Have had the night to sleep on my first official day in college. Overall impression is 20/10. Was so much better than I had expected and confirmed to me that I'm taking the right path.
Started off in trepidation at having to go and meet a whole load of new people and face something completely new - Came home with one classmate and another student in tow, as well as some new phone numbers in my book! Also came home with the 'magic book' for first years; information on all the courses I'm interested in; my SU card and myriad flyers and leaflets. So much information to read up on and digest.
It was definitely a day with such an enormous amount of data input that it will take the week to get it all straight in my head. From the initial confusion of being put into groups for our mentors to take us to the most important parts of the campus and pass on some useful tips - e.g. get a photocopying card from the SU shop and use the copier in the little room under the library - until I finally relaxed with a fellow student in the bar, it was learning, learning, learning all the way. Names, places, dates, more names, courses, credits, exams.... Yes, it was stressed to us that exams are only a few weeks away and our first assignments will be due before we know it. Nothing like having the Dean put the fear of God into you before lunch!
After the talks it was time to explore course options and go to the SU and get talking to people. Just about everyone had told me that mature students tend to hang out together and be good friends. There are around 300 of us starting out this year - a great mixture of ages, nationalities and experiences - and the small group being shepherded around by our very nice mentor seemed to typify that: five nationalities between ten of us. I needn't have been so nervous. Everyone is pretty much in the same boat and we'll help each other paddle through college.
Had a lovely time chatting and getting to know one member of our group. Talk about a small world: one of her daughters has already mentioned at home the new boy in her class - my Rob! We met a 3rd year who took us under his wing and, after my new friend left, he introduced me to two other 1st years, one of whom I'll be studying Spanish with. A pint or two watching the second half of the football match and it was back home to continue the 'orientation' over pizza and beer. Had clean forgotten that many of my fellow students would be living nearby!
Today I've been going through some of the information and booking myself a locker. Later on there's the Fáilte Fest on campus - lots of fun for the whole family :-)
There's so much involved in this college lark - will feel dis-orientated for a while but happily so.