Student James McMahon fills us in on the good, the bad and the teaching practice at St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra. Introduce your college. St. Patrick’s College of Education is a teacher-training college situated in Drumcondra, Dublin 9. You can also do an Arts degree here. What’s the best thing about your college? Most people who go to St. Pat’s want to become primary school teachers. You are sure to have at least a few things in common with most people in the college so there is a great atmosphere around. What’s the worst? The stress levels in the college around teaching practice time reach unbearable levels. Arts students are also bored out of their trees during this month as the normally lively atmosphere suddenly dies down. Some Education students also have ridiculously long hours during these weeks. What’s the local area like? I really enjoyed living in Drumcondra, but over the three years I have heard of three or four separate break-ins around the areas close to Quinn’s pub. The Griffith Avenue end of Drumcondra seemed to be much quieter. Everything that I needed could be gotten very easily as most shops were well within walking distance. What about accommodation? Is it expensive? It’s like most places I suppose, if you shop around you can find more affordable accommodation. Some places closer to Griffith Avenue will be more expensive as those houses can also cater for DCU students. I never paid more than €90 per week for accommodation. What’s the cost of living like? Tesco is across the road from college. Can’t be beaten! Is part-time work easy to come by? I found customers for grinds easily enough. I had a part-time job at home (Cavan) also. What are the campus facilities like? Not great. Some computers are very slow. The library doesn’t stock enough of the important books. Also, the banking hours aren’t great for people with loaded timetables. What’s the food like? Is there a good variety? Is it expensive? They say it’s subsidised, I don’t know how much I believe that though. It’s not great quality all the time, sometimes it can just be grand. Bia Blasta outside the side gate makes lovely rolls and sandwiches. What kind of sports facilities are there? The gym is terrible, not worth talking about. Poor quality football field also. Is there a broad range of clubs and societies? Considering you can join DCU clubs and socs, there is a very good range. What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap? Doesn’t exist. What advice would you offer to new students? For example, what’s the worst thing a new student can do? What’s the best? Don’t be a hermit. Don’t let the college work put you off going out and socialising. Everyone knows the best work flows out of you when you are under pressure. You will make many good friends for life if you make the effort.