Advice for Freshers: Excitement, New Experiences and Out Of Your Comfort Zone.


I really wish I had had something like this last year when I was heading into my first year.
I actually wrote a post about my fears of going into first year and a diary of my first week in college. Of course, I was very excited about this new experience to come, but as a naturally very shy person I was freaking out at the thought of being around so many strangers. Going into a new course basically alone was a huge deal for me. Back home I had a few very close friends and heading into the unknown scared me.

It's okay to feel absolutely lost for a while. It really is, you've just been plunged into a world that you've never experienced before. For so many you've just moved away from home. You will be excited too. The freedom is great, but don't lose your head! Enjoy the independence and have new experiences. I found myself out of my comfort zone. My secondary school had three hundred students, at any given time about thirteen thousand people are in and around UL. That's a hell of a lot of people. Don't let yourself be stressed on your own, it's not worth it. So many people on campus want to help you out and vice versa, if you see someone looking scared out of their wits, try and help them.
One of the maps included in my Freshers pack last year.
Most colleges have mentors specially chosen to help first years out for the first few weeks. There's no shame whatsoever in asking for help. I remember going into the courtyard to seek out people involved in UL's First Seven Weeks to help me navigate the maze-like main building in the University of Limerick. You'll find your way in no time. I don't think there's anyone on campus who doesn't want you to feel comfortable in your new environment. All colleges have some sort of chaplain and counselling service available if you need you need it. UL's First Seven Weeks effort was really beneficial. Information here. Most of the other students, staff and lecturers will be more than happy to help you out with any issues you have.

Whether you move into student accommodation for your first year or a house off campus, you're going to have new housemates. For me anyway, getting to know my housemates was key because first of all, you're living with these people for the next eight months, secondly, it's great to have people you can genuinely like hanging out with during free hours or when college is finished for the evening. I've kept in contact with most of my housemates and I hope to meet them for drinks during my second year. So many fond memories of my first year were with my housemates, whether it was going for walks at night, late night drinks at the college bar, having movie nights and pranking one another in the apartment you'll really enjoy yourself.

Orientation week for me was key to meeting friends. Many of my friends are naturally in my own course and I met some of these one of the first  days of orientation while being shown around the college. I remember laughing about how weird we looked in our college student cards, booing when ads for other colleges came up on screens when we listened to music in a lecture hall. Getting to know people you'll be seeing for most of the next four years is a must in my opinion. You'll be able to have people to discuss assignments with and it's always nice to have someone to walk with while heading to the next lecture.

You'll be given Freshers packs with lots of things to help you in first few weeks, eg food like curry sauce and rice, maps of buildings and the campus and OF COURSE, in the interests of practicing safe sex, a condom. Most student unions will provide these cheap if you require them. And of course, don't let anyone pressure you into doing ANYTHING you don't want to do. I've thankfully gone through my first year in college without being in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation, but there are people who have. So be safe and if you don't want to have sex, don't. It's your own choice and never let anyone make you feel like abstaining is a bad thing.

You don't have to go to college and aim to hook up with as many people as possible. If you want to, it's up to you. You might want to stay single or get into a relationship. Whatever you do should be your choice. Just be careful is what I want to say. Don't put yourself in a dangerous situation and stay safe. Also look after yourself. Mental health is a fragile thing.

Freshers week is something you should definitely participate in. Last year I attended concerts, meetups in the college bar and other events throughout the week. It's SUCH good fun. In the first week in UL we have the recruitment drive, where societies recruit new members! Go and take a look at what YOUR college has to offer. There's something for everyone. Through joining societies, I met some of my college friends  and some of these people I would count as my closest friends. It's a great way to meet people with similar interests, get new hobbies and immerse yourself in college life. Get involved in different events on campus, there's always something on. You'll meet people from lots of different age groups, courses and backgrounds. Most societies have events during the year and I recommend you do them. Use the gym if you can, or jog around campus. There are usually safe areas to jog.

I've used examples and images to do with the University of Limerick throughout this post because that's my college. But I guarantee that any college you go to will have similar events, services and experiences to this. I really hope you all feel like you belong this time next year.

I'm heading into my second year with some of the same fears. Things change and some remain the same. Will I like my new modules? Is there added stress this year? Is the atmosphere going to change? I have no idea what it's going to be like, but like ALL you first years, I've to head into college with an open mind and BE BRAVE.

I put this picture in my post last year on my college fears and it's for both YOU and ME. It may be cheesy but please try and take it on board. Like I said, please please be careful with yourself, others, your mental health, your education and your happiness. Protect your hearts because, you never know who you might meet in college, life is a funny thing.

EDIT: If you're still nervous and would like to talk to someone, you message me away on any of my social medias, especially those who have chosen my course. All welcome.

As always, thank you for reading.
All photos are merely for promotional and decorative purpose.

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  1. I went to your older post from your first week of college and I think it's really neat how fears seem to be universal across college live around the world. Good luck in your second year! My best advice after four years of college is to find a "home" within your university. After I joined a sorority, I had found my "home" and I really the experiences I gained from it.

  2. Meagan, thanks so much for your advice. A few things hava changed for me going back but I hope I can make it through. I really appreciate you commenting on this.


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