The First Year Experience: UCD First Week

As term begins, Lucy Montague Moffat is excited about returning to UCD to try her hand at first year once moreI left UCD with a bang. Well, more of a gentle patter. Did you know how easy it is to drop out of college? Too easy. You just tell a woman at a desk that you want to leave and suddenly you are no longer a student. But that was four years ago, and now I am back with a bang. Well I am definitely back with bangs anyway, fringes weren’t cool last time. I am a first year once again with dreams in my pocket and a slightly warm packed lunch in my backpack.Since deciding to come back to UCD to do my undergraduate degree in Arts all I have talked about is the Trampolining Club. I’m just so excited to get out to the campus and on to a trampoline. Everyone, mainly my parents, have been desperately trying to remind me that college is also about lectures and learning and spending hours alone in the library trying your hardest to resist the urge to go on Facebook. I am of course excited about lectures, but trampolining seems much more fun. Did you see the Olympics? How did they get so high? It was like they were magic.My first decision as a new student was to skip most of orientation. I don’t need orientation, I thought, I am too experienced for that kind of carry on. How wrong I was. I arrived at UCD for the first time in four years and proceeded to get lost twice in the space of ten minutes. I found myself wandering around endless empty grey buildings in silence with a fellow lost student who had made the awful mistake of wearing high heels. Finally the ominous shadow of the Newman building rose above me and for the first time I kind of knew where I was going.So much has changed since the last time I was here (I am strongly resisting the urge to use the phrase ‘back in my day’). For instance, there is now nowhere to purchase an alcoholic beverage. This saddened my soul. Where am I supposed to have my pre-lecture pints now? Also there is this new Peer Mentoring system which is such a good idea. When I first went into Arts there was nothing like this, I spent orientation in silence trying to build up the courage to talk to someone until they’d start talking to someone else and I’d slink away into the crowd. Forever a loner.I met up with my peer group at the blob, after getting directions to this area named after a woman’s monthly gift. Even though they were all so lovely, what followed was three hours of feeling like an ancient person. I realise I am being overdramatic since I am only twenty three and not even a mature student, but I have been blissfully unaware that I have been aging the past few years, so it was quite upsetting to be suddenly and repeatedly slapped in the face with the reality of eighteen year olds. A few of the girls in my group had gone to my school and after a few calculations it was revealed that I was in sixth year when they were in first year. How have that many years passed and what have I been doing? They began asking me what teachers were my favourite and I suddenly realised I couldn’t remember any of my teachers. Alzheimer's? Oh old age is so cruel.The issue of the day in my peer group was the fast approaching debs and how many of them didn’t have dates yet. I had forgotten the debs even existed, and not just because I was black-out drunk for the majority of mine. In fact I wish I could go back and do the debs again without all the falling over and broken shoes and general drunken ridiculousness.Then it hit me, I am in a college surrounded by thousands of boys who have their debs in a few weeks. I am sure at least a few of them don’t have a date yet. I am going to make it my mission to get invited to one. Then I would have loads in common with my peer group and also how fun would it be introducing myself to the boy’s parents and saying: “I’m 23, I like my men fresh.”All in all, I am excited about starting my three year adventure here. I can’t wait to meet new people and learn new things, mainly about trampolining and how to jump so crazy high. I asked a UCD graduate recently what is the best way to make friends here and he said: “Having one night stands,” so I’m definitely going to try that and I suggest everyone else does too.