UCD student Conor Hogan talks ski trips, dodgy IT services and the dangers of taking eight modules in one semester! Introduce your university. University College Dublin – a sound spot! What’s the best thing about your university? There’s always something going on and there’s always a good buzz about the place. Sports facilities are pretty solid too. What’s the worst? The IT services can be a real pain! Every time there’s registration or the exam results are out the system will crash. You would think they would prepare for it, but every year it’s the same mess. What’s the local area like? Nice area, not much to do in the direct local area, but you’re only 15 minutes from town, 10 minutes from Dundrum, 5 minutes from Stillorgan. So it’s in a good spot if you want to do something before, after, or instead of class. What about accommodation? Is it expensive? I live at home myself, but the accommodation seems pretty handy for the most part. It’s affordable and has pretty much everything you need, so there’s generally no complaints. What’s the cost of living like? It’s not too expensive. If you know how to go about cheap living you’ll get on just fine. Pints in the bar can be expensive, but generally it’s easy to get by on a low budget. Is part-time work easy to come by? You can get a job in any of the SU shops, in the Centra on campus, and there’s a few places nearby that hire students now and then like SPAR. So there are definitely opportunities to get some money on the side. What are the campus facilities like? There’s an AIB bank on-campus and a Bank of Ireland off-campus. There’s also a number of ATMs, and you can pay for most things by laser card on-campus. There’s access to computers in most buildings, but most faculties have their students get their own laptops for the course. The Wi-Fi is alright, it’s accessible pretty much all over campus too which is great. There’s a number of libraries on-campus. But after a couple of weeks you need to get there early in order to a get a plug for your laptop, as some areas in the massive James Joyce Library (the main one) are short of plug sockets. There’s solid enough study areas in each building too, and outside of the library the Daedalus building has one of the quietest study rooms on campus, which is great as others can be really loud (namely in Quinn School of Business). What’s the food like? Is there a good variety? Is it expensive? There’s good variety, especially in the main restaurant which has some good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner too. It can be expensive, but they generally do good deals. Centra do some quality meal deals, but around lunch time the queue is massive. There are some shops just off-campus too which facilitate for students. What kind of sports facilities are there? A new sports centre has just been built with a 50 metre swimming pool, new weights room, jacuzzi, steam room, etc. There are between four and six tennis courts near the sports centre, six to ten five-a-side astro turf football pitches, a full size rugby astro pitch, a full size G.A.A. astro and full size soccer astro. There are basketball courts, squash courts, a rock climbing wall, trampolines and more in the old sports centre. The national hockey stadium is also on campus. The Bellfield Bowl plays host to Rugby and Football matches for top league UCD games. There are football pitches and gaelic pitches dotted all around campus. The sports facilities are pretty sweet in general! Are there a broad range of clubs and societies? A huge range! The Socs range from faculty societies to political parties, to Dutch (Gold) Soc and LGBT Soc. They all run great events and have great trips and socials, which are a great ways to meet new people and that. There’s a huge range of clubs too, from mainstream sports like rugby, soccer, hurling, gaelic, to ultimate Frisbee, trampoline, caving and the rifle club. There’s a huge range of martial arts clubs too. What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap? The student bar has a great atmosphere. You can relax and play pool or darts during the day, listen to some solid tunes throughout the afternoon and night, or just go for a pint and soak up the quality atmosphere.] It’s not a fancy bar and it’s a bit run down looking, but I think that adds to its appeal. It’s not the cheapest place to get a drink but the food is a good price. They also get good acts there regularly. Notable ones include Ryan Sheridan, LMFAO and Example. What advice would you offer to new students? For example, what’s the worst thing a new student can do? What’s the best? I’d say get involved with as much stuff as early as you can. Give loads of things a go once and then decide what you want to keep doing throughout college. Get involved with the snow sports club and go on the ski trip, it’s meant to be the best thing going (and no, I’m not part of the club, I’m just being honest)! If you get the chance to do an Erasmus or semester abroad, take it. Go to the UCD Ball, it’s savage craic. Run for class rep, everyone in your course will know you then and if you do a good job (meaning good parties and a good trip away), they’ll all want to know you after too. Take the easiest electives you can, it makes the whole of your time that much less stressful. If there are class parties or trips away, go on them; it’s an easy way to meet people. Don’t get involved with someone in your course unless it’s a one night job. Don’t swim in the lake, unless you want a tetanus shot. When it comes to registration, be conscious of the number of modules you put down for each semester. I had eight modules in my first semester in first year and four in my second semester. Stressful stuff! Remember: there’s a two week study period in semester two, but no break mid-semester in semester one.