Psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy advises on making the best of college life

Students relax outside University College Dublin - Dr Eddie advises on adjusting to college life
College is not only for academic achievement, but for personal development, fun and making friends. However sticking at the study lets you stick in college!

College is not only for academic achievement, but for personal development, fun and making friends. However sticking at the study lets you stick in college!

Get involved

Especially during Orientation Week. Events aimed at first-years, like tours of the college, connect you to the campus, help you meet people, and prepare you for academic success.

College brings an opportunity to make a vast array of friends. Attend the college’s clubs and societies day. Join ones you have a strong interest in as you are likely to get on well with the other members and will make friends.

Go to class

The key difference in third level study is an emphasis on self-directed learning. It is your responsibility to take care of your education; attending lectures and tutorials, research in the library, or writing assignments to a deadline.

College is an amazing experience, but you can’t stay if you fail. Missing class is the worst thing you can do. Your goal is to graduate, while still having some fun.

Learn to say “No.” 

This may be one of the most challenging skills to learn. College life provides various fun activities and clubs, but saying “yes” to everything will lead you to trouble. Your academics and time management will suffer, and you’ll burn out.

get help before it’s too late 

If you do find yourself in a position where you have burned yourself out and taken on to much, the most important thing you can do is ask for help.

Colleges are generally good places for help; no one wants to see you do poorly. If you’re struggling in a class, ask your lecturer for help or go to a tutoring centre.

Most colleges have specific centres for students who have difficulty with the basics such as Maths and English. If you’re having a hard time adjusting, talk to someone in the counselling centre. Fixing a smaller problem is almost always easier than fixing a big one.

overcome the nerves

It is normal to feel a bit nervous as you move away from home. But once you settle in and make friends, this feeling will ease. This is what the college experience is all about, learning to stand on your own two feet – it’s as much about personal development as it is about academia.

keep in touch with home

It is typical that you will miss all kinds of people back at home. Managing a long-distance relationship can be hard, but it doesn’t have to mean you can’t stay. You can miss someone and still make it in college. Think of all the easy ways to keep in touch with your family and friends – they are only a call away. It will make you stronger as a person if you stay and live away from home – there’s always the weekends.

Drink at your own pace

College brings a surge of independence. You no longer have parents or guardians telling you what to do or what time to be home at – so take this independence with a little maturity. You may be tempted to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Excessive drinking can have many consequences such as unprotected sex, aggressive behaviour, assaults, vandalism and injury. Pace yourself while drinking with peers and only drink what you feel comfortable drinking.

skills to help you

Throughout your years at college, you will find yourself in various situations and the following skills might help you cope better.

Such skills include flexibility, openness and discipline. Furthermore try and embrace diversity during your time in college, as you will come across an assortment of people, with different attitudes, sexuality and beliefs.