Starting college in 2021

Starting college in 2021

Wednesday, 01 September 2021

There’s a big emphasis placed on starting college. It’s a chance to make new friends, pursue your own interests, and increase your independence.

But as with many things in the last 18 months, that experience could be quite different now. The pandemic has changed a lot of ways of life, with one of the biggest impacts being on education.

Colleges are due to open for on-site education in the academic year 2021-2022. Though while some restrictions remain in place, college might still present challenges.

Starting good habits at the beginning of the year makes them easier to maintain

Studying at home

Colleges are currently sorting out how to deliver their courses safely. Check your own college’s arrangements during Covid-19 here. Most will be providing on-campus learning, though with many tutorials and classes happening online for some.

Whether there are full on-site lectures and tutorials, or a more blended approach, college students are required to study more outside of class than in, which can be a lot more personal responsibility than we’re used to.

Studying can be hard at the best of times and getting a routine going will really set strong foundations. After the uncertainty of the last 18 months, a bit of structure could be welcome. Starting good habits at the beginning of the year makes them easier to maintain, so try our tips for studying at home.

Remind yourself that you deserve to be here as much as anyone else.

Feeling like you belong

Some young people may seem excited about college, when deep down they wonder if they’ll belong and fear failure. If you find your thoughts heading in this direction, challenge yourself to be more compassionate.


  • Sharing how you’re feeling with someone else. You may realise others are in the same boat!
  • Separate feelings from fact. Just because you feel out of place, doesn’t mean that you are.
  • Remind yourself that you deserve to be here as much as anyone else.

Social connection 

College can feel like a big place. With social distancing and perhaps less face-to-face interaction, you may be feeling worried about the social side of things

The pandemic forced us to come up with new and creative ways to connect. But the lockdowns may mean we feel a bit rusty in our ‘real-life’ social skills. Don’t be afraid to break the ice and start the conversation with people on your course, even if this is via Facetime or Messenger.

You are on this new journey together which is a great bonding experience. Making study groups, joining clubs, hosting BBQ’s or movie nights can spark a lifelong friendship. There are many ways to find your tribe at college.  

Remember also, if you don’t make friends for life in your first year that’s OK too. Things are going to change each year of this new adventure and bring about new opportunities.

Give yourself time

Everyone’s been saying it, but that’s because it’s true. It will take time to adjust.

Time for the colleges to adjust, for students, family and friends. Times of transition can often feel stressful. So be kind to yourself.

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