As Christmas approaches, so too do Trinity’s deadlines. This week we ask where you prefer to study, as always comment below with you own perspective!
Freshers’ Week is here! Offers have been accepted and students across Ireland have started preparing for university. Forms will have to be signed and returned, accommodation organised, there’ll be multiple trips to Ikea and basic cooking skills will need to be revised (edit: learned). Having just graduated I feel should be able to give some insight into how to prepare for your arrival at, or return to, Trinity. So here it goes!
- Do your research. Join the Facebook pages – all of them. And the Twitter feeds, follow them too! Do what you can to stay informed about what will be happening on campus and keep up to date with tips and advice for incoming students. See if there are any societies or sports clubs you might be interested in joining and follow them on their social media, looking out for any activities or events they may have organised for the week. You don’t want to miss out!
- Join the societies and sports clubs during Freshers’ Week – and then go to their events and meetings! So many people join as many groups as possible during Freshers’ Week and then never go to anything. Yes, you might feel slightly overwhelmed by your new student lifestyle. I get it, I do, I understand. But do it anyway and try something new. Throwing yourself in the deep end now makes it so much easier to acclimatise and feel comfortable at your new university.
- Go to all your scheduled tours and meetings. Yes, I know a library tour isn’t the most exciting place to be when there’s a sumo fight happening on the Physics Lawn or free crepes in the GNB but please, go to the tours. Knowing how to research, find and then take-out a book from the warren-like BLU complex will be one last thing you have to think about during your first week of lectures. Same goes for the tour of the Sports Complex. Knowing how to work the machines, find the swimming pool and schedule a place with a fitness class will be invaluable information when four months later you’ve discovered that yes, the Freshman Fifteen is in fact a real thing and yes, you are that Freshman.
- Pace yourself. I would say be careful with your budget but let’s not be unreasonable, I’m yet to hear of someone who has managed that during Freshers’ Week. But I will say pace yourself. If you don’t feel up for your 6th night out in a row, then don’t go. Don’t push yourself into a situation if you’re not sure you can handle it. Not going out doesn’t mean you have to spend the night stuck in your apartment. Societies host multiple evening events ranging from movie nights, to cook-offs, to karaoke, there is something for everyone. Don’t restrict yourself to the ‘Ultimate Student Experience’ that everyone is supposed to have because honestly, everyone’s experience is different. Do what feels right for you.
- Just enjoy it. Freshers’ Week is the first week of your college life. It’s the beginning of something new and although you might be homesick or uncertain about finding your place here I promise you that it’ll work itself out in the end. Take advantage of the experience and make the most of it. There’ll be other Freshers’ Weeks to enjoy but you’ll only be a true Fresher once!
Aoife is a former Student Ambassador and current intern with the Global Relations Office.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Finding student accommodation in Dublin has become pretty tough, and for a lot of people living close to college just isn’t an option. This year will see a large number of Irish students commute to university and what I want to tell you today is that it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it can be a hassle and yes, you probably will develop a slight coffee addiction. But commuting will not reduce your college experience. You can still be a *cough* dedicated student and have a busy social life all while commuting. You just need to be organised and follow these tips:
Join a society. One of the biggest concerns commuter students have is that not being based in Dublin city centre will make it more difficult for them to make friends and really feel part of the college community. Joining a society not only introduces you to a large group of people that all share a similar interest but a lot of society events are also held during the day so you can get involved without having to wait for the late-night bus home.
Get a light laptop. If you’ve yet to buy a laptop for university, I’d advise you to buy one that is light and easy to carry. Not only is it necessary for keeping up to date with lectures, assignments and additional online resources but it also reduces the amount of folders or notebooks you’ll need to carry around. The Asus Transformer Book T100 is a relatively cheap and light option.
Get a locker. Trinity offers students the option of renting a locker for the year and I cannot stress enough how useful they are to the college commuter. They’re priced at €40: €20 cost with a €20 deposit that will be returned once the locker key is returned at the end of the year. However, lockers sell out fast so be sure to get there early* on the morning they’re offered. They generally go on sale in the Arts Block during the first week of term so keep an eye out for posters telling you when and where to go.
*When I say early I mean really early. I’ve known people who’ve begun queuing at 6:30am. If you’re an Arts Block student you don’t want to arrive late and end up with a locker in the Lloyd Institute. It’ll be too far away to be of any use. Make the effort to get there early and reward yourself with a breakfast from Lemon afterwards. After you’ve secured it you can pack it full with the rest of your essentials.
Invest in a good thermos or travel mug. Make your early morning bus a bit more bearable with a hot drink to wake you up (or to help you to fall asleep again). Keeping a few coffee sachets or tea bags in your locker will also help cut down on the cost of paying for coffees on-the-go. Hot water from the campus cafés costs 70c, that’s about 60c cheaper than your average coffee order. For a student those 60c savings will add up fast. Keep a box of cereal bars in there too. As a money-conscious student you’re probably going to bring a packed lunch with you (pack lunch the night before, nobody should sacrifice those extra few minutes in bed for a couple of sandwiches) but having a back-up snack for unexpectedly long or tiring days will definitely come in handy at some point.
Keep your books and folders in your locker, rather than at home. This will also help ensure you get your work done in the library and avoid having to drag them home with you. After a long day at university, with an added commute, you’ll have little motivation to study once you get home. Get into the habit of studying in the library, doing some reading during your commute and keep your time at home for relaxing.
Pack an ‘emergency’ bag. Avoid missing out on last minute class nights out by having a bag with a standard pub/club outfit, a travel-sized kit of bathroom necessities and some extra clothes to wear the next day. You’ll also need a kind friend to offer a couch to sleep on, but that shouldn’t be too hard to find! (And if you’re really organised you could also store your gym bag there and take advantage of Trinity’s state of the art Sports Centre during long gaps in your day.)
Have I missed out on anything? What would be your commuting essentials?
Aoife is a recent Trinity graduate and intern with the Global Relations Office. She spent her third year abroad in Paris and is dedicated to making sure international students feel at home.
When you first come into the Trinity campus there’s so much activity packed into a relatively small patch of land that it can seem a bit daunting. But to those in the know it can quickly become an oasis in the heart of the city, full of countless nooks, crannies and quiet spaces. Beneath Trinity’s ancient exterior is a 47 acre campus replete with cosy corners that’ll soon make you feel right at home. Here are some of my favourite and most underappreciated reading spots on campus:
The Benches on the Southside of the Cricket Pitch
Most people head straight for the benches near the walkway on the cricket pitch or else to the Pav (as you can see above), but on the Southside of the pitch there are some benches right in front of the medieval fort wall. An out-of-the way spot for anyone not specifically looking for it, it gives a fantastic view of the BLU Libraries, the College Park and all the bustle beyond. I first discovered this spot while trying to speed read Elizabeth Gaskell’s mammoth North and South before my very first tutorial, so it holds fond memories of my first panicked (yet excited) week in Trinity.
The Rose Garden
Connecting the Cricket Pitch to New Square alongside the gorgeous Museum Building, the Rose Garden is a little rest stop on the well-worn College pathways (best enjoyed in spring weather when the eponymous flowers are in full bloom!) Often used in the summer for Shakespeare performances by the DU Players, Trinity’s drama troupe; it is the quintessential hidden grove in the middle of the campus, and is the perfect reading spot for a sunny day.
While not as popular as the coveted upper level desks in the Ussher Library, the basement reading areas do benefit from seclusion and a lack of tantalizing views of College Park, where more efficient (or less diligent) students may by lounging, having already finished their study. Tucked deep in the catacombs of the building, it’s easy to forget about the pressures of our modern, fast-paced digital lifestyle and lose yourself in your favourite adventure novel. Several of College’s most comfortable couches are situated in the Ussher Basement, and their status as prime napping real estate makes this reading spot one of the most leisurely you’ll find.
Junior Common Room Café
Just outside the main campus in the Goldsmith Building is the JCR Café, Trinity’s student run co-op. The JCR is your typical bohemian, laid back College hang-out spot. With cheap and generously portioned sandwiches, funky decor and a playlist based on interests (and often the actual musical styling) of the student staff, it is the perfect play to kick back with a dog-eared book and kill time between class. At the back of the JCR is The Parlour, a space set aside for student mindfulness and relaxation, comfortably away from the bustle of the main campus classrooms.
The Fifth Floor Garden in the Arts Block
Surely one of the most poignant architectural flourishes in the eclectic architecture of the Arts Block is the fifth floor garden. Nestled within the austere warrens high above the arts concourse is a small outside area, walled on all sides by offices and rooms of mysterious purpose. Here you can slip outside to the benches for a breath of fresh air in the middle of your day, far away from where anyone might expect to find you. With nothing but blue skies above, it’s one of the most serene spots on campus.
The Best Hidden Spot On Campus
Your favourite spot on campus will always be the one you find yourself! One of the great pleasures of being a student at Trinity is exploring and engaging with your College, finding your own routes and cosy corners no one else knows about. And when you do, don’t tell anyone about it, shush! Just make sure you bring a good book with you, as you may be there a while.
Joel McKeever was a Student Ambassador in the Trinity Global Room.
Making the transition from school to college can be tough. With no teachers and parents nagging you to get work done, all your studying has to be self-motivated. When I was in my first year, the lack of structure meant I put off readings to the last minute and assignments seemed to creep up on me from nowhere. A few years on my attitude to studying is far more strategic. I don’t want to miss out on seeing my friends and having fun with societies to stay in and do my readings, so I’ve found that the best way to do everything and not fall behind is the plan out my work and remain organised. Here are some techniques I use to make sure I don’t fall behind:
When I write down my lecture timetable for each semester I also schedule in specific weekly time-slots to prepare for each module. Often these need to be altered depending on how difficult I find a class, but having a pre-set time each week where I focus on a specific topic ensures that I don’t leave things to the last minute or forget about readings.
Having a study space:
I do as much of my college work as I can in the library where it is easy to concentrate and there are plenty of resources available to consult. If I have to take work home I never work in my bedroom so that I have a sanctuary to escape to at the end of the day. By separating places where I study from places where I relax I’ve found it much easier not to get distracted and procrastinate.
Plan in advance:
Each semester’s weekly readings, classes and deadlines are written into my diary in advance, this way it is easy to look ahead and check how much longer I have to finish an essay or complete a reading. It’s way easier to organise your work at the start of term instead of halfway through.
Preparing for a lecture can be useful for understanding the points raised, but preparing for tutorials is vital. Tutorials and seminars give you the opportunity to clarify anything you don’t understand and discuss your opinions on a topic, and if you haven’t done the reading it’s kind of hard to do either.
Know your department:
Make sure you know who to contact in your department if you have a question or a request. If you need an extension, it’s better to already know who to contact so you don’t waste time speaking to the wrong person. Keeping in contact with your tutor can also be helpful so that they already know you if you need their advice or assistance.
Make use of the college support systems:
SLD (Student Learning and Development) can be a useful resource if you want to learn how to improve your learning techniques; whilst S2S and Student Counselling have great services and workshops if you are stressed and need someone to talk to.
Still have a life:
Doing well academically is one aspect to college, but it’s certainly not the only one. At university you have the chance to become friends with people you would never otherwise meet. You can take the opportunity to try out a new club or a sport you’ve never even heard of and discover a passion you never knew you had. As a student you combine the freedom and independence of being an adult, with the carefree attitude of not yet being ‘grown up’. I know that when I graduate I want the right grade to be on my degree, but I’m certain that my memories of college will extend far beyond the time I spent studying in the library.
Love it or hate it, for most Arts students (like myself) the Berkeley-Lecky-Ussher library complex (or BLU) can sometimes feel like the center of college. The first time you enter the library it feels like a confusing maze of bookshelves and desks, and after a few visits you’ll realize you’ve barely scratched the surface. Put simply, in spite of the fact that most of the books available are in storage, as Ireland’s largest research library, Trinity’s library complex is huge. So here are insider tips on the BLU.
- If you can think of a book then the library has it
As a legal deposit library, Trinity is entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland (and I mean every book). From Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’ to ‘Dora the explorer: ultimate sticker book’, we’ve got it all (including three copies of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, although don’t expect not to get some raised eyebrows if you check one out).
- Berkeley’s law
Not exactly a real rule, but “Berkeley’s Law” states that you will only run into people you know in the library when one or both of you is on a tight deadline and really can’t chat (usually just on your way to the infamously solemn Berkeley study space).
- The best desks are in the furthest places
The first desks to fill up are usually the most accessible; if you think there isn’t any space try going up or down a few floors, or to an obscure section, and you’re likely to find more room.
- Don’t leave your stuff over lunch
This issue has divided the college; with some saying that ‘saving’ a desk to use later is the privilege of arriving early to the library, and others arguing that this is a selfish way of hogging a desk without using it. Either way the librarians can fine you or claim your stuff, so maybe it’s better just to find a new study spot after lunch?
- Early Printed Books
Through a side door, down a winding passage and up in a little lift you’ll find the Early Printed Books room where you can read manuscripts published hundreds of years ago, some with ancient annotations by unknown scholars.
- Excessive PDAs will end on up the internet
When students are bored studying in the library and they see a couple all over each other, it is only going to be a few minutes before that picture ends up on Facebook with an appropriately disparaging comment (you have been warned!)
- Leave plenty of time to get out
Because there are only two exits in this vast library, packing up your stuff and going to class can take significantly longer than you would think, so leave plenty of time (particularly if you’ve been studying in a far-off corner!)
Making too much noise in the library, or having a phone that goes off, can lead to a fine from one of the librarians (something which they make a point of enforcing during exam season), however there are marked areas where you can now use your phone to make calls.
- Don’t forget the DVDs
As well as millions of books and online journals, Trinity also has quite a good DVD collection. Although it is intended for Film and Drama students, you can often find a good movie there to take out for free.
10. Each library is different
Obviously they each contain different collections of books, but what really distinguishes the three libraries in the complex are their atmospheres. The many windows and relaxed atmosphere of the Lecky makes it a sociable study space. The red carpets and basement sofas of the Ussher make it a great quiet spot for getting your reading done and working at your own pace. But if you’re on a deadline then the only place is the Berkeley; where you can cut the tension with a knife as rows of students churn out their last-minute essays and cram information into their brains before their exams.