Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! Xin Nian Kuai Le! As the Chinese New Year is here, the Chinese Society has started to prepare for it several weeks ago. As many of you have realized, the Spring Festival or better known as Chinese New Year is the most important festival among the Chinese culture. Traditionally, Chinese people will have family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve, and of course celebrate Spring Festival with loved ones. But lives are a bit different in Ireland. Due to the academic structure of Trinity College and the incoherence of the Lunar Calendar and New Calendar, Spring Festival was almost never landed on an academic holiday. Consequently, most Chinese international students can’t spend the meaningful festival back in homeland. As an international student from China as well as a student ambassador in the Global Room, I feel that the idea of celebrating the Chinese New Year is just great, especially for Chinese students far away from home. It can provide the opportunity for Chinese students in Trinity to get together and enjoy the traditional festival.

After few meetings with the Chinese Society Committee, we came out with the idea of live screening the popular Spring Festival Concert from China on Lunar New Year Eve, 30th January 2014. The show is a popular fixture for many families in China and for many Chinese people is to Chinese New Year what the Late Late Toy Show is to Christmas here in Ireland! With the perfect facilities in the Global Room, plus huge support from the Global Relation Officers, the committee has quickly come to the conclusion to host the event in the Global Room. Though not perfect, we tried our best to decorate the venue to bring up the Spring Festival atmosphere and shopped for the native snacks to make any Chinese student feel at home. Though the idea was mainly targeting Chinese students, everyone in the college was welcome. It would truly be another kind of experience for them to submerge in an event that’s so native to the Chinese. After all, I truly wish everyone a very happy new year in the Chinese way! 新年快乐!

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-Kuan, postgraduate student from China

 

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Discovering diversity in my student experience

Freshers

I started taking my engineering discipline last year. Despite all the information I received from the Trinity Access Program (TAP) in the Pre-University week, walking into the Campus on the first day, was like walking into the storm after having a cup of tea in the house. I didn’t know what I wanted to join, everyone want me in their society. Then the week ended as quickly as it began, and by then I had only joined two societies, which I couldn’t even go to because as the college work began, I felt like I had been thrown into a pressure cooker. Then as the year progressed I felt like all I did was lectures, labs, then I’d go home. I knew I was missing something; I was missing the campus life which I didn’t want to miss. It can be quite hard, as I live a little bit far from Dublin, and having to be in at 9am every day is also quite annoying. So I watched the clock tick every day until one day TAP called for volunteers to help students who are still in high school see what college life is like. I knew I wanted to help and by doing so I learned what else I could do in college, when I’m not busy with assignments.

One of the biggest things I learned was the value of diversity. I learned about individuality. This was different, as I was so used to being compared to other students in secondary school and the uniform made it all worse. Here I could wear what I like, eat what I like (Mom is not here) and even better, I began to learn how to be me. To improve the diversity of my experience, I began learning Chinese and French, both of which I’m still teaching myself slowly. Working in the Global Room has allowed me to go to some of the Chinese and French events, where I gained even more understanding of the Chinese and French cultures and traditions. In addition, I learned the importance of being me, so every day I wear my black jacket with the hoody on my head and walk around the college, cause that’s how I feel most comfortable. I also volunteered as a Student 2 Student mentor, which allows me to volunteer on my free time… So I suppose taking things slowly has been quite helpful too!

10 pieces of advice that you REALLY need to hear

They say practice makes perfect, but what do you exactly do in situations where you can neither practice nor need perfection? Come January and while the rest of the world is busy celebrating a new year, the entire population of graduating high school seniors (while they should be celebrating a new life that awaits them) are losing sleep over the fast approaching college admission deadlines and wondering if they are mature enough to make such life altering decisions when they still sing the alphabet to see what letter comes next. Let me tell you, all you clueless and not-so-clueless-but-still-equally-worried people, that you are amazing. You are unique and college life is the obvious next, and the best, step to your life and you shouldn’t lose sleep over something that should come naturally to you. There are however some things that you should do:

  1. Start Early: College may not seem an immediate idea but it is an important one. Start early! Create a spreadsheet of all your requirements and get down to one goal per week. Maybe you need a letter of recommendation from your teachers or coaches. Such things are not best left to the last minute, so try doing such things early on!
  2. Research: Throw away your preconceived notions and the problems that come with them at least for a brief while and research. And by research I mean really really research. Read up all that you possibly can. The web is full of resources to help you if only you try. The motive of this exercise is to choose courses and colleges that interest you. (Also look at point 6.) You should ideally make up a list of colleges that you think will be an ideal ‘fit’ for you. Try asking yourself if you would be okay living in another city. Maybe you can move to another country. Maybe there are country specific scholarships in prestigious colleges for courses that you want to do. You’ll never know unless you research.
  3. Talk to seniors: People who have been through the same thing as you are currently going through can not only be a great source of inspiration to keep you motivated, but also provide fresh perspectives on issues that probably didn’t even occur to you. Talk to them!
  4. Talk to teachers: people who have taught you know your potential well. They wish only the best for you and often have more access to information. Opening up to your teachers will help you better get in touch with your goals and chart a clear path to how you should go on to achieve that! Pro tip: Colleges you apply to should be grouped into 3 main categories: Target, Reach and Safety schools. Teachers can really help you select colleges for each category!
  5. College admission essays: arguably the most important part of your admission process, the admission essay is your voice. It tells the admission officers what cannot be read off your resume. It tells them what you as a person can offer to the college. It is probably the only chance you have to tell your story so make it count. Be engaging, introspective and intelligent. Be individualistic and tell them why you would fit in perfectly with their college’s culture. Avoid the 4D’s while writing essays though: Drugs, Divorce, Death and Depression. You might think writing on such topics would make you seem deep but in all honesty, it doesn’t. Also do not talk about something that happened to someone you know. It is about yourself!
  6. Introspection: College is a time when you reinvent yourself. You will discover things you love during this journey and the only way you can make most of it is if you realise what really matters to you. You might want to go to a school with a great drama program and a great science program and that’s perfectly alright! Think now and you’ll love yourself for the journey you have that awaits you.
  7. Keep your grades up! I know about how senioritis can overtake your entire life but staying focused on school is more important than ever. Slagging off and attending each party might seem like fun (probably even is) but believe in delayed gratitude. Trust me it’s worth it!
  8. Proofread but don’t over read: I can understand how your parents and siblings might want to go over your essays but please do not let them take over. It’s your voice not theirs. Do proofread everything, especially if you’re recycling essays (a friend of mine told Yale how Dartmouth was the perfect fit for her, obviously didn’t end too well) but do not let them alter your voice in any way.
  9. Realize that the best part of your life is yet to come and while it is okay to be overwhelmed by everything at this stage, everything is going to be fine. Don’t panic!
  10. Eat as much home cooked food as you possibly can, while you’re at it. You’re definitely going to miss it next year.

Rajsi Rana is a first year Computer Science and Business student at Trinity College Dublin. Originally hailing from India, Rajsi loves the Beatles and fairy tales, believes that code is poetry and represents Trinity as an ambassador with Enterprise Ireland. She is also a highly successful blogger on Quora. 

New friends, old traditions on a weekend away

“April is the cruelest of all months” – T. S. Eliot

I agree whole-heartedly with this quote, however I believe January is a very close second. As I write this, it is statistically the most depressing day of the year. The third Monday of the year is far enough away from Christmas and New Years that the spirit has been drained, New Years resolutions have fallen to pieces, people are still stripped of cash from Christmas and of course, it is a Monday. In spite of all this I am simply “buzzing” today as I have just returned from the infamous INSMOT weekend organized by Trinity VDP.

Inspirational and Motivational is what INSMOT stands for but you may also have to include the words Mighty Craic into the title. The weekend was designed to “inspire and motivate” the members of charitable society, Trinity VDP, for the year to come. On Friday night people went to SVP’s Kerdiffstown House in Johnstown, Kildare.

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The evening began with a number of icebreaker games in the “Chapel/Bar” involving moving on chairs and a table quiz with special bonus rounds including “first person to bring me a can from my room” and “swap clothes with the person beside you” (Jeans and a shirt, I was never going to win against the people wearing onesies). The night continued on with dancing in the chapel, singing songs by the piano, playing mini-golf at midnight and running around the hallways.

The next morning we begin the workshops designed to, of course, inspire and motivate. By the end of the day everyone in the room felt ready to take on the world, instead however, we just repeated what we did the night before with a twist. Instead of icebreakers and table quizzes we played the greatest game known to man. Telephone Charades. A mash-up of classic group games ‘Telephone’ and Charades, the game involves two teams. One team is taken outside and called in one by one. The first person has to act out a story to their teammate without words, only for them to continue the story to the next person to enter the room all while the other team watches. The game quickly forgets the actual story and turns into something very… enjoyable.

This is my fourth and possible final year going and I hope everyone gets to experience the magic of Kerdiffstown House at least once. The most amazing thing about it is you can go down not knowing anybody, as I did in my first year, and come back with 70 new friends, as Trinity VDP welcomes all.

Dublin Film Festival!

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Tickets went on sale today for one of the coolest events of the year–the Dublin International Film Festival. Held in several cinemas around Dublin city centre, the film festival has a great blend of international, Irish, independent and big-budget films. There’s definitely something for everyone and it’s a great opportunity to see films that might not make it to theatres otherwise. This year, the opening film is an Irish one starring Brendan Gleeson and tickets to the screening sold out in minutes!

The best part about the film festival is how accessible it is. Some shows sell out, but many don’t, so you can rock up to the box office on the day of a screening and get a ticket. Also, anyone can go online when the schedule is released to buy tickets, so it’s a really inclusive festival–no velvet ropes here! If you’re interested in film, the two weeks of the film festival are definitely two of the best weeks of the year.

Where to catch a film in Dublin

A great way to spend an evening (especially if it’s raining outside!), Dublin has some great cinemas to suit all tastes:

  1. The Irish Film Institute: A great Irish institution situated in the heart of Temple Bar that boasts an on-site restaurant where you can catch a bite to eat or a glass of wine before the movie starts. Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 www.ifi.ie/
  2. The Light House Cinema: Located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Smithfield, The Light House reopened in 2012 and is a little-known gem showing independent films. Market Square, Smithfield, Dublin 7, www.lighthousecinema.ie
  3. The Savoy: Where to go if you want to catch the current big block buster film in a central location. O’Connell Street, www.savoy.ie/.
  4. Cineworld: Another big cinema in a central location, they offer foreign language films. If you’re a regular visitor to the cinema it may be worth investing in their unlimited movies card, which costs €20.90 a month for a 12 month subscription. Parnell Centre, Parnell Street, Dublin 1 www.cineworld.ie
  5. The Screen Cinema: Just across the road from Trinity, Screen offers a mix of big name films and quiet indies. A great place to escape to during exam time! www.screencinema.ie 

Guest Blog: Ireland in 5 essential tips

When embarking on an adventure in the Emerald Isle, it helps to be fully equipped with the “must-knows” of the country. Nobody wants to be stuck in an awkward situation due to a misunderstanding – may it be yours,or someone else’s. So, I’m going to share with you five tips about living in Ireland that I’ve learned during my time here.

1. “Grand”

The Irish have a very useful and multipurpose word – grand. This word can be used in almost every imaginable situation! Some examples to illustrate my point: A: How’re you doing? B: I’m grand; A: What’s the weather like? B: ‘Tis grand sure; A: Would you like to eat some healthy vegetables? B: No,you’re grand; A: I’m going to fail my exam tomorrow! B: Ah, you’ll be grand. These examples are of course, not exhaustive. So, if you’re ever asked a question that you can’t answer, the word “grand” might save your skin.

2. Like, like, like…

Many Irish people have the word “like” deeply embedded within their conversations. This word is just part of the slang as a sort of sentence filler, as far as I can see! In their opinion, it completes their sentences. For instance, “whatever, like d’you get what I mean, like?, I don’t know like, and what are you talking about like?

3. Telling the time

Learning some shortcuts is essential here when it comes to telling the time. This was one of the struggles I first faced when I arrived, I didn’t understand how the time was read! In Ireland, 5:30 is half five or half past five, 5:15 is a quarter past five, 4:45 is a quarter to five, 4:55 is five to five and so on and so on! However,it is very common for people to assume that you know what the hour is and totally omit the word “five” altogether. So often you’ll just be told “quarter past” or “quarter to” when you ask someone the time!

4. Slang words

In every culture,there are new created words that sum up many different situations. The Irish are no exception to the rule. Here is a little list of some of the most common:

Craic: Lots of fun

Banter: Exchange of sarcasm and wit

Shift or meet: French kissing or making out

Fair play: An expression to say well done, and an acknowledgement of effort

Happy out: Filled with happiness

Sound (person): Good (person)

Genie Mack: Oh my gosh!

And my personal favourite, I’ll be there in 2 minutes: I’ll be there in 20 minutes (this may be better or worse in different situations!)

5. Penney’s finest!

Shopping is always great when in a new country. However,the exchange of smaller currencies to the euro might cause your funds to dwindle a little. The solution? Pennys! It’s a department store available throughout Ireland which sells clothes, accessories and more for a very reasonable price. The merchandise available at Penneys never fails to impress in terms of style. So don’t be surprised if you hear this A: “oh that’s such a lovely dress, where did you get it? B: “Penneys’ finest sure!”

I have many more tips to share with you but these are a few for now. I hope you enjoyed them! All tips were done in good humour. Don’t worry if you can’t remember all of them, you’ll be grand!

Audrey Chew Ernern is a first year undergraduate student. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart. Audrey is a Student Ambassador for Education in Ireland,representing Trinity College Dublin.