Hello, I am John Barker and I choose life!

That’s what I recently wrote on my Facebook page (minus the ‘hi’ – that’s there as a general hello to all readers) and that is exactly what I have to say to you lot as you start your college experience. However I don’t want to bombard you with yet another speech full of ‘wise words’ and stuff, quite simply because I’m hardly Mr. Wisdom himself. All I can say is that despite making plenty of mistakes during my first year, such mistakes which have left me studying for my repeats, I still had the best year of my life. So make mistakes, sleep through your 9 o’clock, write a minimal effort essay with the aim of merely scraping a pass, whatever. Just make your first year your own.

It’s all about taking every opportunity that comes your way. Get involved in whatever is going on around you because you meet new people, learn new skills and if nothing else it looks good on the C.V. I know that your lifetime C.V. is something not likely to be on your mind having just finished your LC and are still getting out of the mindset of how every bit of work you do will get you closer to college but who knows when you might need to write ‘member of the Trampolining Club’ under your list of hobbies.

This is exactly what I did last year, well at least to the extent of my physical ability. Admittedly there were some nights when I simply had to choose sleep over shots but otherwise I tried to get involved in as much as I could and it paid off as here I am today writing my first editorial as the Entertainments Editor of the Express. I continued to adopt this attitude throughout the summer too, which inevitably meant that I had to sacrifice those days of lounging around the house, watching cartoons and laughing as they dragged up memories from my childhood. Although rumour has it that I’d be shocked if I tuned into the kids channels these days, as long gone are the days of Hey Arnold and Fairly Odd Parents.

Anyway, so I started the summer with two jobs, quit one but by being nice to my colleagues I got a new one, which might I add, is absolutely perfect. I also ran a drama summer camp, which again by being nice to people meant that we got the premises rent free, sponsorship for materials and free advertising. On top of this I completed three consecutive six-week courses in becoming a psychic (seriously). Still facing me is my work as a peer support leader and my repeat exam. Life was/is hectic. However, I now have something to show for it with a bursting C.V. It may not have been as exciting as spending my summer in some foreign country with my mates time but it was fun nonetheless. So maybe I left little free-time but there were still plenty of parties and social gatherings when we could, including a mental weekend in a rented house in Killarney, seeing Leona Lewis in the O2, many a night in Freakscene and now I’m off to London to spend some serious cash. Moral of the story: make the most of your time and be nice to people: you never know when they might repay the niceness. Just think: behind the greasy hair could be a seriously good party thrower or underneath the embarrassing clothes could be your place to crash when you can’t make it home, or if you can look past the lazy eye then you could score yourself a free drink! Now is the time to make contacts and develop your own social circle, eliminating the secondary school stereotypes.

I’m now just about left with enough space to talk about entertainments for the year. First of all this section is where I’ll keep you posted on what to go see in the cinema or even the theatre, what books to read, what places to go and we‘ll even add a splash of celebrity at times. Secondly when I say ‘where I’ll keep you posted’, I really mean ‘where me and a team of writers will’, and that team of writers could be anyone so if you are interested in writing or even if you have a strong opinion on a film, book, etc then email me at entertainment@uccexpress.ie – simple as.

So without further ado, I wish you all the best of luck with your first year.

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