Surviving college: the ultimate guide

College – the best days of your life. At least that’s what we hear from most popular American films surrounding people in their late teens and early twenties. For those of you who haven’t realised it isn’t all frat parties and enjoying time away from your parents, here are a few tips to get you through the next few months.

Get your budgeting in order.
This is the most important tip. The phrase “poor students” didn’t come from nowhere and most of us have to survive on a miniscule amount each week. Now, no one says don’t go out, this is college after all, but make sure you have the necessities before you go wild on vodka and beer. Keep updated on the best deals in local shops and ask your mates – you never know what deals they’ve found. (FYI, three litre bottles of minerals like Coke and Fanta are €2.75 in Iceland.)

Take advantage of free stuff.
Freshers must have noticed the goodie bags being given out during Orientation Week. This happens a lot in college, with well-known companies and brands regularly promoting themselves on campus. Watch the SU and college Twitter pages to see what’s on during the next week and pop into the Hub every once in a while to see what’s on offer. Budgeting can only help so much and you’ll be glad of the free Pot Noodles and Cup-a-Soups when all that’s left is mouldy bread and half empty naggins.

Get involved.
There are a huge amount of clubs and societies in DCU which really enhance college life. There’s always something on and it gives you a chance to meet people and make friends, especially if you’re shy at first. You’ll see all of these during Clubs and Socs day so keep an eye out for ones you’d be interested in.

Be sound.
College can be scary, especially when there’s alcohol involved. Mind yourself and your friends and make sure everyone’s alright. You might think it’s normal for people to get so drunk they can’t walk but it’s not, so have a bit of common sense and watch the measures. Also, not everyone is independent and many people get homesick. Don’t slag your roommates if they miss home and have trouble settling in, everyone has moments where they just want their mammy.

Learn how to reference properly.
It may sound stupid and unnecessary, but you wouldn’t believe how important referencing is. It seems simple, but it isn’t, and don’t rely on reference generators, just in case. Some lecturers will get annoyed if you reference incorrectly and count it as plagiarism. While this may have been alright when we were all spewing out the same answers in the LC, it’s kind of an academic crime, so get working on those bibliographies.

Enjoy yourself.
It IS college. These are the best days of your life, right?

Janine Kavanagh

Image credit: AnneMarie Kelly

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