A University Journey
September 20th 2017
As many young people are heading off on a new academic journey, Ryan Lennon one of our Youth Advisory Panel volunteers in Jigsaw Dublin City wrote a blog about entering University for the first time and the journey that goes a long with that.
For many of us secondary school leavers, the next step on this journey that they call life is college. A fresh start to study what you actually want to study. This experience will also pave the way for lifelong friendships, open you up to new experiences and be jam packed with "seshes", big and small.
It's not all fun and games though. Soon enough we'll all have to start facing the dreaded 'adulthood', bit by bit. Even if being a student is only a test ride for being an adult, new responsibilities will start to creep out of nowhere, especially when you're moving across the country for college. I myself was thrown head first into all of it at the end of August. "How does one even write a budget plan for themselves? I don't know how much I'm gonna eat" - me, around halfway through August. If you aren't sure what to do in these situations, just ask someone. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
Getting organised is crucial (so I've been told, I've yet to do it). You don't want to have to scramble around looking for bits of scrap paper you took notes on when exams are less than a week away. Keep a folder for each module, putting any notes and other information relevant to the module in it. I mean this for the good ol' pen and paper method as well as typing notes on whatever device you use. Make yourself out a timetable too, including lectures, tutorials and specific time dedicated to whatever else you need to do. Add in what room and building you're in too, showing up late because you went to the wrong place isn't how you want to start your college life. Which is also why leaving a bit early to go to your first few lectures is also useful. It leaves you with a bit of wiggle room if you're not sure where you're going.
Don't worry though, there are plenty of people who are navigating these new waters alongside us and those there to guide us too. I've found the easiest way of making new friends so far is asking someone who looks confused if they need a hand; maybe you know where that lecture hall is and if you don't, walking around with them until they've found it is a nice way to start getting to know them a bit. If you are living away from home, talk to people who are from the area. Get to know the campus and surrounding area, after all it will be your home for the majority of the next few years. Also, keep in touch with those back home. It doesn't (usually) take that long and they'll appreciate it more than you think.
Big life changes like starting college or moving away can be difficult to process. If you have been finding life is tough at the moment, talk to a trusted adult in your life about what has been difficult for you. There may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide guidance and support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing a difficult or distressing time. Check our website to find your nearest Jigsaw. Alternatively, you can log on to yourmentalhealth.ie and search for mental health support services near you, or talk to your GP (General Practitioner) about supports in your local area.