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Just getting by

  • 04-04-2021 1:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    I am a 19 year old college student studying in Cork and living with my parents.

    I am just coming to the end of my first year and don't know what to make of it all. I worked very hard in school to get my 1st choice, sacrificing my sanity. Once school ended, I really took my foot off the pedal, and lost interest for anything in life. So much so, that I often have to remind myself that I'm in college. I probably do a solid 10 hours of college work a week in a STEM course. Not to sound arrogant, but this seems sufficient to me and I do very well in my exams. Sometimes I find the material so overwhelming that I switch off and say, this won't be on the exam, and sure enough this approach serves me well.

    I should add that I work a 30 hour week which results in me missing lectures, which are
    recorded anyways. I rarely catch up on these lectures because I lack the motivation I once had. I don't find this work draining or anything, and could make time for college work if needs be but cba and am satisfied with just passing, especially in a year that means fa.

    The fact that I've been either working or confined to my room since March 2020 has been hugely detrimental to my mental health and with talk of my college adopting a hybrid approach next year, I'm not sure I can take this. College students have been disregarded, thrown to the side, and I'm struggling.

    I have 10,000 in savings from work and would like to move out as I think this would be helpful from a social POV.

    Essentially, what I'm asking is should I consider moving out with the intention of forming meaningful relationships with students. Or would it be worth living with my parents (rent free) and saving a bit more. (I do contribute to some household costs).

    I toyed with the idea of dropping out but annoyingly, I know I would love this course if it were delivered face to face. I think it's way to early to pass judgment and honestly couldn't see myself studying anything else.

    What should I do? Right now I'm either working, sleeping or doing college work and haven't felt more aloof at any time in my life, I'm just getting by without living my life really.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,284 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    First year is usually just cementing the knowledge you learned in school to form a firm foundation. It ensures everyone has the same knowledge.

    It sounds like your hard work in 6th year is paying off but don't get too relaxed, second year the workload will increase.

    Regarding moving out..... staying at home shouldn't prevent you from making friends....the majority of Dublin students stay living at home , though I do get the mind frame of "to get the full college experience you need to move out of home" ....I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay the rent and houseshare dramas if I didn't have to.

    This year is not a good litmus test for the college experience.

    If I were you I'd stay living at home for next year and save. I don't think you will be able to maintain a 30 hr work week , my stem course was 39 hrs per week. Compulsory labs etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,852 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken

    You're doing a course you want and are able to do so that's great.
    It is difficult to do courses online, talking to family members and work colleagues, they all say the same.

    Do you think things. Would be different or better if you moved out?

    It is tough for students this past year. Everything on hold and all normal experiences up in the air.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    If you've nothing else to save the money for, you might as well move out and get some independence. But I'd wait for now. Wait until you can team up with some people from college or some friends and move with people you know you'll be social with. Especially if you've struggled with your mental health, it would be a bad time to move out and find yourself even more isolated than you currently are; at least at the moment you have family around you.

    I don't mean to sound at all dismissive of what you've got going on, but a lot of what you're describing seems to me to be fairly normal feelings about college. If you've been a star pupil up to this stage, it might feel wrong or unsettling, but honestly letting things slide during your first year, missing lectures etc. is all very very normal. The only difference is that if we didn't have lockdown restrictions, you'd be missing some of those lectures together in the pub.

    You said you think the hybrid approach is going to be detrimental for you, and you feel like college students have been thrown aside. Can you speak out about this? You could contact your student union and get involved in student affairs, or you could look for an appropriate dept. to contact to complain and suggest improvements. Maybe this is something that would help you feel a bit more connected to the college, or at least it might let you get some things off your chest.

    Good luck, I hope things improve for you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,622 ✭✭✭Baby01032012

    I’m 25 years older than you OP. From reading your post I thought wow how smart you are not from doing so well in school to get on the course you’re on but how self aware you are, focused, critical, analysing. Partly I think because of your intelligence and maturity you may not yet be challenged by the course. This has been such an exceptional year and you need to give yourself some credit for handling it. The fact that you work and have saved so much is amazing. I’ve no doubt you have an amazing and successful future ahead.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,720 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    It's been a crap year and I do feel for you, I have relatives who have had similar experiences. First the debacle of the Leaving Cert, finishing attending actual school abruptly, and then first year in college without setting foot in the actual grounds.

    Positives, you like the course and your exams are going well, so well done on that. You are obviously a good worker, holding down a job, and a good saver too.

    Hopefully in the next academic year, even if some classes are still online, there will also be actual classes where you get to meet and know others in your year. You will be better positioned then to decide if you would like to house share.

    If your college has mental health support available, perhaps approach them for a chat. It will most likely be online, but it might be helpful to talk things out.
    Is there any new challenge you could set for yourself, say a fitness challenge for example. Just to break the monotony of sleep, work, and study.

    As I said I have a bit of insight because of knowing relatives in a very similar position. Hopefully we are near the end of this weird part of life, and before this year is out, you will have a chance to experience your college life properly, rather than virtually.

    Most importantly, mind yourself.
    Talk to someone if you feel things are getting on top of you.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,319 ✭✭✭JustAThought

    You will blow through 10k in 6 months renting and it’ll be hard enough to save that again while renting or living out. I wouldn’t atm - student living is totally different with the covid - half of that 10k could make life changing differences in a year or two - allow you to get a visa and travel in Australia for a year and have totally different experiences or to live abroad after the Covid during your summer holidays for 3 or 4 months in the Alps or do a 6 month stint without working living and travelling in SE Asia or wintering on a beach in Thailand and having experiences and hanging out with other like minded people away from Ireland and its glass walls and like minded people.

    You’re nearly through your first year - stick with it. When the covid restrictions are lifted college will be a totally different place and much much easier to meet & get to know people & make friends and do things and hang out in.

    Many lecturers are bit dud or just read their notes from the books so I wouldn’t worry too much so long as you are keeping up and doing well - you can always revisit the videos later - don’t give yourself too hard a time.

    It is excpetionally difficult for everyone - you’re not alone in that and many students or families are struggling - don’t give up. Don’t let this whole global mess become a waste for you too - it will change and be better & much different and your life and prospects will dramatically change for the worse if you drop out. Hold firm - keep doing what you are successfully doing and hold out til the years end - its only a month more now - not long to go. everyone will be moving back out of their digs and back home for the summer then including the on campus residencies . Hold firm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭the14thwarrior

    stay where you are for the moment, continue with the savings. the money will come in handy down the line when the world / life / college becomes more bearable.
    its a tough place for a lot of people at the moment.

    you are an intelligent person, and don't worry about coasting college at the moment, it will get more challenging, but it may never be as challenging as what you went through in school. nothing i believe will ever compare to that!!

    some people do coast through college, it may be that you are very clever and well suited to the type of learning that occurs here.
    don't be bitter - college students haven't been tossed aside - it just made perfect sense in a pandemic to do courses on line - but it will get better.
    the college experience can be overated; you could end up miserable, broke, working long hours, dealing with crap housemates who don't care how they do in college, etc. etc.
    stay where you are for the moment is my advice

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,130 ✭✭✭Rodin

    With your savings you need to cut back on the paying work.
    It's eating in to your college time. It's taking more than it's giving.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,870 ✭✭✭spaceHopper

    don't give up on the course, everybody is in the same boat, I don't like working from home or remote learning. Get your priorities straight. It's college, do you want to be doing the part time job in 5 years. Set up a routine and try to stick to it. Try to catch up on what missed out on or at least the important parts.

    I did a tech course in college in the 90's and it was full on 35 hours of lectures and labs + projects I was probably doing 60 hours a week but I'd a lot of fun too. No matter how smart you are 10 hours won't get you far you'll probably pass but a pass degree will hold you back.

    Inquire with the college about what is going to happen next year, ask if it will be blended learning or will you be able to attend full time assuming the vaccination program works. As them about deferring if its blended learning. Encourage others in your class to do the same. Is there a group email or chat. Be open you don't want blended learning. It's much easier to influence a decision than change it and it's been made now no in September. If they get push back they might think twice or at least they can't say they weren't told. What support is there from the students union. Could they do a survey of students to see what they want going forward.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser

    Thanks for all your replies, it's really great to hear people's thoughts.

    I enjoy my part time job and I totally get what posters mean but considering it's first year and it doesn't count towards my final degree mark, my plan was to work as much as possible for the year with the hope of returning for in-person teaching in September.

    My job is what gets me out of bed in the morning, not college. I can't get up for a 9am lecture but if I knew I'd be missing out on earnings I couldn't accept the laziness on my part. That's kinda sad but at least I feel somewhat productive.

    I know everyone is different, and I suppose I wanted to move on to get a chance to live independently. Don't think I can part with my savings though for feeling independent and a trip to Thailand sounds much more fun :(, won't be anytime soon it seems.
    It's just hard to keep going with no end game to fight this pandemic and get us back to normal. I think if there were some kind of irreversible timeline like Britain, it would make this a lot more bearable.

    Anyways, thanks a lot for your replies and I know my problems are insignificant compared to others but I just think that barring students from campus was an easy fix, it's hard not to feel forgotten. I don't see how the year below me could attend school five days a week and that was safe, but students attending campus once in a bluemoon poses too high a risk. It's just difficult to understand who makes these decisions, with no regard to the human impact of all this.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 313 ✭✭araic88

    Don't have much to add except that I think you & your peers (first year college students/LC class of 2020) have probably been the unluckiest group of all, in an absolutely sh*te time.
    So if you really can get through exams fine for now, great. I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about lacking motivation etc. It's not your fault the way things have panned out, so if you can make it through this year, you'll have done great.
    Hopefully things will be a lot better by the Autumn.
    On the other hand, I would somewhat wonder are college lecturers a bit unsure of how to mark exams & things this year. It would be a pity to set the bar very low for yourself this year, and then find things are more difficult next year because of it. Maybe you're doing this anyway, but could you maybe set yourself a specific goal results wise (not just passing) and if you're managing to keep to that, I'd imagine you'd get quite a lot of satisfaction from it & what you learn would surely still stand to it in the long run, even if the results don't count.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,328 ✭✭✭Upforthematch

    vostock wrote: »

    I enjoy my part time job...
    My job is what gets me out of bed in the morning, not college.

    It's just hard to keep going with no end game to fight this pandemic and get us back to normal.

    You're doing great.

    At this crappy time, give yourself permission to keep doing what you enjoy i.e. your part-time job.

    Things will improve, we don't know when but we know it will. A lack of a timeline is annoying for perfectionists but think about your goal and how you can enjoy your 10k in 2022 or 12k in 2023 or 14k in 2024 etc...

    Keep the head down and plough on!

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 5,720 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    'Anyways, thanks a lot for your replies and I know my problems are insignificant compared to others but I just think that barring students from campus was an easy fix, it's hard not to feel forgotten.'

    Can I just say to you what someone said to me last week, when I was almost apologising for how I feel about this sh1tshow, knowing that others have it so much worse than me... 'it's all relative'.

    What you feel is absolutely valid.
    You are 100% entitled to feel short changed and forgotten. And it's something I think we all need to realise. It's okay to mourn (for want of a better word) what you have not had a chance to experience... finishing out your Leaving Cert year in school, your graduation, all a rite of passage, starting college, attending lectures, meeting others, having the crack.

    Give yourself a pat on the back. You have weathered a horrible situation. I would say keep going with the job. It gives some kind of a routine to your days. Ask the college what the plan is for next year, online / blending learning, and plan accordingly.

    Well done, and mind yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,852 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken

    Everyone's problem is important to them .don't dismiss yours as insignificant. It isn't.
    We're in a really crap and horrible time that I genuinely wouldn't have predicted no matter what.

    Young people are finding it particularly tough and rightly so.
    Keep going Op and keep reminding yourself that life will return, hopefully very soon.

    Take care