Saturday 18 November 2017

Dos and Don'ts: Making friends with Pokémon Go

UCD student advisers Aisling O'Grady and Kieran Moloney list a dozen 'dos and don'ts' for first year students

Student adviser Kieran Maloney and Aisling O’Grady, Head of Student Advisers, at UCD. DOUGLAS O’CONNOR
Student adviser Kieran Maloney and Aisling O’Grady, Head of Student Advisers, at UCD. DOUGLAS O’CONNOR

Aisling O'Grady and Kieran Moloney

When the semester starts campus es bursts into vibrancy. Our first years come in a week early so that they can get a feel of the place and so that we - staff, faculty, peer mentors and student ambassadors - can give our full attention to helping them settle in. So, wherever you are going to college, our first piece of advice to new students is; don't be afraid to ask. We are all there to help you.

Do... attend your orientation

You will find the answer to lots of questions you haven't even thought to ask. At the beginning of the year, your priority should be simple -find your way around and find out how things work: the library, IT services (for access to all your online materials), and student services.

Don't... bury your head in your mobile

Try to avoid the comfort offered by your phone and instead engage with people on a personal level. We know Pokemon Go is going to be a craze on campus for a while so, if you do indulge - use it to make new friends.

Do... engage and connect with others

Take the view that everybody is in the same boat and decide that you're going to be the one to start a conversation. At your orientation, introduce yourself to other new students. It may sound clichéd but a simple gesture like this can really kick-start things.

Don't... blow your budget

You have to manage your spending. Make a budget. Write it down. Allow for higher expenditure at the beginning of the year. Limit the amount you borrow - loans have to be paid back! Allow for unexpected, once-off costs. Factor socialising into your budget - you are allowed to enjoy yourself. Take time to shop around when purchasing items. Consider selling items, such as textbooks (once you have finished with them), to make extra money. If you take a part-time job, watch your hours - you are a student, and other aspects of your life should support this, not come into conflict with it.

Do... join clubs and societies

They are a great way to meet people with similar interests to you and to try out something new. These will be your "friends for life".

Don't... think lectures are optional

You will find a great deal of your class materials and notes are made available online by your lecturers. But, they are to aid your study not to replace the lecture or tutorial.

Do... get into good habits

Specifically, good habits of attending all your classes and submitting your work on time. Do both well and you will succeed. College courses take place at a faster pace than at school so you will need to keep up with your readings. Doing a little and doing it often will get you through. Writing your first essay or doing your first assignment can be daunting not because you can't do it, but because you have nothing to measure it against. It is ok to feel apprehensive, but once you get into the habit it will become easier.

Don't... expect to be spoon-fed

College is not like school. You're expected to be an independent learner. You're in charge of your time and no one will be checking up on you. You are now responsible for your own learning so get into a structured, disciplined routine early in the year and this will lead to success ultimately.

Do... ask your lecturers and tutors for feedback on your work

While you are expected to take charge of your own learning (no one gives you the answers at this level), your lecturers and tutors will discuss your work and help you if you are stuck on a problem so don't be afraid to approach them.

Don't... go home after class-hang out

Students who commute to and from classes without socialising on campus are more likely to create a cycle whereby they go home because they "don't have friends". But they don't have them because they constantly go home. Give yourself that time to form friendships.

Do... move outside your comfort zone

College is an adventure where you can stretch your imagination and your potential. Challenge yourself by getting involved in something you haven't done before. Colleges are richly diverse communities in which you are invited to challenge and be challenged.


Do... please give yourself time to become a student

Coming to college is a major change. Any major change will take time to take shape so allow yourself this space. You are not expected to arrive as a fully formed scholar and it will take time to adjust to the physical, social and academic environment. You don't need to know everything - the best thing about college is that you get to discover things organically, over time and in your own unique way.

College is demanding so make sure you look after the most important thing - you! Being a student is a juggling act and getting the right balance. .right between study, fun, work, exercise and relaxation is the key to success.

Irish Independent

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