Two students share their tips for making the most out of college

If you’re starting college this week, you might be feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement.

Two people who know exactly how this can feel are Alice Bird and Ashley Horobin, who finished their first year at Coleg Sir Gâr in the summer.

From settling into class and meeting new classmates, through to getting a grip on assignments and starting to think about exams, Alice and Ashley understand how much there can be for new pupils to think about.

Here they share their top tips with you and how you can make the most out of college.

Ashley:

  1. Be yourself.

“It’s a new place, a clean slate. You will meet new people and experience new things. Trusting in yourself and your personality will come out in your work and the people you’re around.”

  1. Take it step by step.

“If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry about things far ahead of you. Concentrate on what’s in front of you, deal with each task or action as you go and then move on. You can think about the bigger things when you’re feeling ready.”

  1. Remember to slow down and enjoy the experience.

“It’s not just about the classes and work – try and make time to have a laugh with your friends. Friends will help make the days easier. Mates are the best.”

  1. Check in on your mental health.

“I was very nervous when I started college after I was bullied at school. My mental health had been low at times and I had little confidence. But I started getting the support I needed and I was able to increase my confidence and make friends.

“If you’re feeling anxious or low, remember the wellbeing team is there to support you.”

Alice: 

  1. Keep open-minded and try new things.

“There are so many different sports and extra-curricular activities to get involved with. Have a look at the activities on offer and sign up for some introductory sessions. Try everything you’re interested in and see what you like most.”

  1. Connect with as many people as you can.

“College is very diverse and inclusive and you’ll meet people from all different backgrounds and cultures. I was really nervous when I started as many of my friends from school went to a different college. But very quickly I settled in, made the effort to chat with different classmates and met my people.”

  1. Stay on top of things:

“College work can build up quickly. Make sure you stay on top of homework and assignments as you get them. Plan and prioritise your work to save yourself more stress and work in the future.”

  1. Keep future choices in mind.

“Use this first year to get a sense of what you’re enjoying, what you’re not so interested in and what sort of area you might want to look at in the future. So many of the small things can relate to your future career, so keeping this in mind will help you with future decisions.”

If at any point during your college journey you want support exploring your future, whether you have questions about your course or need help with career options, get in touch with Careers Wales. Call 0800 028 4844, email post@careerswales.gov.wales or visit the college and sixth form web page where you can also join webchat.

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