31 Mar 2022

Advice On Starting A New School Or College

So you’re considering whether to move to a new school? Or you’ve already made your choice and are looking for helpful tips! At 18 I decided to move to the other end of Ireland and start studying Biotechnology at University College Cork (UCC) for four years. This was a huge change for me because most of my friends picked colleges within commuting distance to their houses! I didn’t know anybody when I began my studies at UCC and I had never lived away from home before. I’m now one week away from finishing my undergraduate degree and I’m happy to share the lessons I have learned.

Plan Ahead

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My top tip before moving to a new school/college is to plan ahead! Looking back I did not do much investigating into the college curriculum, textbooks required, campus layout or even transport routes to and from. You might get away with minimal planning in the short term but if you want to do well in the long haul then planning ahead is crucial. Reach out to alumni or arrange a meeting with the campus guidance counsellor to find out more before your first day.

Get Organised

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We all know the saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Planning ahead is pointless if you don’t use the information gathered to get organised!

When you discover the campus layout, textbook lists, reading material and class timetable, the next step is to put your organisational skills to work. I made the somewhat naïve choice to show up on my first day without ever attending a campus tour or knowing my way around any building. This led to
me getting lost on my first day and running late for most of my lectures that week! I also had not ordered the required textbooks in advance, meaning I had a considerable workload to catch up on from the outset. Consider booking a tour around campus with a member of staff and organise your class materials well in advance of your first day.

Keep An Open Mind

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Aside from the logistics of starting a new school, it’s important to remember the more personal side of things. When I first moved to UCC, I was too shy to join any sports teams, volunteer organisations or extracurricular clubs. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I realised the importance of having an open mind and putting yourself out there! There are so many opportunities available when starting at a different school or college. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen? My biggest advice would be to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Engage in new activities, meet new people and try out new subjects. You got this!

This article was written by Sinead Marsh >>

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