7 Times to Savour in First Year


College is a time of firsts, and things you have never experienced before will, for better or worse, change you as a person. In the whirlwind time that is first year it can be easy to just float along and let some great times pass by, but it makes sense to try and make the most of them. They say it’s the little things that count and as you look back on your first year you will think the same. The things you remember fondly, laugh about and cringe at will remind you of the exciting time that is first year, so you should do all you can to savour these moments while you can.


1. Moving In

Daunting – a good word to describe the move away from home. Driving up to a new house or apartment in a cramped parent’s car it is easy to think of all the worst possibilities; not getting on with housemates, messy kitchens, cold nights without your dog. The best thing to do is accept the first few minutes might be awkward as you work out what is going on, then you can start being yourself.


Remembering that everyone is doing the same thing, starting fresh in a new place, can go a long way to help any nerves. The people you move in with could be some of your best friends for your time in UL and these first few nights are memorable, as you get used to being free to do what you want. It is worth remembering as you hit the hay on your first night that while a new place can seem scary, it also means an opportunity to be yourself and an adventure ahead.


2. First Visit to the Stables


Say “Stables” to any student in UL and it means one thing. Craic. Some of the best days and nights of your college career will be spent in here. The first time will be wild enough, probably involving UV paint or some sort of county jersey, but it’s important to get your bearings early. Little tricks like knowing what time it fills up at on busy Wednesdays and the best route to take to get served quicker are vital to making the most of a night in the Stables. These come with experience, but for the first couple of times it’s good enough to just take in the sights and sounds, safe in the knowledge you’ll be getting fairly used to the place over your 4 years.


3. Travelling Home


After a long week of going to all your lectures and studying, a trip home is a welcome thought. Nothing quite compares to the moment you land on your bed at home like a starfish and think of nothing but how you could stay there forever. If it wasn’t for the home cooked dinner waiting for you, you probably would. Little things like washing being done, dinners made and heat might not be fully appreciated until you have lived away from home so make sure you make the most of these luxuries when you get the chance. Soon enough you will be back to choosing between another pint or having sauce with your pasta for the week.


4. Surviving Exams

Exams are like death and taxes, inevitable. In first year you have a certain amount of leeway due to the fact that, for most courses, your QCA only really counts from second year. You still have to pass though, so exams bring with them all the stresses of lost student IDs, struggling to find seats in the library and severe procrastination. As important as making sure you do your best in exams is appreciating when they are over. The hard work you put in before a test means that once you hand up your script you don’t have to perform a post-mortem and you are free to concentrate on celebrating, whatever way you choose, in peace.


5. First Sight of Sun


Around March time when the first proper bit of prolonged sun breaks through the clouds the campus is transformed. The grass outside the library is full of students eating 99s and a smug feeling is in the air as the people inside the library are turned into entertainment. Most of the people sitting on the grass have given up on lectures or assignments that have to be done, but there is a way to get the best of both worlds. As painful as it might sound, getting up early and doing some work before the sun is in peak form saves a lot of hassle. It’s vital to enjoy the sun while it’s there, god knows we don’t get too much of it, and making plans to get work out of the way can take weight off your shoulders and make those ice-creams guilt free.


6. Charity Week

Charity Week is the most enjoyable week of the college year. It’s like seeing a squirrel outside a classroom window, the ultimate distraction trying to drag you away from college. There might be a few late nights, groggy morning lectures and labs spent watching the clock, but going to college can be justification for going mad after it. The best way to enjoy the madness is to embrace it, whether that’s messy sing-alongs to the Vengaboys in the Stables or running through campus in the nip (almost). Making sure you are up to date with your modules before this week helps you to make the most of it, because even though week 6 is all fun, next comes week 7, and with it the looming presence of the end of year exams.


7. Race Day


Arguably the best day of the year, the races give everyone a chance to get all polished up, pretend to know a thing or two about betting and do a good bit of horsing around. You don’t want to miss out on race day, so just buy a ticket when they go on sale. That way you can avoid the stress of worrying about getting one, not to mention the con artists and extortionate second-hand prices. When it comes to the actual day of the races, it’s really every person for themselves so eat a good breakfast, get a clear run of the day and hope for the best. The real achievement is if you can make it back with any of the money you went with.


Eoin O'Sullivan


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