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“I Talked”…………. Talking is a sign of Strength!!

Here in the Please Talk blog section, we hand over to you; hear from students, who, like many of us, have first hand experience of going through a hard time, reaching out for help and starting their conversation about mental health. If you wish to become a contributor, contact info@pleasetalk.ie

Personally, I was terrified about leaving secondary school and starting college. I was scared of change. I liked my life the way it was and I was happy enough for it to stay the same. Looking back now, I wish I hadn’t have been so scared about it all because I am so happy with myself and the way college has turned out. There are so many things I wish I had known at the beginning of my first year in college.

1. Everyone is in the Same Boat
This is so so important to remember when starting college. No one really knows each other. Everyone is just as nervous as you are sitting in that lecture hall. Striking up a conversation can be quite scary for some people, and I really did find this hard to do but you just have to try break out of your comfort zone and say ‘Hi!’ to the person sitting beside you. At the beginning of my first year I was really disheartened as I thought everyone had made friends with each other so quickly and I hadn’t, but actually, everyone was just forcing themselves to talk to each others at lectures etc. Don’t feel saddened if you don’t make amazing friends in the first semester. It takes time to find your people.
2. Societies are your Friends
You’ll probably be told at your orientation to join as many societies as you like as they’ll help you to make friends. And you’ll probably sit there thinking hmm yeah doesn’t sound like my kind of thing…But seriously societies are the heart of college life. If you’re a shy person and the thought of talking to someone who’s sitting beside you in a lecture makes you want to cry,then societies are for you! You’re bound to find people you have things in common with if you join a society of your interest and its so easy to make friends once you join one. I joined the Dance Society at my college and it has honestly been the highlight of my year. I’ve made so many friends who all share the same passion as me and I’ve become so much more confident in myself from putting myself out there by joining a society without knowing anyone. Just trust me, join a society!
3. Be Yourself
Okay this one sounds cheesy but it is definitely the most important one. College is the perfect time to really commit to being yourself. You can start fresh and be the person you’ve always wanted to be. There are so many types of people in college, everyone is different and majority of people are so accepting of each person. There is really no point in pretending to be someone other than yourself, its a waste of time, and you’ll find that people will prefer the real you. You’ll find your real, true friends this way and you won’t regret staying true to yourself. I have always been so self cautious but being my true self has given me a new lease of life. I am more confident than I ever have been and I have made some amazing friends who love me for who I am.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk
Starting college is a big step for people, the true beginnings of adulthood. Just because you may be living away from home now, or you have more responsibilities doesn’t mean you cant ask friends and family for advice and support throughout your college years. Having the support of my friends and family throughout my first year of college was amazing, as it was a big transition for me and I had a lot to learn. Luckily I had people to talk to during my first year if I was stressed or anxious about college. If i had a problem in college and I ignored it for a while or didn’t talk about it to anyone, it would only make the situation worse. So don’t be afraid to talk!

5. There are people there to help
A lot of people don’t know that most colleges do have counselling services, free of charge, that students can attend if they’re having a hard time in college or just for a chat, to get things off their chest. These services have professionals working there to make sure students get the most out of the facilities. If you are wondering about these sort of facilities in your college, ask a member of the students union for info, or just check the college website! Everyone has stressful times in college so its important to note that these services are there in case you may ever need them!

The main thing in college is to embrace change. You may drift apart from old friends, but you’ll make new ones along the way. You’ll have a lot more freedom as well as a lot more responsibility. But you’ll also have the best time of your life. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and if that reason doesn’t seem obvious at first, it will in time. I’ve grown so much this year and I’m so happy in myself. Don’t doubt me, but the transition from secondary school to college is hard, but everyone gets through it in their own way. Whether that be joining a society or a sports club, or just from going out to college events in clubs.
It may be a cliche, but you really get what you put into college. Just throw yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone, and you wont regret it!
Abigail x