 If you are moving away from home for college for the first time, you will quickly realize that no, food just doesn't magically appear in the fridge and that you actually have to go to the supermarket and buy some food as mammy isn’t at home to cook anymore. If you are moving away from home good places to do your food shop is Aldi or Lidl. Tesco allows you to shop online and get it delivered to your door. 


2.    Please don’t feel panic

Sometimes when you move away from home and are living in your college flat you might feel you can’t cope without your parents or best friend by your side (which is okay). You might feel homesick and feel like you won’t be able to survive without them but honestly, this is all okay and natural for you as a first year to think and feel like this. My advice? Don’t panic the first week or two. College can be crazy and everything happens at the one time from figuring out your lecture room to the library whereabouts- it can be hard to stay on top of it all. We've all been there, and we've all gotten through it. 

3.    Stay on top of the college work and go to lectures.

I was always good at attending lectures in the first year and never minded 9 am starts (get used to it, it’s the working world in a few years’ time). When you get an assignment start working away on it bit by bit and don’t let it build up to the night before (it's not worth the stress, honestly). It’s also easier if you attend your lectures. Surprise surprise! Whether you were in Coppers or Opium the night before, just go to that tutorial, and you'll thank yourself later when it's exam season.

4.    Simply…Enjoy the first year.

College life is about living in the moment and taking every given opportunity. If your course decides to hold a night out- GO! If you get invited to go to the cinema with your new college mates-GO! Join those clubs and societies. College is a short time of your life, I would give anything to be a fresher again and going to orientation week. College may be about getting the degree but there is also so much more to it. Clubs and societies are great for making friends and college events are also a great way to meet new people. The stress of exams are no fun but just tell yourself it’s worth it.
Work hard in First Year. Nobody wants to be a re- fresher and finding themselves back in First Year again repeating that module you didn’t go to because you never liked the way it was on at 4 pm in the evening or 9 am in the morning. Best of Luck to everyone starting college. It’s the best years of your life.