I just realised that although this is only my second post, both are nervously titled. That’s funny because it totally sums up my life. Always nervous. 🙋🏽
Speaking of being nervous, I thought that I could start off with how I got through the crazy, stressful, amazing experience that was starting college. I have never been so nervous for anything in my entire life as I was for my first day in Maynooth! I was so anxious I genuinely contemplated making up some excuse and refusing to start. It was only for dad would never have let me! On the 19th of September dad walked me onto campus because I didn’t have a notion about where I was going. For anyone who knows me, I have absolutely no sense of direction what so ever. I can barely find my way around my house, never mind the Maynooth campus, which is HUGE! (I still carry a map in my bag…)
Looking back I can only imagine how strange I looked. A really short girl with a full face of badly applied makeup, walking around in Hollister trakkie bottoms, a knitted, totally over patterned jumper and an unnecessarily over-packed Donald Duck school bag, while everyone else looked somewhat normal. I suppose, much like the title of this blog, it could be looked at as a fairly accurate metaphor for my life.
Someone had previously told me that I should just go in and make awkward, friendly small talk with every person I possibly could. To put myself out there, so that’s what I did! I made a couple of friends pretty quickly and followed them around like a puppy dog all day. The first few days were really overwhelming and a bit of a blur. I talked to everyone I possibly could, even though half the time it was totally forced conversation and really, I just wanted to buy a bagel and go hide in the bathrooms until I could go home.
I didn’t know anyone in my course so I knew that I had no option but to make friends. At the time, I would have given anything to have someone from school to stick with, but looking back if I had known people, I wouldn’t have come to meet the most amazing bunch of new friends I could have wished for!
It was during my first week that somehow I bumped into the strangest, yet most fantastic group of girls I have ever met. These girls quickly became my best friends and I never looked back. I’m so grateful for having met them because, if I hadn’t I reckon I’d most likely hate college.
On Fairs day I joined lots of clubs and societies, I probably spent about €20 and stuck with one. Welfare Crew. My anxiety was just too bad and the thought of going to a trampolining meeting with a group of people I’d never met before just terrified me far too much. Mental health, like I said in my last blog post is something really important to me and I think that’s what gave me the willpower to put myself forward and get involved with the Welfare Crew. Still to this day I have yet to get really involved but I’ve made a few friends and have come to know a couple of people in the group, and that for now is enough for me! Big groups of strangers scare me a lot so I have learnt to take things at my own pace and conquer things baby step by baby step.
A couple of months ago the welfare crew arranged a campaign on campus called ‘Soul Fest’. It was a week dedicated to promoting positive mental health and encouraging students to make themselves more aware about services available and that it is okay not to feel okay. By this point I don’t think I had done much, if anything for the welfare crew but I knew that if I let this week pass without getting involved, I would majorly regret it. They asked for help tie-dying some T-shirts one of the days during the week and I had an hour free so I decided to go over to the common room. It took me about 30 minutes to walk through the door and by the time I actually went in, I had about 15 minutes before I had to leave again, but I came out feeling like a champ! I had done it on my own, gone in, introduced myself and stuck it out for 15 minutes by myself! I reckon I was probably more in the way than anything and I was probably more of a nuisance than a help, but I went in. That was an absolutely massive step for me. That’s the point when I realised that I could conquer my anxiety, if I only put my mind to it.
A friend a year ahead of me in college told me that it would take until about after Christmas to totally find my feet and settle in. I definitely think that was 100% true. I’ve pretty much loved college since the start but I am enjoying second semester so much more than first, even though I wasn’t sure that was possible. I am studying Social Science and I absolutely love my course. I love all the people in it and all the friends I’ve made. I love Maynooth and I love how happy I am since starting. I know that not all of my friends have had as positive experience as I have and I’m so grateful for how well things have gone!
Starting college was so unbelievably scary and stressful but I think choosing Social Science in Maynooth Uni was one of the best decisions I have ever made! For anyone starting college in September, I definitely advise to just make a huge effort, although I know how hard it is, to talk to every single new person you meet. Not to hang around with old friends too much and to take this amazing opportunity to make loads of new friends and have an entirely fresh start! Also, as cliché as it sounds, be yourself. College is so unbelievably different to secondary school. Nobody knows you and nobody cares what you in particular look like or what interests you. Take this chance to be exactly the person you want to be! Trust me, it makes such a difference. My last piece of advice would be to read this article : http://spunout.ie/opinion/article/dear-freshers-of-2015 . 🌻 The welfare officer 2015, Síona, who turned out to be a great support to me in Maynooth, wrote it for all the freshers starting in 2015. I read it one night during my first week when I was feeling totally overwhelmed and beginning to wonder if college was for me. It totally reassured me and made me feel like I wasn’t on my own.
Try not to stress, enjoy the experience and make it count!