Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Over-coming tough times at College

In August 2009, I wrote about climbing a mountain and comparing the experience to life in College in my blog post Climbing a mountain - reflections on Croagh Patrick and going to College. In the post I described how I felt as I climbed the mountain and how I felt when I reached the top - I compared reaching the top to graduation.
An exhausted Eugene on top of
Croagh Patrick, August 2009.
What I really didn't articulate is how tough it can sometimes be to get to the top of the mountain. Nobody tells you that College is easy - if they do, they did not go to College themselves and you would be foolish to listen. Today - many Colleges are approaching half-way through the second semester. This is a tough time - it's still a long way to the end of the year, and it is also a long time since the semester 1 exams which can be forgotten very quickly. In NCI - this week is #4 - still along way to go. It is a particularly tough time for first year students who may be wondering if they made the correct decision to take the course they are on - suddenly, an "easier" course may have been a better choice?

Sure - there are tough times to overcome. A difficult lab, boring lectures, continuous assessment, deadlines, studying - all get in the way of shag week, rag week, and bag week (OK - I invented "bag week"), and a game of pool in the Student's Union (table football was my game).


...that's part of College - the lab that you haven't a clue what's going on, the lecture that is not in a language that you can understand, the class you missed because the bus was intercepted by aliens, the 5,000 word essay that you have to write by 5 o'clock tomorrow, the group project that your team-mates are wondering if you will contribute to, the "My parents know shit" feeling, the Java programme that just won't compile without errors, the file that you saved but can't find again, the calculation in Excel that just won't work 'cos Excel is stupid, the fecking dog that keeps eating your assignments, the fact that your friends in class seem to be breezing through everything, the lecturer who refuses to explain to you what next week's test is about (you missed the class when he/she already did this), the exam hint you missed 'cos you were late for class, the book you want from the library has ten other people in the queue ahead of you to borrow, the "Shit - I'm going to fail" moment, the "WTF was I thinking when I put Computer Science as my #1 CAO selection" moment. Nobody said it would be easy - it's not meant to be.
Image link to Sweet Caroline Blog.

But then there are the good days - you get your assignment in on time, suddenly Excel "understands" what you want to do, at last a Lecturer makes sense, the "Maybe Mom was right after all" moment, the smile and relief on your parents faces when you tell them you have passed your exams, you miss a lab but attendance wasn't taken that day, a lecturer gives you a hint for the exams, a class actually makes sense, the book is available, you understand what's going on, lab work is not so tough, the "maybe I got the CAO selection right" moment, the "WTF - I might pass this year" moment.

Another course or another option might look great right now, certainly easier. But is it the right thing for you? We all have to overcome tough things in life at some stage - just like climbing a mountain, there are easy bits and hard bits. There are no short cuts, and there is no way to the top without hard work.

Don't give up.


  1. Thanks Eugene, this is a great piece for college students and everyone trying to achieve a certain goal in life.

  2. Fantastic Read for me a student in first year doing Social Care. Regardless of how many times you fall, perseverance is the key to success.