Cliodhna Quirke details her experiences of moving to the smoke puff of Cork City
For those of you who have moved away from home, everything has changed and right now it might not seem like it has changed for the better. My first piece of advice is simple – stay calm. Plenty of people have made this transition before you, plenty will after you and lots more are currently making it around you. So don’t panic. Moving away from home, you may feel the pressure to go out, to go wild, to succeed, to make new friends, to ensure that these are ‘the best years of your life’, but it is important to realise that you have to look after yourself.
My second piece of advice – don’t expect to love, or even like, your new lifestyle all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, first year of college was one of the best years of my life. That said, university- especially if you’re moving away from home, and even more especially if you’re moving away without friends- can be daunting, overwhelming and lonely. However, for every downside, there are hundreds of positives.
One aspect of moving away from home that can be intimidating is feeling like you are no longer accountable to anyone. While this newfound freedom can be liberating, just because your parents aren’t around to keep tabs on you doesn’t mean you have to do everything they wouldn’t allow. Believe it or not, it is okay to say no to yet another night out and catch up on some sleep, something that you’ll come to realise is scarce in college! You never know, staying in and watching ‘Friends’ reruns all night with your roomies might be just what you need.
If you are finding the transition difficult and maybe feeling a bit homesick, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. UCC offers great support services for students experiencing both academic and personal difficulties. It may be difficult to decipher where to access this help as so much information is thrown at you at the beginning of the year, but if you ask there are plenty of people to help you along the way. Don’t forget, you also have your friends to lean on. Nearly everyone misses home somewhat, so rally around each other.
Don’t expect moving out to be a smooth transition. Do expect to feel lonely from time to time and the miss home. However, also expect to have an amazing year, meet wonderful new people and learn about things that you are actually interested in. As a friend of mine said at the end of the year, “we started the year crying because we wanted to go home and we ended it crying because we didn’t want to leave”.