Student Clare Murnane spills the beans on everything from historical societies to ‘douchey’ arts students at TCD.
Introduce your university.
Trinity College Dublin is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, not to be confused with University College Dublin (UCD). Founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 for Protestants seeking higher education, it became open to Dissenters in 1793 and students of the female persuasion have been accepted since 1904. It is located in the heart of Dublin city centre and is the highest ranked University in Ireland.
What’s the best thing about your university?
Trinity’s prime location is unrivalled; the campus is small but beautiful and steeped in history. As well as having an outstanding academic reputation, Trinity College is a great place to spend time. The college also attracts a lot of interesting and important people, who often give public lectures for students and staff.
What’s the worst?
The worst thing about Trinity is quite possibly the students. The stereotypical joke ‘How do you know if someone goes to Trinity? They’ll tell you’ has some truth in it. Wade through the tourists and BESS twats in the Arts block and you will find moustachioed guys sporting colourful trousers and girls with fashion blogs and ‘ironic’ Skrillex haircuts bleating on about ‘Marx and his relation to, like, nouveau-socialism?’ Don’t be fooled; those guys have been feverishly growing that ‘tache since the Junior Cert and those blogs get 10 hits a month; none of them have read Marx.
But apart from some douchey arts students and a couple of questionable characters down the Hamilton end of campus, the student body at large is relatively okay.
What’s the local area like?
Trinity is bounded by Grafton street to the south and O’Connell street to the north, with at least three pubs within spitting distance of any entrance, most of which are regularly frequented by students. The area can get a little dodgy at night so I would recommend staying in a group situation or getting taxis when necessary.
What about accommodation? Is it expensive?
Student residences are in Trinity Hall, Rathmines, with a small number of rooms on campus. The cost is between €1500-€2000 per term, depending on the type of room and the location. Utilities are extra with a charge of about €150 per term. Scholars (students who have gained a First grade in special Foundation Scholarship exams in their subject) are entitled to free on-campus accommodation for five years. This is in addition to free tuition fees, a small annual salary and Commons free of charge.
Is part-time work easy to come by?
If you’re not a genius like the Scholars, you might need to get a job. The Careers Advisory Service send out weekly emails with details of positions available within college and out in the real world. They also offer loads of free advice on how to apply for jobs, how to write your CV and interview techniques.
What are the campus facilities like?
The college facilities are pretty good. There is a bank on campus and a separate ATM, and there are computers in almost every building and a number of libraries. The main library building is the BLU (Berkeley, Usher and Lecky libraries) which is open until 10pm on weekdays and open from 11-5 on weekends. Sunday hours are reduced despite consistent campaigning from the SU, including a kind of pitiful attempt at a sit-in, which consisted in less than one hundred students.
What kind of sports facilities are there?
The Trinity Sports Centre is located on campus and has a gym, a swimming pool, a climbing wall, squash and tennis courts and, bizarrely, a croquet lawn. There is also a rugby pitch and a cricket pitch. There are loads of classes available and membership of the sports centre is included in the registration fee.
What’s the story with the college/local bar? Is there a good atmosphere? Is it cheap?
The cricket Pavilion is the only Trinity bar, almost exclusively referred to as The Pav. As well as serving all the regular drinks, the Pav sells cans of beer for between €2 and €2.50. Pav Fridays are a regular event and hundreds of people spill out onto the cricket pitch with their cans around exam time and on any nice sunny day our country may be blessed with.
Are there a broad range of clubs and societies?
There are over 100 clubs and societies in Trinity, ranging from the Afro Caribbean society to the Zoological society and everything in between. The two largest societies are the Phil and the Hist (so alike, they may as well be called the Phist), they have nothing to do with philosophy or history as they are debating societies. They attract some pretty high profile guest speakers and it’s always worth going to a few debates, they’re pretty accessible and sometimes quite funny.
Most people join a plethora of societies during Freshers week, but it’s always worth joining the society associated with your course (for example joining the Metaphysical society if you’re a Philosophy student) and any other society you may be interested in. Although, you do have to remember to go to a few meetings. They’re a great way to meet new people within your course or outside of it. And who knows, maybe next year you could run for a position on the society committee and gain some power and influence in college.
If you’re really interested in grabbing some power you could run for a Student Union position, take a year out of college and get paid to play at the political game.
What advice would you offer to new students?
My advice for new students is to get involved in as much as you can, because four years in college really does fly by. Make sure you go to Trinity Ball in April and spend the whole day at the Pav on the last day of exams. A word of warning – don’t be one of those Trinity students who are just a bit too into being a Trinity student. Yeah, it’s the best college in the country, but don’t be a douche about it. Oh, and maybe go to some lectures too, because who knows, maybe you could actually learn something.