Here to Help: Settling into DCU

College can be a daunting and scary time. It takes students out of the habits of what they’ve been used to for their entire school life. Suddenly there’s a whole new class of people you have to get to know, and probably several more new classes in various modules. A new way of doing assignments, a new type of learning, a new found freedom.

DCU understands how difficult the transition can be and, as you head towards your future and into the real world, it respects the help you might need throughout your time in college. Getting used to the difference in teaching as well as balancing a social life with study is key, but don’t worry because there’s a service for virtually everything.

The Student Advice Centre is located in the Henry Grattan building on the ground floor. It’s the main place to go to if you have any queries about anything. Deirdre Moloney from the student advice centre says, “the first year experience is provided by Student Support.” They run orientation, which incorporates introductions to a lot of the facilities. Each first year is also provided with a pack full of information on settling in and an A-Z guide.

“Most of our queries come from first years,” says Moloney. She explains that once lectures begin there is an online orientation in the form of weekly emails with a link to information on “what they need to know” for that week.

She says, “first years traditionally take until March to settle in”. She says that month after month there is no repitition and so it can be difficult to get your head around everything. But once semester two arrives, first years usually find their pace.

The career service is a helpful resource for first years with the first year discovery programme to help students get on the right career path during their time in college. They’re also there if “for example, a student is having a major rethink about their career path”. The carreer centre also offers academic workshops so that first years get a handle on how to write their first assignment or how to approach an essay.

Finally there is the Students’ Union, which operates with an open door policy. While there is probably a specific service for any problem, worry or question you have, if you’re feeling a bit lost or confused, the SU will be happy to help or point you in the right direction. “Some feel safer going to a peer,” says Moloney. “Where as others might prefer to go to someone who works here…we try and work together to help as many students as we can.” Both the SU and the student advice centre will help you any way they can or point you in the direction of someone who can. No matter how big or small the question is, there is always someone there to listen.

Jenny Darmody is our Features Editor 

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