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0 In College/ Lifestyle

How To Balance College And Your Social Life

It can be a huge adjustment from school to college and you aren’t given much time to do it. You are thrown from the clutches of the Leaving Cert and CAO madness into the abyss of college life and expecting to prevail. It can be difficult to find your ground and your routine again. Here are just a few small things to help you along the way.

Join societies and sports, even crazy ones

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t tried the sport before or have never heard of the society, join them if you are interested. Societies are where you have the most fun and make the most friends. It can be a great way to kick-start your college social life. And if you need to miss training sessions for one reason or another no one is going to kick you out. It’s an understood fact that students are busy. 

Plan ahead

Start keeping a diary, just to jot down what will be happening in the following week. It becomes apparent quite quickly that student lives can be pretty jam-packed. So, just to help you plan and make sure you make the most of your time I suggest writing it down. 

Don’t have F.O.M.O

F.O.M.O for those who don’t know is the Fear Of Missing Out. It can be a real thing when you start college, especially when you want to make and secure friendships, to want to go to everything. But just remember its college there is always another time to do things. Don’t let F.O.M.O ruin things. 

Use those connections 

People who have been in college, friends who are a year ahead of you, siblings and cousins. Anyone and everyone who in college, even if it isn’t the same one as you are, talk to them. They have the experience that you don’t, and you could get some really handy advice that you wouldn’t find in the handbook. 

Don’t do nights out before nine a.m.’s unless you plan to miss them

College is about you. No one is going to force you to go or pay attention and college is only valuable to you when you pay attention. So, if you are going to fall asleep in lectures I’d say it’s not worth it. Sometimes you have to be a grown up and say no to a night out if it’s only going to cause trouble the next day.

NAP

College will be useless if you don’t take in any of the information because your too tired, which means if you don’t understand the subjects in class you will have to study more which will mean an even bigger loss of time. You should actually make time to nap to make sure you have enough energy. 

0 In College/ Lifestyle/ School

CAO 101: The Guide To A Successful CAO Application

So, I know you must’ve thought that the CAO was miles away and that you had absolutely ages to get that all sorted, but in the craziness of sixth year you managed to leave it a little late and now the deadline has creeped up out of nowhere.

Well not to worry, here is the ultimate guide to having the successful, stress free application. Just remember, pick your course because you want it not because other people want it. 

Here are some tips to help you wade through the stress and confusion of the CAO application.

1.Go to open days. 

Colleges have open days through most of October and November and most colleges repeat them again in January and February, so schedule in a trip. For bigger courses like Medicine or Law they will have their own separate open days. Going to Open Days can really help you chose which college you want to go to. It’s a great chance to get the overall feel of a college and it might be easier to visualise yourself actually going to that college.

2. Process of elimination. 

Picking a course can be seriously hard, especially if don’t know what you want to do. Start by writing down your interests and your favourite subjects. Then look up college courses that resemble those choices and by process of elimination you can start to narrow them down. 

3. Read up on courses on Qualifax 

Qualifax is a very useful website that basically has all the information about any course in Ireland. It gives you the course breakdown, points needed, if there are any special requirements and more. Read about the course you’re interested in to make sure that you really understand exactly what the course is about. You may find something you might not like about the course that will turn you off it, so it’s better to know now rather than find yourself sitting in a lecture come September that leaves you going “WTF”.

4. Read CAO handbook and watch the online video. 

Not only will this make the entire CAO application process less daunting, but it will help stop you from making small mistakes in the application.  So, don’t cut corners when it comes to reading the handbook, it has all the information. Boring we know, but it’s there for a reason.

5. Give the CAO a weekend to think about. 

Don’t leave it between study breaks. You need to give it a whole weekend at least so that you know you’re making the right decision. There is no point in putting loads of effort into studying hard for exams only to come out with a course you don’t really like because you’ve made a mess of the CAO. 

6. Remember to fill as many spaces as you can in your course list. 

Each CAO year is subjective to the students that sit their Leaving Cert in that year. Course points will go up and down depending on how many people want the course. Don’t chance it and only put one course on your CAO even if you are certain you can get the points. Things can always change, so my advice would be to fill all ten of the course spaces or at least some of them. 

7. Have backups 

Don’t just fill you whole application with the exact same course from different colleges, have another choice down there. Fill in some level seven courses. Go to an interview for a PLC just in case. Have backups for your backups. Just play it safe when it comes to the CAO. 

8. Make decisions for you. 

It doesn’t matter what your parents want you to do or what your teacher tells you is the easiest route for a job. Pick your course based on what you want to study. It’s worthless spending four years in a course you don’t like; you’ll go insane. A job will come later.

9. DO NOT change your mind on what course you want after exams. 

Even if you think you out-right failed the LC, don’t take a course off because you think you won’t get it. You may do better than you think, and points may still go down. If you don’t get it your second choice will still be there, but it’ll hurt if you end up getting the points after taking your top choice off. Seriously, it would be soul destroying!

10. You Need To Get An Application In Now

And the reason we’re talking about the CAO application now is that one of the super important deadlines is quickly looming. deadline. The 1st of February is the main cut off-date. Even if you’re not 100% what in the name of God you’re doing come next September, get your name in the system. Those deadlines are there for a reason. You are not a special snowflake in the eyes of the CAO. Excuses and exceptions won’t be made just for you, so get your application in on time. If one of your course choices is on the restricted courses list you must have your application with the course on it in by the 1st of February. This is really important if you have you heart set on a medicine course.

The closing date for late applications is the 1st of May. You can read the full list of deadlines on the website.

We have a whole section on Missy.ie dedicated to the CAO application process because we obvs love it SO much! You can read up about it here.

 

Best of luck to everyone submitting a CAO application this year!

0 In College/ Lifestyle

The Best Student Discounts In Ireland

Sure, getting an education is great BUT it’s also pretty awesome to be able to get student discounts once you start college A lot of us are on strict budgets when we’re in college, so student discounts go a long way. We already shared some tips for saving money when you’re in college, but one of the best money-saving hacks is to know the full potential of your student status.

Here are the best student discounts in Ireland…

 

In Store Student Discounts

Just flashing your college ID should get you discount in:

  • Topshop 10% (this even applies in the Topshop sales – how fab is that?!).
  • New Look 10% (keep an eye out for their occasional 20% off for students).
  • Boots using the Student Leap Card (collect ALL the points as well with a Boots card!)
  • River Island offer student discounts on certain dates in association with Student Beans .
  • H&M also offer a discount on certain dates with UNiDAYS and Student Beans.
  • Specsavers offer 25% off to students with a valid student ID.
  • Office, Life Style Sports and Aldo offer 10% to students once you flash your travel card
  • Movies at Dundrum run a student deal where you get a large popcorn, large soft drink and a ticket to a movie all for €10.
  • The Wicklow Street Clinic offer 10% off all services for students.

 

Online Student Discounts

By signing up to websites like UNiDAYS and Student Beans you gain access to student discounts online. Simply pop in the name of the shop you are purchasing from in the search bar, you’ll then be given a code to enter into the “promo/discount code” section of checkout, and boom! Discounts off your online purchases!

By signing up to UNiDAYS you get discounts from:

…and lots more! Sign up to UNiDAYS for free here.

 

Travel Discounts

If you do any traveling get the Student Leap Card. The card gives you student rates on Bus Eireann, The Luas, Dublin Bus, DART, Irish Rail and on private bus companies. It also gives discounts on other products and services like Boots, McDonalds, GAA and D.I.D Electrical. It only costs €10 to get the card, but you’ll make that back easily with all of the discounts.

 

Food Discounts

One skill you have to gain when you become a student is the art of cooking. Sometimes though, you may have a treat yourself moment and decide to order a takeaway! You can get up to €6.50 off via Deliveroo with UNiDAYS!

You can also get 20% off in store with Eddie Rockets by using the UNiDAYS app!

 

Student Society Discounts

A lot of college societies offer student discounts with membership. Most will have offers that are specific to each college location and tend to mainly include discounts on food and coffee. Ask around and find out which societies offer the best discounts in your college.

Are there any other Student Discounts in Ireland that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below!

0 In College/ Lifestyle

Tried & Tested: Tips For Saving Money In College

Tried & Tested: Tips For Saving Money In College

Two years down, one to go. As I entered my final year of study at college I took a moment to sit down and think about how my spending habits have changed from my 1st year in college to now. I think it is safe to say I have learned a few tricks to help you save a few bob here and there, so I thought why not share with you? Even if you only save as little as €10 a week, it all adds up.

 

Tips For Saving Money In College

Tried & Tested: Tips For Saving Money In College

Tip #1 – Don’t overdo it on the weekly shop

This is something my mother used to constantly warn me about, and I really should have taken her advice sooner. Moving away from home and becoming independent means you have to fend for yourself, and feed yourself. It’s easy to get carried away when doing your food shop, thinking  ‘FINALLY, I can buy the food I actually WANT to eat! No more junk food, dream bod here I come!’. But the fact of the matter is college life is hectic, you wont always have time to cook a wholesome dinner each night, even though you think you will.

A lot of the food you buy will go straight back into the bin, and there is no worse feeling than seeing your money wasted like that. Instead, try buying foods you can get dinner out of for more than one night a week, or something as simple as going halves with your friend/housemate on dinner one or two nights a week can be a big help. Also, Lidl and Aldi will be your best friends. If one is not convenient to you, make sure to take advantage of the Dunnes Stores and Tesco loyalty cards!

 

Tip #2 – Invest in a flask

If you are anything like me and you require in and around 7 cups of coffee on a typical day then this will help you BIG TIME. I had gotten myself into an awful habit of buying coffees here and there without actually taking into consideration just how much they were setting me back a week. If I made my 9am lecture? Mocha as a reward. Hour off in between classes? Great time to grab a coffee. Walking home and hands getting a bit chilly? A coffee will heat them right up. But spending just €2.50 a day on a coffee meant I was spending €12.50 a week and €50 a month…ON COFFEE.

Instead, buy yourself a cute flask and fill it up with coffee or tea in the mornings, TK Maxx have a great range of them. Missy loves this But First, Coffe mug! Don’t try and stop cold turkey though, you can still treat yourself to that hazelnut latte…but try limit it to once a week.

 

Tip #3 – …and a lunchbox

If you know you’re going to have a long day in college then simply bring a packed lunch. For a while, I almost felt embarrassed about bringing in a packed lunch but soon you’ll realise it’s actually very common and really will do your purse a favour. Instead of spending €3/4 on a pre-packaged sandwich, bring your own along with some fruit or nuts for you to snack on to keep you feeling full for the day.

Tried & Tested: Tips For Saving Money In College

Tip #4 – Open a savings account

Now, most of you probably already have a savings account much like myself. However, my ‘savings’ account was actually used to fund my extreme addiction to online shopping as it was linked to my debit card, making it all just far too easy. The trick here is to keep this account along with opening another savings account, a real savings account.

If you’re with AIB and take advantage of their mobile banking app everything is right there in front of you. You can then use this app to transfer money from your debit account into the savings account, meaning you can’t just recklessly spend whatever money is on your card. Trust me when I say this little hack has done me the world of good! Bear in mind, I definitely still recommend to keep some dolla bills on your card in case of an emergency, or be sure to keep a small amount of cash on you.

Tried & Tested: Tips For Saving Money In College

Tip #5 – Make a Depop account

This is honestly one of the things that saved me during my incessant spending on clothes. If you’re unaware of the concept of Depop it is basically an app where you can buy and sell clothes. It has been around since 2011 but has really grown in the past 2/3 years. I am a huge fan of the app, it is safe so long as you purchase/sell through the app and you can find some amazing bargains there too! I used it as an extra little source of income and highly recommend you give it a go.

You can follow my Depop @idkveronica.

 

Tried & Tested: Tips For Saving Money In College

Tip #6 – Budget for your night out

And most importantly, leave the card at home! The invention of contactless payment was created by the devil himself. So do yourself a favour, leave the card behind and avoid the absolute fear of waking up the next morning and having to check your bank balance. Instead bring cash, just enough for a drink or two inside the club, the taxi home and garlic chips if the food after a night out is a holy ritual for you, like myself.

Read More: Tips For Staying Safe On A Night Out

 

So, there you have it. Just a few of the small ways I’ve learned to save money without feeling like I’m making myself suffer, hopefully some of the tips are helpful to you.

Have you any tips for saving money in college?

 

0 In College/ Lifestyle

5 Reasons College Is The Best

5 Reasons College Is The Best

Yes, college can be stressful at times and there are serious responsibilities involved, but it’s such an new and exciting adventure. So whether you’ve just started your first year in college and you need some reassurance or you’re still a few years off college but need something to look forward to, here are 5 reasons that college is the best…

 

The Independence

It can be hard to adjust to the change initially, but once you realise just how fab it is to be your own boss, you won’t look back. As always keep your safety in mind, especially on nights out in a new city, but being able to decide what you do when and what time you go home at can be so great. Independence is great and it really shows who you are. Yes, it is a serious learning curve, but you’ll get there and you’ll be so proud of yourself when you do.

 

The Societies

Honestly, the best thing about college is the societies. Join all the popular ones, but also join some obscure and random ones too – like archery! Ask around and see what people recommend. Some colleges like UCD and Trinity are very well-known for having incredible celebrity guest speakers, so it’s well worth investing a few euro in a society. Societies usually have discounts too! If you’re worried about making new friends societies offer a great chance to get to meet people who have similar interests to you. Having friends outside your course is always a good idea too!

 

The Social Life

Say hello to a whole new social life. There are nights out galore, balls to attend, silent discos, mystery tours…we could go on and on. A lot of societies also offer trips away at a lower cost, definitely try do at least one of these – they’re always an interesting experience. If nights out aren’t your thing, there are always sports teams to join or knitting clubs (they’re surprisingly fun!) Find something that interests you.

 

New Friends

Did you know that most people meet their best friends in college? True story. And although you really should keep up your friendships with your gang from school, college is the best for making friends from different places with vast interests. Like we said before, sometimes its the person who least expect is the person who you end up becoming BFFs with, so keep an open mind about everyone who you meet. And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; be the first person to start a conversation. This is a whole new start, so it’s the perfect chance to leave your quiet ways behind, if you so wish.

 

Realising That Education Can Be Different

Secondary School is hard. And the Leaving Cert is just a soulless pit of learning things off-by heart and hoping for the best. College is completely different. We hope that you’ve found yourself in a course studying something that you’re truly interested in. A lot of courses also offer you the chance to choose different modules, so you can choose what you study. You’re also encouraged to have your own thoughts and opinions on subjects. It also kinda weird when you realise that you’re not completely governed by the same strict set of rules as school. The first few weeks of not wearing a uniform are pretty weird!

Why do you think college is the best? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter!

0 In College/ Lifestyle

How To Make Your College Room A Home!

Most of you will probably have asserted your independence now that you’re in college, and have moved out of your family home. This can be a very big step. Whilst it’s great to get a bit of independence, it can be hard to make your new digs feel like a home.

Whether you are staying with a host family, on campus, or in a student house, your room is a great chance to put your stamp on your space.  You obviously can’t go wild repainting or hanging up pictures on every available space, so Missy has a few tips to make your room at college a home!

 

Pick A Quirky Duvet Cover!

Whether you are staying in a broom cupboard, or you managed to score a double room, it’s guaranteed there’ll be a bed of some description. A duvet cover is a great way to add a pop of colour and bit of personality to your space. New Look has a great selection! We really love these sloth, llama and mermaid themed sets!

 

Fairy Lights!

We are yet to find a room that doesn’t need a set of fairy lights. They just seem to make everything better! The great thing is most fairy lights you buy are battery-powered so your room mates can’t blame you for a pricey electricity bill.

We love the fact you can make these ASOS lights into a sign. If you fancy hanging some Polaroids, why not try these cute clip lights?

 

Cushions

A few scatter cushions can do a room the world of good. They add a pop of colour and texture. While they can be a nuisance to take on and off your bed everyday, you’ll love the sense of comfort and homeyness they bring.

We adore the selection ASOS has! The eyelash one is our fav! Add a pop of colour with the pink flamingos, or take the slogan trend a step further with this FUN cushion!

 

Plants & Succulents

Whether you opt for real or fake, there is one place you turn to for all your potted plant needs – IKEA! If you’re looking to add a little touch of the outdoors to your room but you’re not the best at keeping plants alive try these artificial plants and succulents. If you’re up for the challenge of keeping a plant alive, we love these orchid and bamboo plants.

 

Pictures

When we’re away from family, friends, and pets in college you can start to feel a little homesick. A great way to tackle this is to decorate your room with pictures from home. Blu-tac can ruin walls so why not try some cute stand alone frames. There are some super cute frames out there, we’ve selected some of our faves! Including a cute memo board for notes and photos!

 

Have you any tips for decorating your college room?

0 In College/ Lifestyle/ Wellness

How To Beat Homesickness In College

How To Beat Homesickness In College

There are two types of people who move away for college: those who love life from the second the parental unit say a tearful goodbye and those who struggle to adjust. And there’s no shame in that at all.

Often it’s not exactly homesickness, but more a general anxiety about how much has suddenly changed in your life. It’s perfectly normal to crave going home and returning to your normal and old life, but ultimately live does propel onwards, even if you’re not entirely ready. Here are some simple tips to help beat homesickness in college…

 

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

It’s okay to feel homesick. The jump to college is a big one, especially after the world-wind of L.C results and CAO offers. You might also have ended up in a different course, college or county than you had planned for 6 weeks ago. It’s a lot. Allow yourself the time to adjust to the change.

 

Don’t Give In

Stay positive, it will get better. Moving to college and feeling homesick is often the first real test of adulthood that many of us face. It’s so tempting to just want to give into it and head back to the security of home, but really think long and hard about where that will get you in the long-run. You obviously want to be at college if you applied and put in the work. So, realistically it’s not the best idea to pack it all in. That is unless you are pretty sure that you’ve made a huge mistake in picking the course that you did – it happens! In this case make sure that you have a chat with you college ASAP to make to ensure that you’re where you’re supposed to be.

 

Plan, Plan, Plan

It can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of being your own boss all of a sudden. It’s your responsibility to get yourself up in the morning. You might have to navigate the horror show that is Dublin Bus (to us culchies at least!) and think about what you’re actually going to eat every, single day. Suddenly the thought of not having mammy’s home cooked meal waiting for you feels very bleak. To ease yourself in to the reality of being an adult batch cook your food in advance. Also, M&S do great microwave meals, because…adulting!

 

Start Building Your New Life

Decorate your new college bedroom so that it starts to reflect you and is more homely instead of a lifeless jail cell. Join societies left, right and centre. It’s so fun to try out something new and interesting. And a hobby will distract you. Set yourself the task of speaking to one new person a day in your course. Start exploring your new surroundings too. The quicker you become familiar with everything, the faster you’ll start to feel more at-ease. And as they always say, fake it until you make it.

 

Buddy Up

College can be such an exciting time when it comes to making friends and although we wouldn’t recommend limiting your new friendship option, try befriend at least one person who is “from up the country” too. It can be so nice to have sometime who relates to the struggles. No offence to those who have the luxury of still living at home, but sometimes you really don’t get the true struggles of being away from home for college and how lonely in can be initially.

 

Go Home When You Can

Friday can feel like an awful long way away on a lonely Monday night, but it’s not. And if you feel like you need to go home every weekend, then do. Also if you feel the need to Skype home every evening, do that too. Keep in touch with your friends from home as well, chances are they might be going through the same thing too. It’s good to have your “home” friends and “college” friends.

 

It’s really important to remember that homesickness is normal. We all have out bouts of loneliness once we move out of home for the first time. Be sure to look forward at all the positive things your college time holds for you. You’ve only just begun!

Have you any tips to beat homesickness in college? Let us know in the comments below.

Read More: What You Need To Know Before Starting College 

0 In College/ Lifestyle

Tips On Finding Student Accommodation In Today’s Rental Market

If you have recently accepted a CAO offer for a course this article may be of interest of you! Firstly, congrats! Secondly, if you thought the LC was stressful we have a shock for you! We’re not ones to sugar coat anything here at Missy. We give you the facts and tell it like it is. And unfortunately, finding student accommodation isn’t always easy. Especially as everyone clamours to find a space at the same time after CAO offers drop! It can feel immensely stressful. For those of you who may have to struggle to find a place, the experience can turn you into an adult almost over night. Welcome to adulting!

Whilst we can’t magic you up a room in a great location for a cheap price and fab roommates, we can help you avoid any dodgy ads or scams out there with our tips for finding student accommodation.

1. Always View The Property

Never ever agree to take accommodation over the phone or via email. Whilst the ad may say a spacious room, and the pictures look legit, it’s so simple for landlords to fake these images. Always arrange a viewing to ensure the room is up to standard (no damp, or mould etc), and is as it says/looks online. Even if it’s your neighbours cousins daughters nephew who has the room, go to see it! The last thing you or your parents want to do is pay a small fortune on a deposit for somewhere that isn’t legit!

2. Never Go To A Viewing Alone

Whilst it may be an easier solution to just hop in the car or on the bus/train to head to a viewing alone try to organise for someone to go with you. A parent, aunt, uncle, older sibling or cousin would be ideal. Not only is it safer if the person advertising the room has bad intentions, but an older wiser person who’s been through rented accommodation before will know the right questions to ask about bills etc.

3. Trust No One

This one kind of ties in with our first point, and while it does sound dramatic, it’s a rule to live by when accommodation hunting! The amount of people we have met throughout our combined university experiences here at Missy, who have been stung by fake ads is shocking! If a listing looks too good to be true, then it probably is (soz).

How To Tell If A Listing Is Dodgy

You’ve probably heard how crazy the rental market has become in recent months/years. Major cities like Cork, Limerick, Waterford and of course Dublin, are experiencing unbelievable rent hikes. So, the major giveaway that listings on places like Daft.ie are fake is the price for the quality of the place. If the pictures are of an amazing apartment – double room with an ensuite, in a great central location and priced at something reasonable like €350 a month, then its defo a scam.

In searching for accommodation with a friend a few years back, an apartment popped up; 2 double rooms, both ensuite in Rathmines (a nice central area in Dublin) for €1000 a month. That is a bargain believe it or not. €500 each in a modern apartment with the place to ourselves, and willing to let to students? Our life was made. However, when we got an email back from the landlord saying they bought the apartment for their daughter (v generous Dad), but they were no longer in the country and so once we’d sent money for a deposit (€2000) he’d send us on the keys… Em, yeah right..

4. Always Check The Tenancy Agreement/Lease

Renting accommodation can sometimes mean you have to sublet. This means you rent the room from the current occupier due to the fact that they are moving out but don’t want to pay to get out of their lease. This can be a good thing and a bad thing; seeing as you’re not on the lease you can’t be liable for a lot of stuff. On the flip side, if you’re not on the lease it can also mean you don’t have a lot of tenant rights. If you want to look into your rights as a tenant, threshold is a really good resource.

5. Contact Your College’s Student Union

College’s and University’s usually have a Student Union (SU) that will have an accommodation support service. This can include private Facebook Pages with fellow students and people looking to fill rooms, or other websites with the purpose to find a room. The resources your SU runs are very strict, so you can know the ads are legit.

How has your search for accommodation been? Any tips to share with fellow accommodation seekers?