SU President James Duffy and Clubs and Societies Officer Patrick Erhard give new or prospective students the lowdown on getting the most out of student life.
Here, James and Paddy, NCI’s SU President and Clubs and Socs Officer, share their top ten tips for making the most of your student experience during a full-time undergraduate course.
Nail Your Assignments
If you’re going to do an essay, you may as well do it properly. When you ace your assignments, exams become much less stressful as you can bank on what you have earned in your continuous assessment. This makes life a helluva lot easier. Also, a lot of content you prepared for essays can (magically) reappear in your exams, so it’s always good prep.
The Work Play Balance
Be a nerd and a rock star, honestly. Go on the nights out, meet new people, be the head of a society, whatever suits you, but don’t forget to be a good student – that’s what being in NCI is all about. The social atmosphere of college in Dublin can encourage you to not always be the best of students, but don’t fall for it. Write great essays, take in what the academics are trying to teach you, and then exams become one big walk in the park.
Be Engaged and Involved with the College
In college societies you have a brilliant opportunity to make new friends and meet social, like-minded people. “If I could go back to my first year I would get more involved with clubs and societies,” Paddy recommends. “I completely ignored them until second year and at that stage I felt like it was too late. But then I found I really enjoyed societies and I then took over badminton, I became VP of the Fashion Society, somehow, and eventually I just took over the Clubs and Socs role in the SU.” That’s a transformation alright!
Represent Your Class
A great way to get involved with the study body is be a class rep. In such a role you are given the opportunity to express the views of your class at college and union level. It’s not easy though; you need to be prepared. Good communication, organisation and leadership skills are therefore necessary for this position and those skills will be further developed as a class rep.
Feeling low? Talk to someone.
College can be stressful. As a student, you’re now independent but that can come with a lot of new pressures. In order to deal with these new stresses you can always talk to someone. In fact, there is a lot of support for a college as small as ours – and it’s very well publicised. Talk to a dedicated Student Counsellor for free and they will definitely help you relax and learn more about life. Know thyself!
Budgeting – Every Little Counts
As a student it’s really important to budget. Period. There are scores of companies that try to sell you things that you don’t need just to get your money. So, you need to be careful of what you spend your money on. It’s all about a proper balance. For example, don’t spend all your money on nights out, keep some left over for school and stationary – pens and pencils, and the like. College can be very expensive.
Be a Trend-Setter
If you’re not entirely happy with what societies and clubs NCI are providing, we recommend starting one of your own. For how else did NCI’s Beard, Fluffy Socks, and Pokemon societies begin? We’ll tell you: the entrepreneurial efforts of one diehard hobbyist. Start the trend and watch it grow!
Introduce Yourself and Don’t Be Shy
Don’t be shy, as cliché as it sounds. Starting college is the beginning of the new you, so don’t waste this opportunity. Also, don’t be afraid to approach people - you’re not the only one afraid of being a loner. There are loads of different student activities that your class and the SU will provide for you while you’re here, so take advantage of them. It would be a ginormous waste otherwise!
The SU Recreation Room AKA Relaxation Central
Come down to the SU recreation room, put on the kettle, play some FIFA and relax. It always works. The recreation room is stocked full with things to do - we have an Xbox, Wii, PS3, pool tables, bean bags, foosball tables, table tennis tables, and DJ equipment. You’ll never get sick of any of the facilities. We’re very lucky to have this in NCI. The recreation room is a comfortable, familiar environment in which you can spend quality time with your friends when you’re not in the library, at home or in the classroom.
Prepare for the Next Step
The Careers and Opportunities Service help you narrow down what you want to be after college, and they’re very good at it - nearly every year we’ve ranked Best for Jobs by the Sunday Times University Guide. With the help of this college team, you can find your niche, your passion – whatever you want to do after college ends. The Careers Service tailor everything according to your needs, and, in truth, they really look after you and your career.
Get more great advice - for free - and read Stress Management Tips for Students!