Surviving and Thriving in College: A How to Guide
When you say the word ‘college’ what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Friends? Societies? Erasmus? Alcohol? All of these words alone can be expanded into very different albeit very fun and exciting new adventures. I’ll leave it to you to decide which one you think is the most fun and exciting! I want to delve into each of these topics and give you all a little food for thought in these times of stress and increasing workloads.
We are now entering week 5 of the first semester in the concrete jungle we call UCD. The lectures are beginning to blur together, lunchtimes are filled with catching up on assignments. Hopefully, you’re being very organised with your lectures and balancing social scenes with extra curricular activities which is more than I can say for myself! Although everyone does tell me it’s the thought that counts. Once you’ve achieved your one and only golden week, which occurs sometime around the first few weeks of first year, that’s it for the rest of the year.
The Rent or the Commute
I have been commuting to UCD for the past three years now. Many of you that are in the same boat as me will understand just how difficult it is balancing the social aspects along with the academic endeavors of college. Almost everything I do during the college term revolves around the times of my bus. Now when I say commuting, to put it in the wise words of my Granddad, I mean getting up at a ‘completely ungodly hour’ of the morning.
My bus leaves the small town where I live at 6.30am, which means in order for me to make a 9am lecture I have to rise from my slumber a whole hour before this. Why do I do this you ask? Apart from the obvious (making sure I look half decent and don’t scare anyone with my bedhead when I eventually do get to the gates of UCD) it’s not really all that bad.
I do think that it is completely irrational and overall absurd, the fact that it takes the best part of two hours for me to get to college each and every day, but with that being said I have grown to love it. It means my day is more organized knowing exactly when I’ll be in for classes and enjoying the company of friends by having coffee during my breaks. But the best part? Coming back in the evenings to home-cooked family meals and never having to worry about awkwardly telling your housemates to clean up after themselves. As well as this I have taken up an interesting new hobby; couch-surfing, which serves brilliantly for those all-important nights out.
This year there was an option for me to go on Erasmus as there is for all of third year science. I opted not to go as I often travel to Amsterdam where I have friends and my boyfriend is studying Physiotherapy. So for me this is like a mini Erasmus trip that I like to take twice a year (when the bank funds allow it of course). Even though I would have loved to have experienced it on my own, I have made many friends here at UCD from all over the world. They come from places like Spain, Germany, China and America, not to mention all of the amazing Irish people I have met from all over the country. As well as all my other classes I am currently trying my best to learn Spanish and German, which mostly involves saying “Hola!” and also shouting German phrases randomly in a strong Bavarian accent. Why? Purely because it’s great craic.
Societies are another great aspect that just polishes off the college experience. When you’re not up to your eyes in assignments and tutorial work, there is always something happening after classes that can break up the week and allow you to relax and unwind in a comfortable social setting. Recently the Biological society had a petting zoo, and I was just so completely in my element and in love with the amount of fluffiness in the room. All of my stresses and thoughts of work disappeared. Well, for the best part of an hour anyway. Depending on what you’re interested in, UCD’s clubs and societies are so diverse you are bound to find something right up your street. I even remember going to Irish club a million years ago in first year, where I went with my friend to have ‘té agus craic’ for an hour every Thursday for our first semester. I kid you not, even though it was so nerve-wracking having to speak Irish to other people you haven’t met before, it was the best fun. Learning more about the language of our heritage in a setting full of young people that wasn’t your secondary school teacher droning on about An Spalpín Fánach.
Find Your Niche
Isn’t that what college is about? Finding your niche, enjoying your time in college or even just finding people who enjoy the same alcoholic beverage as you. All of this is definitely much more exciting and more interesting food for the soul than improving that GPA which seems to be gradually decreasing with each passing semester. At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself until the exams come around.
Chloe McCumiskey| Features Writer