Surviving First Year

Motley Staff Writer Sadhbh Sullivan gives her advice to all new members of the UCC community on how to settle into university life post-freshers week

Starting university for the first time, or even starting a new year of your course, brings with it a whole host of ups and downs. It draws the summer to an end, and begins a new chapter, dedicated to fresh starts, unlimited opportunities and a whole host of challenges associated with student life. Finding your feet in a new routine, full of new faces, places, and living arrangements can be daunting at the best of times, but thankfully, here at UCC there are so many resources available to you to help make the transition to student life as seamless as possible.

 

Make every week a golden week (at least at the start)

If you’re moving to university with a group of your school friends, it can seem a little too easy to skip a few lectures here and there without even batting an eyelid. While this might seem like a great idea in the moment, it’s best to try to attend as many of your lectures as possible. Not only will this help you stay on top of your workload, but attending classes, lectures and tutorials is also a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Unlike secondary school, most of your lectures won’t be concerned about your attendance, so try to concern yourself about it instead. 

Get involved in UCC life

Although everyone has probably told you the benefits of getting involved with different clubs and societies, this can often be easier said than done. Thankfully, there’s something for everyone here at UCC; whether you’re interested in meeting like-minded people or taking up a new hobby. Get in touch with your favourite clubs (sport.ucc.ie) and societies (societies.ucc.ie), to find out how you can get involved. If joining a club or society seems like a step too far into the deep end, don’t forget that you don’t have to do it right away. In January, UCC will see another clubs and Societies Day, which will offer you another chance to get involved. 

Mind your body

If you’re living on your own for the first time, it can be a little bit difficult to adjust to life without parents, siblings, or any other adult that may have offered you guidance in the past. Simple tasks such as cooking your dinner or even washing your own clothes can seem impossible some days, but go easy on yourself. Try to plan out your meals ahead of your weekly shop to avoid overspending on things you don’t need, and to make sure that all your meals are somewhat balanced and healthy. If you can’t find the time or energy to cook, don’t worry, the main rest serve dinner at a great price. 

As UCC students, we’re also fortunate enough to have membership to the Mardyke Arena Health and Leisure Centre. Try to find time to check out the centre’s facilities and classes you might be interested in. 

Ask for help when you need it

You’re never alone. Especially here in UCC. If you’re feeling low, make sure to talk to a friend, family member or make an appointment to see a counsellor by calling 4903565, or emailing counselling@ucc.ie.  

If you need help with some of your course content, ask your lecturers; after all, that’s what they’re paid for! Try to lean on your peers for advice too. If all else fails, book an appointment with one of UCC’s career guidance counsellors, and they’ll be sure to put you on the right track.

Stay safe

With living in a new city comes a whole host of new experiences, good and bad. Cork is a beautiful city, and the best place to spend your early twenties, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without flaws. Be mindful of your drinks on nights out, point out unusual behaviour to bouncers, and never be afraid to speak out about any incident that affects you or your friends negatively.