It might be a bit early, but if you are an excited Leaving Certer, setting off on the next step in your education and are afraid and scared and feeling all funny inside then keep reading. With the CAO now closed, has an early-bird Fresher's Guid

The transition from secondary school to college is a HUGE change, it is daunting and overwhelming for the toughest of skins, but it really shouldn’t be.  Many of you are moving out of home and going to the big smoke which is a pretty big thing in itself. But not to worry, I’ve been there and done that – anditreally wasn’t bad.

I remember my first day in UL.  The car was emptied of my thousands of belongings and loaded into new room.  I said my goodbyes to my family and watched them drive away into the distance, leaving their youngest daughter to fend for herself in this new and interesting world.  I waited eagerly for orientation day. I’m telling you now and I won’t tell you again:  GO TO YOUR ORIENTATION DAY.  You will learn everything from how to take books out from the library to where you can get the cheapest packets of noodles.  (Believe me, this is something you’ll need to know!)

Next off, buy yourself a diary or calendar of some sort.  You cannot even begin to understand how invaluable this one item can be.  Some colleges supply them in their orientation pack (another thing you shouldn’t leave Orientation Day without) just because they are so handy.  You won’t understand their value until it’s a Friday evening, you are packing up a few bits to bring home (mainly dirty clothes to be washed etc.) when you glance at the calendar to see that the assignment you have been putting off and actually forgotten about is due Monday morning.  Now you can shrug your shoulders and be all like “Ah yeah, sure I’ll pull an all-nighter Sunday, be graaand’ but believe me, you won’t be saying that Sunday night when a night in the Lodge is on the cards.  Have things planned in advance and you will sail through it all.

Now this actually may sound crazy, but go to everything in Fresher’s Week – and I mean EVERYTHING.  Attend every lecture, lab or tutorial you have as these are the days in which you will discover everything you need to know about your chosen course.  Then in the evenings after said classes, you can be free to attend whatever events that are going on with an empty conscience, just remember to set your alarm for the next morning!

And lastly, be open-minded! You never know what new thing you could enjoy, a new sport or music genre or even just a new style.  College is a time when you can try new things and hopefully not regret it in years to come.  You are only young once, enjoy yourself! But never, ever, ever feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. You’re a grown up now – don’t be pushed around!