You’ve got your GCSE results and your local college has invited you in to enrol...
With September looming, you might be leaving your school to go to a Sixth Form or further education college, and if the thought of that is making your stomach churn – read our list of tips for surviving the first week.
1. DON’T worry!
College will seem a bit scary and unfamiliar for the first day (and perhaps the second day), but once you’re there and you’ve started connecting with people, you’ll soon start to feel at home. Try to be yourself and relax as much as possible. Going to college is a valuable experience, especially if your next step is university – it’s a great stepping stone, and there are lots of bonuses – student discount for a start!
2. DON’T worry about not knowing anyone.
This is probably the biggest fear among students starting college. If you’re going to a large college, you might not know anyone else in your classes, but don’t get anxious about that. During the first days, most colleges put on special activities, you know the ‘breaking-the-ice sort of games’ that everyone secretly hates. These will get you involved with your college, and most importantly, help you get to know each other.
3. DON’T listen to rumours.
Listening to rumours about drugs, violence, class sizes, free periods etc can cause unnecessary anxiety. You need to shape your own opinion, and remember - the more you put in the more you get out – it really is all about you!
4. Get organised.
It’s so important to keep organised. Especially if you’re doing A-levels, it’s easy to fall behind. A-levels are quite a leap from GCSEs, so make sure you’re prepared; stock-up on stationery and invest in a new diary or planner. Make sure you have plenty of folders, notepads, and pens, lots of pens…
College lecturers will not treat you like schoolteachers – they won’t keep hassling for late assignments. Remember, doing the work is down to YOU. If you don’t do the work you won’t do well.
5. Accept that you will get lost at least once.
Just like when moving up to big school, your surroundings will be unfamiliar – this is to be expected and it’s the same for everyone. But you’ll get a map and timetable and there will be plenty of people around to ask - you’ll soon get used to the campus.
6. Get involved.
Make sure to sign up for extra-curricular activities (groups and clubs), as soon as possible; it will help you to meet new people. Making friends is much easier when you connect over something you have in common. Colleges offer clubs in everything, from sports to languages, drama, music and chess, to the more specialist or obscure, such as ‘Quantum Mechanics for Beginners’ and the ‘David Attenborough Appreciation Society’ – there really is something for everyone!