Overheard Around Campus

Image Credit: Joseph Mischyshyn via Wikimedia Commons

You all have a lot to answer for it seems. Emer Dowling has ears everywhere and has captured the conversations you’d rather have remained hidden.

Agriculture and Food Science building

I know this one is pretty obvious, but I thought it was funny. And it was a lecturer saying this to his class three weeks in a row. “If P equals Q, then Q is the same as P. But if P does not equal Q, then P is not the same as Q.” Groundbreaking. 


    I have heard loads of crazy conversations here (accidentally, I would like to add – not my fault if people insist on having these conversations in crowded areas that I just happen to be eating my lunch in). These are some of the best ones.

Childhood lovers

Two friends talking about the boys they used to date when they were children. One of the girls was best friends with her lover since they were infants, and they dated pretty much all through primary school. The other friend contributed by saying that the boy she used to date in primary school turned into a bit of a wrong ‘un in secondary school, and he is now a bodybuilder. He also is a drug addict, and apparently not much of a looker if the exclamations of horror upon seeing his picture before and after are anything to go by. 


For those of you who do not know, Clongowes is a boarding school for boys in Kildare. This particular group’s discussion on the school betrayed the fact that they all in all knew next to nothing about the school. 

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, they were not aware that it is in Kildare, much less what part of Kildare. They spoke in deploring terms about the facilities there, and claimed that everyone there does badly in state exams. The apparent leader of the conversation spoke with such gusto and assurance that I, a Kildare native, almost believed him. Fortunately, I know better and would have gone up to them and said something had my perch not been so comfortable and the conversation so stimulating. They then moved on to a brief discussion on how it is more difficult for women to get diagnosed with autism/ASD than it is for men. This,  unlike their spiel about Clongowes, is actually factually accurate. They closed their diatribes with tricks for obtaining a false diagnosis of ADHD, which I will not include as it is unethical (and not just because I have forgotten them).

Autistic people cannot wear jeans 

When I heard this, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. On the one hand, it was so inaccurate as to be funny, but on the other, it showed the complete lack of understanding neuro-typical people have for the neuro-diverse. According to the young man who had this epiphany, autistic people can only wear tracksuits and other loose-fitting trousers. He failed to elaborate on why, simply stating this as a truth so fundamental as to not need any explanation. Not only was this belief incredible, but his lack of discomfort sprouting such nonsense was both admirable and bewildering. I would like to point out that autistic people CAN wear jeans – whether they do or not is a matter of preference, same as with anyone else. 

One-night stand

Call me old-fashioned, but this is definitely not the type of conversation you should hold in public where anyone can hear you and formulate their own opinions. The story goes something like this: a guy was telling his friend something his lecturer (or tutor?) told the class—how, when he was in college, he had a one-night stand with a guy he met in Dublin city. A few days later, his lecturer introduced the same man as a guest lecturer, who had apparently told the usual lecturer all about the emm … incident!


The following took place in one of the hallways in G whilst I was waiting for people to come out of one of the classrooms. One girl to her friend: “The king of Corinth adopted him as his son.” At the beginning of this sentence, the two girls were at the other end of the corridor, but by the time she got to the end, they were close to me. My brain sometimes works very quickly, and even from this small sentence, in an unknown context, my brain, in the space of about one and a half seconds, recognised the myth of Oedipus. Delighted with myself for figuring this out, I said the name of the figure they were discussing out loud, more to myself than anything.

     “What?” they both asked me, turning around to face me (they had walked past me by this stage).

     “Oedipus,” I repeated matter-of-factly, amazed that they had heard my low mutter.



     “Ohhh,” they both said at the same time, looking at each other as if to acknowledge that they are face to face with a complete weirdo, and then they both quickly scampered. 

     I looked after them in befuddlement. This Greek myth is mostly known by those interested in Classical Greek civilisation, but surely my correct identification of the myth was not startling enough to warrant such a reaction? It occurred to me shortly afterwards (and perhaps this is the reason) that Oedipus, pronounced Eedipis, when half-heard, might sound a tad inappropriate. For those of you not recumbent on Greek mythology, Oedipus (meaning ‘swollen foot’) was a mythical king of Thebes, who, through a case of mistaken identity, accidentally killed his father and married his mother. 

Roebuck Area:

You’re Not Making Sense: Two girls practically shouting at each other at the door to an apartment building.

     “You’re not making sense!”

     “No, you’re not making sense!”

     “I’m older than you!”

     “No, I’m older than you!”

     “I’m three years older than you. I’m twenty-three!”

     I was severely tempted to shout at the pair of them that neither of them were making sense, but refrained from doing so.

Eye-poker: This snippet of conversation between a group of girls also did not make much sense to me, but I nevertheless record it as faithfully as I remember it.

     “I just can’t believe she did that. I mean, like, what?”

     “I know, right? And she just, she just…”

     “And she just, like, … she just rubbed my eye! I mean, and she just, like, she just rubbed my eye!”

     I wanted to ask them more about this intriguing incident, but decided against it. 


To whom the following was addressed, I know not: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.”


This took place on UCD Christmas Day. Outside an apartment building, a group of friends nattered merrily together. One member of the party was clearly drunk, but vehemently contested anyone’s appreciation of his inebriated state. He was eventually persuaded to go to bed by a friend. To my surprise, the door to my apartment opened about two minutes later, and the very man who had been exiled reappeared. He appeared to have some difficulty entering one of the bedrooms, but eventually managed it. As I listened, I heard one of his friends repeatedly, and with increasing volume, order him to stay in his room. Silence. Much groaning was heard. And then, perhaps half an hour later, that very same bedroom door opened, and staggering footsteps rang out in the hall, accompanied by drunken singing. This intoxicated human sauntered into the kitchen and continued to warble there for a few more minutes before eventually falling silent. The silence can be attributed to either the sobering effects of coffee or from falling into Morpheus’ arms. 

Kill Me Now

This was from one of two joggers. “Huff. Kill me now.” It appears she did not even have the energy to add an exclamation mark to ‘now’.