Second-year student Sinead Hallinan proves DCU isn’t just for science geeks and nerds…it just happens to have a room filled with X-Boxes.
Introduce your university.
DCU is a really young college situated about fifteen minutes from Dublin city centre by bus. It’s a medium sized university so it’s relatively easy to get to know people. Also, it was ranked 46th in the top 50 new universities in the world.
What’s the best thing about your university?
The campus is quite small and is rather compact, so it’s easy to get around. There is a personal and friendly feel about the place; you are bound to run into people you know as you walk across campus. But there is also a degree of anonymity, so it’s the best of both worlds.
There is a big emphasis on research within the university which is great if you are a science student like myself – you get to see the cutting-edge research you could be involved with in the future.
Most courses offer a few months of work placement as part of the degree, which is great because you get to experience what your career will be like while still in college. This programme is known as INTRA.
A lot of the courses in DCU are quite interdisciplinary, so you are well prepared for working life after college which is an added bonus.
Also, the college is well serviced by public transport, especially by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. It is relatively easy to get to and from here form different parts of Dublin and around the country.
What’s the worst?
The library is at the far end of the campus away from everything else, so it’s a bit of a walk when you’re tired. It’s also a bit of a walk from the University restaurant, so you have to walk a long distance on a full stomach!
The Nu Bar, the college bar is popular but is not big enough to hold many people at one time, which is it’s only downfall.
What’s the local area like?
The local area is very residential and is quiet. There isn’t much of a nightclub scene in the area surrounding the University, but Dublin City is very nearby which makes up for the lack of facilities in the local area.
There are a few shops and pubs around, and the bus stops for Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann buses are just ten minutes down the road, which is really handy.
What about accommodation? Is it expensive?
There is student accommodation available on campus. These range from basic quality to a high standard.
Because it’s such a residential area there is a huge choice of places to rent outside the university nearby. They aren’t quite Dublin city renting prices, but they can be expensive enough so you have to shop around and start your search as early as possible.
What’s the cost of living like?
You shouldn’t have to spend more than €20 a week on meals. The cost of travel depends on how far away you live, but the student travel cards available in the student union are really useful.
Is part-time work easy to come by?
Because you are near Dublin you have a better chance at looking for part time work in the city. There are only a handful of shops and bars in the local area. Keep trying and you are bound to get something.
What are the campus facilities like?
There are three ATMs around the campus which is enough, and I have never seen them out of service. There is a place in the Henry Grattan building called The Street – there is a bank there.
The main place for computers is in the library, but there are some rooms in the Business building and the Henry Grattan building that have computers also. There are a few smaller computer labs around campus, but they can be reserved for business students.
There is a pharmacy on campus which is quite handy. There is also a SPAR which sells groceries, toiletries and so on. There is also a doctor located on campus which is cheaper than a regular GP visit.
The Helix is right on campus and hosts everything from graduations to the filming of TV programmes such as the Voice of Ireland.
What’s the food like? Is there a good variety? Is it expensive?
There are a few places to go on campus. The main place to go is called the Restaurant; it has loads of seats and good food for quite cheap.
There’s a cafe on the ground for of the library which sells sandwiches and some hot meals. It’s always packed around exam time though.
The business building cafe is the most expensive, but I think it has the nicest food. It has a really big salad bar and serves hot food as well.
What kind of sports facilities are there?
DCU has a good range of sports facilities such as a pool, a gym, indoor and outdoor sports halls. I’m not one to regularly frequent them though!
Are there a broad range of clubs and societies?
There are about 50 societies and nearly as many clubs. They include everything from Frisbee, Game Society, archery, Dance Society, canoeing and loads more. There is definitely something for everyone.
There is also a room in the student’s union filled with X-Boxes for gaming. They cost €2 per controller and you can pick from a variety of games.
What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap?
The Nu Bar is the college bar. It sells lovely bar food all day. It’s quite small so it gets pretty crowded around lunch time. It also plays really good music.
What advice would you offer to new students? For example, what’s the worst thing a new student can do? What’s the best?
Go to as many Balls as you can and join loads of clubs and societies to make friends outside your course. The worst thing you can do is not ask your lecturers for advice. They genuinely want the best for you and want you to succeed.