The following advice for students everywhere who are facing into that stage where they will be making the transition from the familiar school environment to a very different college environment, comes from TCD education consultant and author, Catherine O'Connor
Many thoughts will occupy your mind as you prepare for college. Will I make new friends? Will I fit in? Will I be academically able for my chosen course of study? You may also be worried about moving away from home. Rest assured that most of your concerns will pass without too much complication and you will welcome a fresh start.
Believe in your own ability You have come this far, don’t stop now. Things will seem very strange at first - new structures, new people, new system. You are not alone. Most students feel the same.
Take responsibility Find out what your academic day demands of you such as: lectures, tutorials, demonstrations, laboratory sessions, study sessions and other interactions.
Read the handbook Every course has one. Find out key information which will include; deadlines, key dates and times, examination structures, rules and regulations and much more.
Start as you intend to continue Attend registration, induction sessions, lectures, tutorials, demonstrations etc. and avail of any supports and services made available to you in the course of study. Develop a strong work ethic: You need to develop a consistent approach to your study, learning how to manage your time in meeting many different and conflicting deadlines.
Be organised Date your lectures, take notes and rewrite your notes soon after. These are your personal guide to your work and should be filed in a systematic order. Back up your work: Too many tears are shed over work lost and excuses are not tolerated at college. Store this information in different and accessible places.
Get to know yourself better Understand your strengths and weaknesses, know your friends, your confidants, know when you are comfortable in situations and when you feel threatened. Remember there is help at college for all situations whether you get into social, personal or academic difficulty. It’s good to talk.
Get involved Freshers' week is an exciting and eventful week in which you will be introduced to college life, sports, clubs and societies. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and form lasting friendships which will shape and define your student experience. College is not all about study, it is important to adapt socially.
Make things happen Being successful at college is about becoming informed, taking control, ownership and responsibility. Be your own driver. Set your own goals, monitor your progress, seek feedback and reward yourself when the work is done. By taking control and getting involved you will have a truly memorable experience and this will facilitate your development in becoming a mobile, employable and contributing citizen of our world.
Article Author Catherine O’Connor, Trinity College Dublin, Education Consultant and Author of ‘Cracking the College Code’ - a practical guide to making the most of the first year college experience. Published by CJ Fallon Ltd and available at all good bookshops and online at www.crackingthecollegecode.ie ©Catherine O’Connor 2016