In some ways, college is exactly how I expected it to be. In others it is not. I’m definitely a different person to the one that I was when I started in September but I knew that would happen. I don’t really think it’s college that’s changed me so much, but more that I now live alone in the city. It’s been such an adventure and I’ve learned many things.
Always carry sunglasses. Whether I’m nursing a hangover, sitting on the top floor of the bus with the sun streaming in or just want to look good, sunglasses are always a good idea. I always have a pair with me. You cannot beat the feeling of strutting down the street on a sunny day wearing gorgeous shades (or at least I think so).
Find the cheapest coffee. I may not act like it, but I am actually a student on a budget. This is not easy when you have an addiction to coffee. Whether it’s the coffee in the college canteen that tastes like tar but costs 1 euro, or the best loyalty card deal around, I seem to know all of the cheapest methods to get my caffeine fix.
Treat Yo Self. I know. I’m recycling an old cliché. You have to have seen this iconic episode of Parks and Recreation? My friends and I have adopted this as our motto when we spend all of our money on lunch or something else ridiculous. But to me, it’s important not to spend your life budgeting and being sensible (I admit that I’m probably the other extreme but who cares?)
Salad, Salad, Salad. In the midst of all of that treating myself, it is an excellent idea to purchase a salad every now and again. The main staples of my diet are dreadful. I eat salt and vinegar crisps with black coffee when I get into college in the morning. I also eat way too much pasta and I never stop eating the 68 cent garlic bread that you can buy in Tesco (it’s delicious, I would highly recommend it). With all of this considered, it is vital that I eat some vegetables and other healthy things when I have the means to.
Rise Above. I thought when I got to college that I wouldn’t have to face assholes. I thought that adults would say “you encounter assholes in every walk of life,” to comfort teenagers who are sick of dealing with their peers. But I still have people who I dislike and who even occasionally go as far as to target me. This is so okay with me. I have finally mastered the art of rising above and getting on with my shit. And while they’re spending their time concentrating on me, I’m actually getting a lot done.
There’s nothing that you can’t do. I have stumbled into bed at 5 only to arise and get ready for college at half 6. I have managed to make impossible deadlines when there has appeared to be no hope. I have scraped together all of my coins in order to have a night out with my friends. I’ve also published a book recently but that’s not a big deal (If you think I’m letting that one go anytime soon, you’re wrong). I have learned never to underestimate myself and not to worry about stupid things. It always works out in the end.
Surround yourself with positive people. Meeting so many new people has helped me to recognise the importance of surrounding myself with ambitious, amazing, people full of light and laughter. I am lucky enough to be friends with some wonderful minds and compassionate souls. I have no plans to let them get away from me anytime soon (they’re probably currently reading this, closing their browser and searching for one way tickets out of here and away from me).
Priorities. I’ve learned to prioritise myself and my plans. It is so important to ensure that I’m achieving my goals and continuing to fulfil what’s expected of me. I love my friends and my constant desire to always have plans, but sometimes I have to stop and get stuff that I’ve been putting off doing, done (saying that, I can’t remember the last time I saw the floor in my bedroom).
Sleep. I’ve never really been that good at sleeping. I’ve always preferred to read, watch TV or shave my legs. I’ve learned that sleep doesn’t always need to be at night (the time that I become the most productive). I can take naps during the day if I have nothing to do. I can sleep in two hour blocks to fill in whatever time I have missed out on. Living a creative life means sacrificing your sleep schedule. Something that I’m quite happy to do.
Take a few moments. If you feel like going to a coffee shop and sitting alone, staring out the window after a long day of college, do it (maybe it’s just me who likes doing this). If you feel like impulsively hopping off the bus a few stops early to take a walk in the nearby park, why wouldn’t you? If you’re feeling fragile, but you have loads to do, it’s okay to spend the night watching TV. The work will still be there tomorrow. Alone time is vital for your sanity.
FOMO is not a real thing. If you decide not to go on a night out or to a dinner, don’t get upset when you see the Snapchat stories. You decided not to do it. There is absolutely no point regretting that decision when there is nothing you can do about it.
The Library is your friend. It’s a pain in the ass motivating yourself to walk to the bottom of the building where the library is situated. They even have a staircase up to the doors. And then you actually have to locate your student card at the bottom of your bag to scan your way in. They certainly haven’t made it easy. It’s as bad as a day of work. By the time you get to sit in front of a computer screen, you may even be worn out. But if you find the strength to actually get some work done, the library has many useful tools. Or maybe you’re like me and when you undoubtedly spot one of your friends stumbling around the printers, or staring aimlessly at the bookshelves, it’s game over for your concentration.
Do not take yourself seriously. I’m not sure that there’s ever been a time in my life when I took myself too seriously. But I’m certainly not doing it now. College is my time to laugh, cry over boys, get fat, have sex and never sleep. I will not waste this opportunity.
Watch my journey with writing below:
Read about How I Doubt Myself here.