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Get drunk, meet people and forget the back-up plan ... but call your mum

It feels like Leaving Cert students are not half as awkward and tortured as my generation were at their age.

They're also, I suspect, not anywhere near as delinquent and wild as hysterical media reports would have you believe.

Each year, at this time, I have a pang to be back, starting out in college on a flat broke, thrilling, hungover, friendship-forming-for-life rollercoaster that will keep your inner upstanding citizen to a minimum.

Here's my advice. Go out, get drunk, meet lots of men and women but make sure that's never the most interesting thing about you - because everyone does that.

Try to stick to beer. Not wine. Especially not white wine, aka, lunatic juice. But you probably already know that.

It's highly unlikely you'll have reached 17/18 years of age in Ireland in 2014 without having a good anecdote from a night on the tiles.


That, of course, is a euphemism for...well, I'll let you lion na bearnai.

Initially, at least, forget the back up plan. Do what you love, what you really love It's the best chance you'll have at staying solvent and happy at the same time.

If it doesn't work, do teaching or a trade or something techy.

Make sure you have someone to walk home with at night. She's called a real friend. March, sit down, protest. Find something you believe is worth fighting for and fight for it.

Don't forget to phone your parents. Texting isn't the same. Gratefully accept all the free food that comes your way.

There's a reason college is known as a once in a lifetime experience. Lap it up.

Also, tattoo removal is painful. Or so I hear.