Skip to main content

UCC Express Freshers Edition - Tips for Freshers

Another September has arrived, and for the second year in a row, I have been looking forward to this month, for a reason other than the possibility of Cork returning from Croke Park with some silverware. Entering year two, of my four-year degree, I am less anxious about the year ahead than I was last year. I feel that this year I can truly embrace the experience of UCC. Of course, my first experience of college, which only started last year, at age 29, will in many ways be decidedly different from most Freshers. But in many other ways, it will be very similar. Therefore I want to use this piece, to pass on my tips to those who have just walked through the beautiful gates of UCC. I will try my utmost to avoid littering the scribes of my advice with clich├ęs, or filling these inches with irrelevant information, so here goes.

First of all, the most critical piece of information I have for those starting out is to enjoy the experience. Engage with people outside your course, avoid cliques and cozy clubs. Spread your wings, join clubs, chat to strangers, always remember your future best friends, colleagues and partners may not share the same classroom or course code with you.

Don’t fall behind on your course work. Us mature students have a habit of asking all the questions, lining out at the front of every class, like the front row of a scrum, ready to engage with the opposing lecturer. But even us mere mortal matures, have a tendency to fall behind in course work, submit assignments late and cod ourselves into thinking we’ll “make up the ground” over the weekend. I still need to “make up the ground” from subjects from last year, so trust me, you never make it up.

For the love of God, venture beyond Washington Street. Cork has some amazing pubs and while the music scene is not as strong here as it used to be, Cork nightlife has so much more to offer other than the regular haunts of the college contingent. Don’t limit yourselves to the back alleys off Washington Street and the pubs named after shoes and witchery. Think of Washington Street as the strip of neon lit pubs in the centre of your holiday destination, where the real gems lay beyond the neon signs and gimmicky drink promotions.

Remember to look out for one another and not to be too hard on one another or yourself. Not everyone is suited to college, not everyone needs college to discover their life dedication. Therefore not everyone will enjoy their time in UCC; many will leave or decide to change course before the end of year one. This is to be encouraged. If you’re not happy doing what you do, don’t settle for it, strive for more. Strive for happiness and contentment in your future discipline. Remember, college education is about enriching your mind with knowledge, challenging the status quo and becoming a more rounded person. You are not in college to provide multinationals with the requisite skills when it suits them. You are in UCC for your mind, not their bottom line. 

Finally, I’m sure many of you are aware of the issues Ireland and the planet currently faces. What the world and certainly Ireland needs now, more than it ever has, is a throw back to the days when student movements were movements that were taken seriously and almost always engaged with. Nothing has diminished more rapidly, since the end of the last century, than the willingness of the younger generation to participate in protests that are so pivotal to the improvement of Irish society and the world. So, I would beg of you all, get mobile, voice concern, raise objections and hold placards, we owe it to the next generation that will walk through the gates of this beautiful college.


Popular posts from this blog

A Reflection on the Referendum

Since 2012 I have lived with M.E, an illness that is both deeply complex and largely misunderstood in equal amounts. While the trajectory of my journey of recovery has generally been on an upward curve, and for the past number of years I have found myself living as close to a normal life as could be expected, the past number of weeks I have hit a large impasse. I haven’t feared for my future this much in a long time, as I prepare for more hospital visits, journeys that I forgot filled me with such trepidation.

So what has all this got to do with the 8th amendment referendum I hear you ask? Today has been a tough day mentally, as I struggle to get to grips with the abject disappointment of my current health, and the impact this is having on my life today. As I spent much of this morning in silence, I began thinking about the issue of so called 'hard cases' that have been mentioned ad nauseam by both sides in the current debate. I have no doubt that I would not be considered a &#…

Children, and the 8th amendment debate

The eight amendment debate has been vitriolic, and thus far raw emotion, intolerance, hysterical claims, and a lack of insight into opposing views have formed the entire premise on which to argue ones ‘cause’. Just a number of weeks ago, as I walked down Patrick Street in Cork, I observed a ‘prolife’ lobby group displaying the now all too familiar gruesome imagery, that their propaganda machine deems appropriate to exhibit. It was a Saturday afternoon, at prime time trading hours, on one of the busiest thoroughfares in Cork; their position ensured they had the capacity to engage a critical mass of families. Somewhat astonishingly, the group’s obliviousness to the damage such imagery could have on a child’s emotional well being only became apparent to me when I pointed out this fact directly to them. They weren’t for turning. Unfortunately, the ironic disregard for children’s well being in this current debate is nothing new. In the past week, I have observed children holding placards a…

'The Irish Social Worker' - The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, a critique.

While Ireland still grapples with a litany of historical failures in respect of children; professionals, policy makers, and legislators have recognised the need for policy and law that concerns children to be in a consistent state of evolution. This is recognised as crucial to account for evolving societal norms, growing research with respect to childhood experiences, as well as the archaic nature of much of Irish legislation and policy. Consequently, it could be interpreted that any policy or legislative shift is conducive to Ireland making positive strides in enhancing the rights of children, advocating for positive childhood experiences, as well as developing policy and legislation that is more in line with the contemporary realities of Irish families, where children are born to non-married parents much more frequently. Notwithstanding this however, it is crucial that we are cognisant of the need to remain objective when examining any and all perceived ‘advancements’ in policy and …