There are many occasions in life when you can point to the impact made on you and the rush of emotions that it brings, ranging from total excitement to high anxiety. Way up on that list of occasions is leaving home for the first time and heading off to college.
With the current recession, the importance of this event and how to afford it is at the forefront of both parents’ and student’s minds. To help understand and plan for going to college is the annual publication ‘Flying the Coop- a Guide to
Going to College’. It is a 64 page glossy booklet covering many topics that trip up new students, ones that don’t often feature in career guidance classes but are nonetheless important to surviving first year intact!
There is a natural cycle kick started by the CAO offers. This begins with the decision of whether to rent, lodge in digs or to go on campus. Central to that is researching the costs and compare it with budget available! Then go off and actually find your accommodation with time spent trawling through newspaper classifieds, on college accommodation websites making phone calls, then going to viewings and paying a deposit and advance rent. During this time, care must be taken to avoid all the pitfalls of new tenants ranging from fixed leases, to direct debit bills, and classically not doing a furniture and appliance inventory.
The next part of the cycle covers the emotional and practical side of settling into a new college course, making friends, discovering more about yourself in the process, avoiding starvation, fitting in some socialising, avoid bills piling up, budgeting generally and meeting project deadlines and taking exams. The skills of budgeting combined with the ability to cope physically and mentally with the change and stresses are not to be underestimated and it’s important to know who can help when you need it.
At the end of it all, if planning hasn’t happened, or care been taken, disputes can arise between students themselves or with landlords or with neighbours and its an unhappy way to finish up the first year.
Successfully providing information to cover all the areas of this cycle is the aim of ‘Flying the Coop’, with useful tips and even words of wisdom from current students covering the headings of: Accommodation Hunt, Making the Adjustment, Tenants Rights, Costs & Budgeting, and Helpful Contacts. The booklet is produced by Co. Roscommon Youth Information Service who follow the ethos that young people need to have the best information available that is suitable for them and at the right time. Flying the Coop does this from August until May!
‘Flying the Coop’ is distributed nationally and can be obtained from your nearest Youth Information Centre for a nominal cost of 50 cent plus P&P For a list of Information Centres, see Golden pages or check the list at www.youthinformation.ie. Or contact Roscommon Youth Information Centre, Castle St, Roscommon town, (090) 6625395 / firstname.lastname@example.org.