Leaving home and beginning your first year of college is an exciting time but for some it can be a daunting experience.
Co Louth-based teen career development coach and mentor Anne Mangan has provided her top three tips on how to make the most of it.
1 Make friends
It’s very important you make friends with classmates or other students attending your college. Whether it means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and asking a table of students if you can join them in the cafeteria or simply introducing yourself to the person next to you in class, these skills will lend themselves to networking later in your career.
Make sure you don’t have your head in your phone all the time – appear approachable to others. A great way to meet people is by signing up for on-campus societies or clubs. Doing something you love will help your confidence when meeting new people.
Having friends at college will enhance your experience. Anne says, when students come to her saying they want to drop out of college, the root of the issue (more often than not) is those students haven’t made friendships at college. Friends create a support system.
2 Be organised
Parents should be preparing their children before college on how to be independent and responsible, Anne suggests.
Routine is key to managing college life and forward planning will ensure you can squeeze everything into your day. Sit down on a Sunday night and timetable the week ahead, adding in lectures, social life, study and assignment deadlines.
Try to get into a routine of when you go to bed to make sure you can get up in the morning for class. Getting enough rest will give you the energy to get up out of bed every day – another issue which can begin a downhill spiral of poor class attendance. If you are struggling to get up in the morning and feeling unmotivated, it’s time to ask for help.
3 Ask for help
Asking for help can be difficult for some students. Get to know your tutors – try to strike up a relationship so you feel comfortable approaching them with any issues you have in class.
If you don’t understand something, ask your classmates for help – you can probably return the favour when it comes to a subject you have better knowledge of. Get familiar with the students’ union services at your college. Everyone in the students’ union have been in your position at some stage, and they are there to help.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the welfare officer if you are having a difficult time settling in.