By Josefine Klintberg.
I dreamed about the magic of walking over a courtyard, to gracefully descend down a majestic staircase and head into a room filled with knowledge, to follow the steps of those who came before me and made it into the history books, who made a difference.
The long room and the museum building
Maybe I’m delusional because I haven’t yet discovered the secret behind coffee, but I wish to believe that the environment that we students are exposed to has something to do with how well we perform in class. To study at university is an incredible and enjoyable experience but it also comes with the whole package of long nights of reading and the stress before exams that makes you want to throw the books into the dumpster and never pick them up again. Learning needs to be inspiring and the learning environment is essential. It can provide me with so much inspiration and energy, and that is what is necessary for getting through the long days of studying, referencing and writing lab reports.
As an exchange student you get the possibility to explore something new, to gather fresh inspiration from environments that was out of reach from where you started out, to find that magic spark. As the Harry Potter fanatic I am, and as the title of this article may have hinted, I can’t help but draw similarities between the campus of Trinity College and Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry in the Harry Potter books. When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, he felt that he had come home. Now I want to share my experience of arriving at Trinity College, what is becoming my second home.
An important thing in most situations of life is the first impression. A great first meeting can take you a long way. When the new students in the wizarding world of Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts they go by boats over the lake. Why is it that only the first year students do this? Well, I want to believe that it’s because they get the best view of the castle from the lake. It gives them the best possible first impression.
At Trinity, the first impression is not something as adventurous as a boat ride along the river Liffey but it comes with a great first sight. It was the beginning of January when I left Sweden and first arrived in Dublin. I walked through the gates of Trinity and when I stood in the courtyard and faced the Campanile, the campus managed to leave me in awe over what was an almost magical first impression.
The second parable to Harry Potter is all the statues you can see on campus. They may not move or talk as the Hogwarts variant (at least not what I’ve discovered yet…) but they do add a mighty impression to the school when you walk past them.
Continuing on to the fact that Harry Potter couldn’t have defeated Voldemort if he hadn’t had teachers learning him how to use the spells, what to do and when. The importance of idols, role models and teacher is just as necessary as the buildings and at Trinity there is a lot of them to learn and take inspiration from.
If you walk into the physics building and continue up the stairs to the very top of the building you will find the Schrodinger lecture room. For those of you who, unlike me, haven’t spent the previous three years studying various aspects of physics, you might not know who this is, or maybe you’re just familiar with his name, or his cat… But this is an true idol in the world of physics and he was a cornerstone in the development of quantum mechanics. In 1943 he held three public lectures called “What Is Life?” at Trinity College, in the room that was renamed to the Schrodinger lecture room. Now future physicist gets to sit and learn about quantum mechanics and newly discovered physics that Schrodinger himself couldn’t imagine during his career.
I can also sit in the lecture theaters named after famous alumni, like the Jonathan Swift theater. I can walk along campus the very same routes that Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, did. Maybe I’m standing and looking confused in the same room, in the same way as the authors Oscar Wilde, Anne Enright or Pauline McLynn did.
Me, searching for inspiration
But finally, as pointed out so many times in the book, how could Harry have done anything on his own? He owe a lot to his friends.. Everything can’t always be fun, inspirational and energetic. Some days it simply sucks, no matter what you do. I believe that it’s those days that we are in most need of remembering the magic that is hidden in the environment at campus, and if it can’t provide the energy needed it might at least give you a great picture to post on instagram!
After all, the environment only succeeds if it has people attending and responding to it. The buildings may be there to contain and deliver the knowledge, but it’s all us students who fills it with power, by simply just being there and learning from each other, that’s where the true magic lies. And even though the Confundus charm never will work on a professor if you are late with an essay, I do believe that I still have more magic to explore around campus during my semester at Trinity College.
Visit www.tcd.ie/study for more information on studying at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin