Student Jennifer Devitt gives us the lowdown on what it’s like to attend Blanchardstown IT. Introduce your college. Blanchardstown IT is a medium sized college. The buildings are very modern and spacious, easy to get around and are always warm. The college is divided into five buildings and your lectures will be held in each of these throughout the day so be prepared for running from building to building on cold, wet days. As well as this, different students come and go throughout the year as many Social Studies students are on placement for three months of the year and many apprentices come through the doors for a few weeks at different stages of the year. So sometimes the college is buzzing with new students andother times there is a quite relaxed atmosphere. What’s the best thing about your college/university? It’s an ideal size college, both physically and with the amount of people in each course. This means you can get to know the lecturers more personally than in other larger colleges. The college staff get to know you and are very friendly and helpful. The canteen is also very spacious with a wide variety of food available, as well as there being a common room with pool tables. The college has very relaxed atmosphere to it, with couches in the canteen which are often used as beds. ‘Student Days’ are hosted by the college throughout the year with BBQ’s, bouncy castles, magicians, dj’s, bands, games and prizes, which offers a nice break from the usual routine. As it is in an isolated area, someone out of place is easily spotted so it’s a safe place. What’s the worst? The college is quite secluded; it is on its own grounds in Blanchardstown surrounded by fields. It’s a good 20 minute walk from the main shopping centre or a 30 minute walk from Blanchardstown village, but it is serviced by buses. Parking is an issue with this college as it is not free, there are clampers in operation and there is not enough spaces for the amount of students. Unfortunately, there is no bar on campus. What’s the local area like? The front of college is a residential area and behind the college is an industrial estate. The local area is generally quiet as it’s not close to the main village. Blanchardstown village is a small village with nice little restaurants and cafes. The shopping centre is also very close to the college and offers lots of different lunch options. What about accommodation? Is it expensive? There are many apartments and rooms to rent in Blanchardstown and its surrounding areas. The college has many students from all over Ireland and some international Erasmus students, so if you need to rent a place there is no shortage of other students to share with. The average cost for a bedroom with shared living spaces is about €300 a month in Blanchardstown or Clonsilla, but can be up to €500 a month for the same in Castleknock. Bear in mind this does not include utilities. What’s the cost of living like? The cost of living would be much the same as any other area; the only extra costs you would incur would be travel costs depending where you are living. For instance, people living in Blanchardstown village or further out would probably still want to get a bus to the colleges. A half an hour walk on a wet day isn’t exactly nice! The buses that service the college go right into the college grounds, so even if you lived in town its very handy to get a bus to and from college. There are also buses to areas that are further away, such as Meath and Cavan, from the Blanchardstown shopping Centre. Is part-time work easy to come by? It is very easy to get a part time job in Blanchardstown as the college is very close to the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, which has more than 200 shops, multiple restaurants and a hotel, as well as there being many restaurants and bars in Blanchardstown village. What are the campus facilities like? The campus facilities are very good and include a free gym, free GP visits, a sports hall, an oratory, an on-campus bank, an ATM and large library with quiet rooms. Printing is available in most rooms with a computer, and computer rooms are situated all over the campus. The library opening hours are good, and when library closes there are other rooms available. What’s the food like? Is there a good variety? Is it expensive? There is a wide variety of food available such as dinner style dishes, curry chips ,hot chicken rolls, sandwich counter, cold salads, yoghurts and fruit, and seasonal specials for days like Pancake Tuesday and Christmas dinners. The food is cheap enough, but you wouldn’t want to be buying lunch every day. Dominos Pizza delivers for those staying late. There is also a small shop that sells sweets and college supplies like pens and condoms, but no chewing gum! What kind of sports facilities are there? There is a free gym, a large sports hall and multiple sports clubs, including the usual sports like football and basketball and other classes like yoga and dance which are great for meeting new people. The college also had a large sports pitch. Are there a broad range of clubs and societies? The college has the usual clubs such as chess, photography, football and so on. It would be good to see some more out there though, like societies the larger colleges have. What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap? There is no college bar as there is no on campus accommodation so people don’t tend to hang around the college after classes. The local bar would be Captain Americas which is very close to the college and does food and drink offers for students, such as €4 cocktail and beers. This bar is very popular as it is quite casual, so it’s good for a few after college drinks. It also hosts nights to promote local bands and comedians which is a nice change from the usual pub scene. The local night club is Light. It often hosts nights for Blanch IT students and does drink promos. On a regular night Light can be a bit pricey because of the entrance fee, but usually has drink promos to strike a balance. Light also hosts events such as Beach Parties and has guest DJ’S such as Bressie. Be warned, Light is nothing fancy – even though there’s a strict dress code. Sometimes the locals take over. What advice would you offer to new students? For example, what’s the worst thing a new student can do? What’s the best? The worst thing new student can do is buy all the course books. Usually the library has several copies of them all and pages can be photocopied or books can be borrowed when needed. The student union also arranges buying/selling of second hand books for students. Students need to quickly learn the busy periods for the canteen and try beat the queues or they’ll be left with no food. Also, if you’re driving, don’t bother trying to park after 9am – there’ll be no room left. Don’t be afraid to ask lectures for help, that’s what they’re there for. Another bad thing to do is be on a computer doing non college related work while other people who really need to use a computer are waiting. Any other useful information you would like to add? The Students’ Union office and college facilities are very helpful. The Students’ Union is there to help you with anything you need. There isn’t always a doctor in the college but there is always a nurse on campus that is very nice and can help out with medical advice and minor problems like a migraine or burns.