Current Veterinary Student Tharsicaa Vimalarajah shares her advice for students.

 

Hello again, I’m Tharsicaa. I’ve begun my journey into my 3rd year of the Veterinary Medicine programme. It’s a tough work-filled year with a range of emotions fluttering about. I’ve felt excited to be starting courses that are more clinically focused. I’ve felt nervous about writing exams that are months away already. I’ve felt scared to be close to writing my licensing exam. I’ve felt proud that I’ve made it to this stage of my educational career. And I also feel thankful for having the opportunity to fulfil my dream.

My emotions aren’t far from what you may feel entering your first year at UCD. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions especially since you may be new to the school or the country, leaving home for the first time, transitioning from secondary school to university etc. But it’s all completely normal.

Transitioning to University

I can remember feeling scared and sad to leave my family and home. It was a hard transition for me as I started my studies with UCD as an international student (I’ll admit I still cry a waterfall at the airport each time). Within a short time, I began to feel comfortable with living in Dublin, happy being in my programme and making new friends, exploring new places and starting the next chapter to my life.

As a fellow current UCD student here is some of the key advice I can share to successfully cope with some of your emotions.

When you’re scared

Ask yourself what are you scared of? And why? Are you scared of moving to a new place? Are you scared of starting a new program? Are you scared of not making friends? Are you scared of not knowing how to cook?

When you give yourself the chance to understand what you’re scared of, you can work on finding different solutions to help overcome this fear. Of course, it can be scary to be somewhere new and foreign. It helps to find activities and places to visit that you may enjoy. I loved visiting the Cliffs of Moher, it was a place of serenity. I obviously made sure I got to go to the Dublin Zoo, its become one of my favourite memories of Dublin. And I took the time to enjoy the UCD cinema – an experience I encourage everyone and anyone to undergo.

 

Embracing the new

I didn’t cook for myself until I came to live on my own at UCD. Since then I’ve learned how to cook from what my mom made, cooking tutorials, cooking idea posts etc and now I whole-heartedly enjoy it. The best time to learn to cook is when you’re only cooking for yourself – there are fewer complaints while you explore with your creativity.

If you are determined to make the most out of your journey at UCD, then embrace the new things. Make a positive out of your fear by working through it.

When you’re lonely or sad

Even three years down the road I still get lonely and sad. I miss my dogs and I miss my family. It’s completely okay to feel this way. I miss them because they’ve had such an impact on my life.

It’s important to be open-minded that in the next 4-6 years of your time here at UCD, you’ll find things to miss here as well. I’ll miss the lakes, the swans and the little fox I love seeing outside. I’ll miss my walks around the gorgeous campus and I’ll miss the friends I’ve made.

So when I’m sad, I let myself feel it. I reflect on it and think about why I’m sad. I may decide to talk to someone about it. There are resources around campus and the city that work to support students and our mental health. I let myself understand my feelings. And then I take the time to enjoy the little pleasures such as lighting candles, taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, watching tv, eating tons of delicious food I learned to cook!

It’s important to appreciate your reasons for feeling sad because it gives you room to then cheer yourself up and move through the sadness.

When you feel joy

Embrace embrace, embrace it. Embrace even just the little things that bring you joy like seeing a fox outside your window. When you begin to embrace the little things as well, it begins to bring a balance to your emotions, which allows you to take pleasure in your everyday journeys. We don’t need to wait for the big accomplishments to feel joy if we can be content with the little things in life we can live a more fulfilled life.

“Joy is the emotional dimension of the good life, of a life that is both going well and is being lived well.”     -Miroslav Volf

I’ve learned that it is okay to feel every emotion in the book. It makes you who you are and helps shape your experiences.

Your time here at UCD is destined to spark a wide range of emotions. The real key to successfully coping with your emotions is asking yourself why do I feel this way? And what am I going to do about it?