IT Tallaght graduate Lorcan Clancy is here to answer all your questions about Tallafornia’s finest educational establishment.
What’s the local area like?
Tallaght is a land of contrast. Officially it is classed as a village, but recently it made a very public bid for city status. Regardless of its municipal status, both homely village charm and big city dreams can be found here. The Luas drops you right outside the Square, a postmodern maze of shops where you can lose yourself in retail heaven for hours. This is about five minutes away from the college and Tallaght village.
What’s the story with accommodation?
There is private accommodation right beside the college which is worth looking into, but you may find it to be prohibitively expensive. You can get a single room to yourself here for €400-€450 a month, with cheaper rates available for room sharing. A good option would be to find somewhere that is close to a stop on the Luas line, as this will give you quick and easy transport to and from the college. If you’re looking for accommodation near the campus, be sure to talk to Pauline in the Student’s Union.
What’s the cost of living like?
Your biggest expense will always be your rent. Aside from that, other living expenses are pretty much standard. If you’re going out in the city centre, it is easy to spend a lot of money without realising it. It is always a good idea to try to share a taxi back to Tallaght from town, as getting a taxi all the way by yourself can cost upwards of €30.
Is part-time work easy to come by?
These days it’s hard to find work anywhere, so your best bet would be apply early, apply everywhere, and follow up on all your applications.
What are campus facilities like?
The library is relatively large and features a wide range of books, magazines, periodicals and video. There are a lot of computers, but at times it can be difficult to secure a place at one of them, especially around exam time. You can also ask the staff for one of the laptops they keep behind the counter. To avoid disappointment, invest in a laptop of your own.
Keep in mind that the college blocks most web-based e-mail. The exception to this is your college issued itnet account. This is useful to remember when an assignment is due and you’re at home e-mailing it to yourself to print out at college later!
The Repographics centre upstairs will serve all your assignment printing and binding needs. A good binding can add a much needed sheen of professionalism to an essay which may have been written in a last minute tea-fuelled frenzy.
There is a Bank of Ireland branch in the college where you can lodge cheques, check your account balance, get advice on loans and transfer money. You cannot lodge or withdraw cash in the branch, but there is an ATM right next to it.
What kind of sports facilities are there?
The grounds of the campus are dominated by a massive all-purpose sports field. There are many sports societies such as the Soccer and Rugby Socs that regularly organise events. Contact Tim O’Connor for more information.
What’s the deal with the college bar? Good atmosphere? Cheap drinks?
The nearby Metro bar features 3 euro drinks for students as well as a reasonably-priced student menu. The children’s menu is also cheap but you may have to put on a backwards baseball cap and a Sonic the Hedgehog t-shirt if you want to order from it without turning crimson with shame. Such recessiontastic deals ensure a lively atmosphere, as the hours slip away unnoticed into a boozy haze. For a more homely atmosphere, Malloys and The Dragon offer a more traditional style of Dublin pub. Both are within walking distance from the campus.
What’s the grub like?
Aside from the aforementioned Metro Bar, the nearby Square shopping centre is full of dining options. It is also a five minute walk to Captain America’s and Marks and Spencer’s if you’re in a more bourgeois mood.
The college canteen can sometimes divide opinion but it is a convenient and reliable choice. The soup of the day served with two rolls for €2.00 is always a good way to quell those between-lecture hunger pangs. If, like me, you’re a tea addict, I would recommend bringing your own teabags to college as eight cups of tea a day at €1.20 a pop can very quickly diminish your funds. There is also a Quiznos and tuck shop on campus.
What kind of clubs and societies can students join?
Societies include Drama, Adventure club, Paintball and Debating to name but a few, as well as the sports societies I mentioned earlier. I was personally involved with the Radio Society where I produced and presented programmes for the college radio station ITT FM, which broadcasts two weeks out of every year.
What advice would you offer new students?
Get to know the people on your course quickly and get involved in a few societies that arouse your interest. I hate to reiterate the tired old “get involved” cliché, but let me say this: “clichés are clichés because they contain a grain of truth”. Which is in itself a cliché. I rest my case.
And finally. Any other useful stuff you would like to add?
Keep an open mind and remember what Mark Twain said: “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.” College should point you in the right direction, but learning is a lifelong adventure. God speed.