In Ireland there is a lot of pressure to go to college, even if you don’t know what you actually want to do, or know that what you do want to do does not require a degree. There is also a weird sort of procedure about it. You put some high points courses down ‘just in case’, and often in trinity, even if you don’t think you really want to do them, or haven’t researched them at all. Then you put down, in order according to the points that was allocated to that course last year, courses that you think you might get. I have overheard and know of many a person who is studying for a particular course ‘because they got the points’. Similarly a lot of people don’t follow what they really want to do because their parents (or themselves) don’t think they will get a career out of it.

Unfortunately, you only get one chance to do each year in college or university. After that, you fees are no longer subsidised. So, if you don’t think you know what to do, but are going to college to increase your earnings- don’t. Follow your heart. Work in retail and travel the world, or become an actress or model or paint or drive a train. In the long run you are saving yourself money if you find a course that is what you want to do. Even if you are a couple of years into college and suddenly realise it isn’t for you- leave. Time is the one thing we can’t extend or buy or even realise how much we have left. Do the things you love while you can do them. 

If college is what you want to do but you are struggling, don’t struggle alone. The same applies as above. Lectures, heads of department, and tutors all want to help you (and if they don’t they aren’t very good at their jobs and someone will). It is so easy to reach out for help at the start of the year, or when problems are beginning to happen, and so tricky when things have gone on for a while. If you need your mum to be there when you meet any of these people, do it. They won’t mind, as long as they know its your decision. 

As many people know, I repeated my first year and it was one of the best decisions (for me) considering how unwell I was. I am on the path I need to be on, but I know that if I had been able to talk to people I could have stopped things (academically, maybe not health wise) getting as bad as they did, until it got to the point a whole year needed to be repeated. I suppose I am very lucky as I adore my course, and can’t imagine doing anything else. Studying doesn’t feel like a chore. 

I also am very keenly aware of how preachy and self help-y this sounds. I still miss lectures and don’t catch up on readings like the next person. I watch netflix so much I can tell it I am still watching what feels like 6 or 7 times. My diet is 80% chips. Sometimes I cry when I am hungry. I don’t cry about uni however, or the choices I have made with regards to that so if you are, change something! 

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