9 things no one tells you about starting college
Brought to you by Irish Rail
The uni-dulterated truth
It isn't a myth, college really will give you some of the best years of your life. It's a huge change from secondary school though, and at times it feels like a rollercoaster of emotions.
Especially if you're going somewhere far away from home, it can be a bit of a culture shock. You should be excited though, some of the most important things you learn will apply to everyone, regardless of what you chose to study.
On-campus life isn't all that glamorous
You've probably seen dozens of American movies that basically show college dorms as party central, with wild frat parties a regular occurrence. The truth is, most campus accommodation have security guards who will shine a flashlight through your window for having the telly on too loud after 11 pm.
Your room will probably be a mess 45 minutes after you unpack, and there's a good chance it'll remain in a similar state for the foreseeable. Chin up though, that little cubby hole is set to be your home for the next few months. Plus, you'll gain the lifelong skill of making the most out of the little space at your disposal.
There's no dress code
Unless you're some sort of fashionista, you won't be turning up to lectures in your Sunday best. You might make yourself look tidy for the first day, but that tracksuit and hoodie you normally only wear at the weekend will be calling your name.
We challenge anyone to look their best whilst hungover at a 9 am lecture. The lecturer should be grateful you even made it.
Coffee will be your friend
Speaking of those early lectures, there is nothing on earth that will prepare you better for one than a fresh cup of coffee. There's always the chance you'll be paying more attention to how damn tasty it is to whatever is going on in class, but at least your brain is functioning.
Another time coffee will save the day is when you either have to stay up for a cramming session. Exams and assignments that seemed "ages" away have a knack of creeping up on you. Regardless of how well you did in your Leaving Cert, it's going to happen. Accept it, and be prepared for it.
Your schedule will go to hell
Remember the days when you got up at the same time every day to go to school? Yeah, that probably isn't going to happen in college.
Suddenly your sleeping pattern will turn into that of a barn owl, and your brain will reach optimum power somewhere between 11 pm and 2 am.
Nap time is a good time
The only thing that will maintain your sanity throughout your erratic weekly schedule is a solid nap. No one will judge you for having a kip after lunch on a Wednesday afternoon, and the people who do are only jealous.
You'll wake up fresh as a daisy ready to face the world.
College books are expensive and/or useless
Remember that email that showed you all the "required" reading material. Yeah, there's a good chance you'll need them a grand total of once. Best €120 you'll ever spend.
If you don't know anyone who's already in the college, talk to the student's union to see if they have second-hand books or a renting service. More than likely, you'll end up saving a huge amount of money on something you won't get that much use out of.
Cooking for yourself is overrated
This is the time you'll miss home the most. Sure, the freedom might seem like a blessing at the start, but there will likely come a time when you crave a home-cooked meal.
After you've made your 100th dish of pasta or stirred your millionth pot of noodles, you might get fed up with relying on your own culinary skills.
There's a group or society for EVERYTHING
Ever want to learn traditional African dance or have a Harry Potter marathon with 30 other people? You'll more than likely find a group or society that fits the bill in your college.
Don't be surprised if you end up in 14 different groups by the end of clubs & socs sign-up day. Everything from Judo to Ludo is likely to be on offer, so maybe hold off before taking too much onto your plate.
The alone time on the train.
You will have absolutely loads of time to meet people while you're actually in college, so time to yourself can be quite rare.
Rare, but extremely important.
And what better time to relax than on the train home after a long week? It can be a moment of peace throughout a period of chaos, and you'll be glad for it.
Or you could just use the journey to catch up on sleep...
No matter how you find your first year in college, know that home isn't far away. Irish Rail offers discounts for students on all journeys, so you can get home for the weekends in comfort. Follow Irish Rail on Facebook and Twitter for all their latest news.