'Nobody will push you. . . it's up to you'
Ciara Fitzpatrick (19), from Lusk, Co Dublin, is a first year marketing student at DIT Aungier Street.
"I think the biggest change is that as a Leaving Cert student you were used to an awful lot of hand-holding from your teachers -- they kept you on your toes.
"In college it's like you have an assignment to get done within three weeks and nobody will push you to do it -- it's up to you.
"You're more responsible for yourself; you don't have people looking out for you the way you had in secondary school.
"It can be a bit lonely at first but DIT classes are quite small compared to, say, Trinity or UCD so you get to know people quickly.
"A big issue for me was that I went to an all-girls secondary school. I was used to being around lads but not to having an academic relationship with them, so college seemed quite strange at first!
"The type of assignments you do are very different from second level.
"You have to provide original work; you can use books as sources but it all has to be in your own words.
"They give you a handbook, which lays out the kind of thing they expect and what you can and can't do when it comes to writing. That was my bible for all my assignments because of the difference from second level.
"We had an orientation week for an hour every day -- they showed us the library and how to use it, they told us about the course and what was expected of us.
"It was helpful because it gave us an idea of what we were doing for the year. They gave us a tour of the campus and showed us the facilities, which made us more familiar with the college layout and with what we were going to be doing."
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