Katie ‘Mammy’ Quinlan, your SU Welfare Officer writes about the often daunting challenge faced by students entering a new chapter of their academic lives.
Starting college is such a big deal. Some of you have moved away from home, you’ve all stepped away from being spoon-fed your education and you’ve just entered a world where, most of the time, no one checks your attendance. What a time to be alive! A message I tried to give to all the Freshers I met over orientation was: you’re not going to love this place straight away. I’ve already met so many Freshers who are beating themselves up and questioning why they’re not completely settled into their new lives.
It’s hard, it’s a significant change and you’re not going to be a pro in a matter of days. I’ve seen so many Dear Fresher me articles since the beginning of term from various universities, while they may seem cliché there are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself. Feeling lonely and anxious every now and then is normal, I came from a house of five people that were constantly going. There were days where I would come home from lectures and my apartment would be empty for hours. This is where I made one of my biggest mistakes, I allowed myself to live in this loneliness. I would get under the covers and binge watch different series to the point where I would have no idea what time of the day it was. While some of you might think this sounds like a great way to spend your time, it made me so unhappy.
I would spend the day promising myself I would go to society events, fill my evening with something other than sitting at home. Then it would get to five o’clock and I would just end up going home and repeating this cycle I was stuck in. I had no lectures on Fridays so every Thursday evening I would hop on a bus home to Tipperary, missing out on so many amazing nights with these friends that begged me to stay.
I’m not sure when it happened but I suddenly realised that I needed to either leave UCC and move back home or do something about this rut I was stuck in. I started to attend society events, I stuck around after lectures and had coffee with friends, I started to study and do assignments in the library rather than at home in bed. Something changed. I started to really love Cork, I started to enjoy this new freedom I had and I realised how lucky I was to be attending this amazing university full of amazing people.
There are still days where I want to sit down and cry, but they’re very rare. There are still days where I wish I could run home to my mom. But I absolutely love this place and I am so happy I chose to study here. Give it time and you will to, be kind to yourself and allow some transition time. You’re only human.
As always, I’m here if you need anything and you can grab me on firstname.lastname@example.org.