After completing her final year at DCU, Donegal student Niamh Shields shares some of the key lessons she has learned outside of the lecture hall.

College is finished!

What an incredible three years it has been. Dublin City University was the place where I guess you could say, helped shape me become the woman I am today.

There have been highs – from finding my dream course English and Media, my true best friends, confidence, Coppers, Lin Kee Chinese, and becoming Editor in Chief Her-Campus DCU – and some lows for sure, but it all happened on the DCU campus, my second home. I can safely put my head up high and say, I lived my best college life!

Here are a few tips that I found overall beneficial during my time as a college student.

You don’t need to have everything sorted before starting:

Straight after the Leaving Cert, students believe we must have everything figured out before entering college. What job should I get after college, should I live in the city or outside, do I want a dog or cat when I’m older, should I be married by the time I’m thirty?

Plot twist, none of that matters!

College is where you’ll learn and become the person you are today. Cherish this phase, go out with the girls, join as many clubs and societies as you want, travel the world, and then you can worry about the adult stuff. This is your time to discover who you really are.

College friends are family:

As mentioned above, college is all about change, and with change comes a lot of mistakes and hard realities, you aren’t always going to get everything right, who does? Here is where your college friends come into play, they are similar to you, are going through the exact changes and will see you at your best and worst, and vice versa. They will see your running mascara and your unreal smokey eye moments. You all will go through the initial phases of adulthood together and form the best memories, hold on to them tightly and always remember to keep in touch.

College homes = FREEZING:

Ah yes, one advantage to writing this article is that I’m at my family home in Glen with a cuppa in my hand and a dairy milk by my side in a WARM, non-damp home.

College homes my friends, are not all that glamorous and mould will just become a cute décor on the wall. However, with a few fairy lights, scented candles, and endless blankets, all of which can be found in the fabulous Penneys, your home will have that cosy warm vibe in no time!

College work will always get done:

College can be a very busy and overwhelming time for every student. Between presentations, assignments, social life, home life and part time work, it can make the mind somewhat frazzled and hazy. It is important to note, that there is always someone you can talk to, whether it be a family member, friends, lecturers or perhaps a student counsellor, we’ve all experienced student pressure.

Give yourself a break, talk to someone, deadlines can always be altered. In the end, the work always gets done, give yourself some credit.

Have Fun:

College days are the best days ever and believe me when I say, they go by so fast. So, hold on to those years tightly and most importantly HAVE FUN!