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The College Diaries: Everyone said it would be amazing, so why am I struggling?

The College Diaries: Everyone said it would be amazing, so why am I struggling?

Amy McLoughlin

By nothing short of a miracle I have managed to survive the first week of college in the big city and it has not been easy. Between learning bus routes, doing my groceries, brand new roommates and moving away from home, the whole experience has been full of ups and downs, tears and smiles and over all extremely exhausting and it’s only the first week.

Bus Route Blunders

Can somebody tell me why there are so many buses in Dublin? Between trying to figure out the difference between the 41 and the 41c as well as the names of all of the bus stops I’m in a tailspin. I grew up in Carlow and the only bus I had ever really taken was the school bus in the mornings, there isn’t a cross town public transport system but in Dublin it’s an entirely different ball game. I didn’t even want to head into town because I didn’t know how to get there or get home and I felt utterly useless. For anyone else struggling with bus routes you are not alone.

The first thing I did was ring someone who knew what they were doing. My older sister came to rescue giving this god send piece of advice; use Google maps and find the names of the stops close to you as well as the buses that stop there. Super easy and extremely useful. Then download the app Real Time Ireland app which shows what buses are coming and going and at what time in your area. It’s easy to use and has put my anxiety over public transport blunders to rest.

Something that nobody tells you

Everyone and their grandmother told me that I would fly it at college and that it would be the best thing ever, but by six o’clock on my first night away from home I couldn’t understand why the only I wanted was my parents, my own bed and my old life back.

Nobody tells you that the first couple of weeks in college are tough. It’s a completely new situation with brand new people and brand new classes. You may be suffering from a bit of imposter syndrome and feeling like this is the last place on earth that you belong. Maybe you think you hate your course or you haven’t made any friends. The best piece of advice I have ever been given is that “life is meant to be hard, it’s not meant to be easy”. Everyone loves to paint college with rose tinted glasses and make it seem like there are never any problems but the first couple of weeks are certainly not like that.

If you’re struggling or finding that you think you hate what you’re doing, I can promise that most of the first years around you feel the same.

It’s important to acknowledge if are struggling in college

I didn’t expect to feel lost or lonely or homesick and I especially didn’t think I would feel like I hadn’t a clue what I was doing.

Socially I felt awkward and overwhelmed and found the masses of people of campus overwhelming.

I was wrecked even though I only had a few hours of lectures and confused by this whole new teaching and learning style. I love my course but otherwise I felt like a fish out of water. But then I remembered, this is meant to be hard. No one tells you that the first few weeks are hard, but they are.

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Talk to other first years, I felt so stupid for feeling anxious and upset until I realised that my roommates and friends felt exactly the same. You aren’t on your own. Just don’t give up, don’t fall at the first hurdle because you aren’t the only one running the race. You have a whole team behind you! if you feel like you need to come home on the weekends for the first couple of weeks to get a sense of normality then do it!

Admitting that you need to see your Mam is not a weakness. Struggling in college at the start is normal. Get yourself in the right headspace and then head back on Monday with a new sense of bravery and maybe a touch of freshers flu. 

Have you been struggling in college?

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