How To Survive First Year

Shane O'Loughlin

The percentage of Leaving Cert students who continued to third level education last year rose to 66.1%. However, according to figures from The Times, one in every six college students are dropping out in their first year. What is worse, DCU is not exempt from these damning statistics with a 26.1% dropout rate. But first years, do not fear, as this is a tell-all, comprehensive and infallible account of what you need to know to survive first year.

Do not study Computing. With almost a 45% dropout rate, computing is a student killer. Year after year, bright eyed undergraduates are sent to the slaughter, at the mercy of professors who treat every lecture like a eulogy. While the future careers and more aptly the favorable wages in such careers are clearly desirable, they unfortunately rely on actually finishing your education with some sense of sanity remaining. You might be great with computers, you might have an affinity for lines of code but soon a thirteen year old prodigy named Vladimir will come along and you are out on the street.

Go meet some people. Nobody survives first year alone. It’s impossible. The lone wolf mentality will only serve you for so long until you realise that hunting in packs is just better business. In a completely selfish way, one of the most important advantages you are afforded in university is the chance to build contacts. Make friends with a psychology student and you have a therapist for life and it is never a bad idea to have a future accountant around. Join a club or society, meet similar people with similar interests and goals. No matter how weird you think you might be there is an equally weird communications student just waiting to go to a weird place and talk about weird things with weird people such as yourself. Be weird in groups, it’s more fun that way.

The time will come when you will make your first choice whether to make a head start on your four thousand word essay or to thoroughly explore the overpriced student bar. While the majority will choose the latter, everyone reacts to that choice differently. For some it is a slippery slope to overlook their academics while others fortify themselves in their room and are rarely seen again. You can drive and you can drink but you should never attempt both. In the same way ensure to keep your studies and socialising separate. There is no better way to ruin a pre-drinks than by whipping out your sociology assignment. Similarly very few study sessions survive a few cans.

My best wishes to the incoming undergrads. Make sure and enjoy it as much as you can and if possible, please look out for those poor souls in computing.