College: Expectations vs. Reality

  1. Expectation: You won’t put off your assignments until the last minute

If like me, you were the queen of procrastination at school, always handing up your work late (if at all), you probably came to college with notions of a fresh start, where you would start your work the day you got it, even hand in assignments early, especially since you have literally months to do some of them.

Reality: You submit assignments literally minutes before the deadline.

Unfortunately, all your notions turned out to be just that, notions. You soon find yourself frantically hammering at your keyboard at 3 a.m, a deranged look in your eye similar to that of someone having a psychotic episode, attempting to write a 2,000 word essay by 9 a.m.( My personal rock bottom was coming in from a night out and deciding to complete an assignment whilst still slightly intoxicated. This is not advisable.)

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  1. Expectation: Going to all of your lectures.

At the start of the year it’s hammered into you by all of your lecturers how important attendance at lectures and tutorials is and you truly heed their warnings, you want to get the most education you can for your money, and you get off to a good start.

Reality: You struggle to make it in for 12 pm.

You don’t quite understand how but soon the epidemic that seems to sweep the student population infects you and you find yourself struggling to wake up for 11, your bed is just far too cosy to leave. Soon a “golden week” for you is just turning up to more lectures than you miss.

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  1. Expectation: College will be non stop parties.

We’ve all seen the movies, heard the legendary stories, half the reason we go to college is because we want to party. So you set off for college with your suitcase of bodycon dresses and hope in your borderline alcoholic heart.

Reality: You watch more Netflix that should be humanly possible and rarely get out of your pajamas.

After the hype of freshers week the reality that you are poor, tired, and haven’t started any of your assignments yet kind of comes in between you and your love of “the sesh”. Somehow, you’ve managed to watch 48 episodes of how I met your mother in 24 hours.

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  1. Expectation: You’re going to eat healthily.

You’ve already fallen victim to the 6th year stone, you’re not going to let the freshers fifteen get you too. You think you’re going to eat nothing but fruit and veg and cook yourself meals worthy of a Michelin star. Your body is a temple.

Reality: You survive on a strict diet of instant noodles and tears.

All your good intentions go down the drain, you don’t remember the last time you ate something that wasn’t beige. Your body is a glorified garbage bin.

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  1. Expectation: Living away from your parents is going to be so liberating.

You think that at college you’ll be able to eat what you want, go out and come home when you want, go to bed when you want, essentially do whatever you want, without being nagged by your parents. You think to yourself “I’m a grown up capable of making my own decisions now.”. You are wrong.

Reality: You call your mom crying at least once a day.

Everything is going smoothly until about week two when you get freshers flu from which you never recover. You need your mom to feed you vegetables and lemsips, but she isn’t there.This new lower standard of health soon takes it’s toll on your mental stability and you find yourself calling home in floods of tears because you got your hair stuck in a zipper.

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8 Things You Should Bring With You to College

I forgot to bring a lot of these things with me, hope my misfortune can help you!

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones:

For whatever reason, college students find the hours between 12am and 5am to be the best time to serenade their fellow student accommodation residents with whatever song they were listening to when they got kicked out of the club. If you think you won’t find being woken up to this drunken frenzy charming, I suggest you invest in something that will silence these drunken performers in this wee hours of the morning. Noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs should do the job.


2. Washing-up Liquid:

I am dubious as to whether you will have a dishwasher in whatever student accommodation you’re in, so you should definitely stock up on washing-up liquid. I know this sounds like a weirdly specific item to bring to college, but you will be cleaning a lot of dishes because chances are, at least one of your housemates will do a poor job of washing their dishes (if they even attempt to do so). Therefore, you will end up cleaning two times the amount of dishes you would normally be cleaning if you care in any way about the cleanliness of the objects you will be eating with. That’s a lot of washing-up liquid!!


3. Good Walking Shoes:

College campuses are massive, so even if you are lucky enough to obtain one of the limited on-campus accommodation rooms, you will be doing quite a bit of walking. I was not fortunate enough to get on-campus housing, so I end up having to walk for at least around and hour to get to and from college. I learned pretty quickly that my Superstars did not well-equip me for the daily trek. I recommend investing in some comfortable boots or runners. Trust me, your feet will thank you.


4. A Bicycle:

Bikes will cut down the amount of time it takes to get you from point A to point B drastically. I owned a bike for the entire first semester and foolishly did not utilize it whatsoever, due to my being terrified that I would either get run-over by a car or that I would run-over human. I recently started biking to college and have not done either of these things and have since discovered how wonderful biking is. It cuts down the travel time from twenty-five minutes to just around ten.


5. A Coffee Machine:

During final exams week coffee on standby is vital. There was a point in last semester when I had to write an essay on a book I hadn’t even started with only three days remaining. I pulled an all-nighter in order to finish the book by drinking a shot of espresso per hour for six hours. It was not fun but it could not have been done without my handy-dandy espresso machine. If a coffee/espresso machine is too pricey (which is completely understandable, mine was a Christmas gift from my lovely parents), I recommend a French Press, they’re only about fifteen euro and make great coffee!


6. Culinary Skills:

You don’t have to be Gordon Ramsay for this one, but if you know how to use more than a microwave/toaster to cook things you’ll probably be okay. I shamelessly ate toast, peanut butter and an apple every night for the first month of college because I literally had no cooking skills and hadn’t discovered Just Eat. However, knowing how to cook at least three meals will save you a lot of money in the long-run. Ordering the odd takeaway here and there is inevitable but you will hate yourself less if you don’t order them so much, I promise you.


7. Going-out Clothing:

I don’t have much going-out clothing because I’m not really the going-out type to begin with but going-out in college is going to happen no matter what kind of person you are. I ran out of new ‘nice’ outfits within the first month of college. Most of those outfits I had never even worn prior. I recommend bringing skirts/pants/tops you can mix around with each other to create new outfits without having to buy loads of new clothing. This should prevent you from getting sick of wearing the same thing outfit each and every week.


8. Battery Pack:

I don’t know how good the battery is on Android phones, but as an iPhone 6 user, I wholeheartedly support this one. I typically put my phone on the charger before going to sleep, leave for college with a full charge and two lectures in, I’m already at fifty percent. Since it’s unlikely that you’ll have access to a place to charge your phone throughout the day, having a battery pack on you at all times is essential.


I hope this list will help you prepare yourself adequately for college!!

– Sinéad Murphy