Being able to leave your house and going to college is a pretty daunting task in a normal year, you ad the fact that restrictions are lifting and we can hopefully get back to normal life makes the stakes seem so much higher! We’ve been confined for so long, or at least we haven’t been able to sit down and eat a Boojum indoors that, chances are, we are going to need to be able to adjust to this new world so here are a few tips which will hopefully get you on your way!
1. Get Involved!
I know I sound like a broken record as everyone and their mother says to get involved during college, but it’s an amazing thing to do! Whether it be through societies, SU events, class reps or whatever takes your fancy, they are an amazing way to make new friends and find your passion. I was part of the LGBTQ and Drama societies during first year and I was able to discover who I am (spoiler alert younger Aoife, you were gay the whole time!), made new friends and was able to perform and take part in some wacky workshops. If sports are more your thing, then TU Dublin has a vast amount of amazing sports teams, whether you’re a pro or a complete beginner! Do you want to use your voice for change? Then you should definitely consider being a Class Rep or Student Councillor! As a class rep you’ll be able to meet other students outside of your class, advocate on behalf of your class and get some merch while you’re at it! Student council is the highest decision making body in the students union, you can hold us accountable and ask us questions, or bring forward motions to be debated. For instance, you COULD bring forward a motion to mandate that the welfare officer must have at least 1 puppy room per semester, and we would have to do it! We also have ents crew which you can help us put on some of our events and you get free entry to them afterwards (and believe me, we’ve got some MASSIVE events coming after restrictions lift so this guarantees you won’t miss out of them!)
2. Schedule Your Time
Okay, I know I just said about all the super fun stuff, but scheduling your time is super important so you’re able to do all of those fun things! Make sure if you have a part time job, or are looking for one, that you give yourself time to rest, study and socialize, otherwise you could get burnt out pretty quickly. Whether its making yourself a strict timetable, making a rule to yourself not to do classwork after 8pm, or setting yourself out time to be able to see your friends at least once in the week, it can really help!
3. Give Yourself Time Off
I know this sounds pretty similar to my last point but give yourself free time to literally do nothing. You can use this time to read, practise mindfulness or just listen to music. The world we live in can always feel like its full steam ahead, so giving yourself time to unwind or practise some self-care will help you be more productive and calmer during stressful times. I personally love to listen to music almost all the time, whether I’m working or cleaning or walking. However, I try to give myself time to just sit down and listen to music. Even just for 10 minutes where I don’t do anything else, and it really calms me down and lets me appreciate the songs a lot more usually.
4. Talk to People
During the lockdowns and restrictions, it was very easy to feel isolated from people both physically and emotionally. I myself found it difficult to reach out to my friends at times, even though social media has made it so easy to do so. But now that we are back, try reach out to those people again, or find others to reach out to. Talking about problems, ranting or spilling the tea can help alleviate some of the stresses you may be feeling and you build a sense of trust with that person. If you don’t feel like you can talk to anyone, the counselling service and the chaplaincy service in TU Dublin are on hand if you need to talk, and if you need some advice, then the SU advice service is there for you too (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Surviving college and a post COVID world is something we are all learning as we go, but we can all get through it. If I could give one more piece of advice on how to survive college, it would be not to leave your thesis until the week before its due, its torture and you’ll reach a new level of exhaustion before it’s over! Enjoy your time in college, do things you always wanted to try before, make mistakes, learn, its what the college experience is all about!