I have recently discovered that I am extraordinarily talented at missing trains. My new-found hobby left me sitting on the cold floor of Carlow train station on the last day of Freshers’ Week, hoping to make it back to Dublin for what the night had in store. While I sat, I calculated roughly how much cash I had spent in the last seven days. Marvellously out of pocket, I wished I had been offered a bottomless bank account by one of those pink-jumpered Bank of Ireland minions that I had systematically ignored all week. My drawer full of free burrito vouchers would have to compensate for my empty purse.
I can’t say that Freshers’ Week lived up to my expectations, mostly because I had none. When I was a first year, my relationship with alcohol was extremely underdeveloped. I knew nothing about the idiosyncrasies of Trinity College, and remember very little of whatever it was “Finn Ents” of 2014 had organised.
Thankfully, I ate far less pizza this time around. I spent less time propped up by a limp elbow by the toilet, and actually made it to Front Square every day. I like to think I gave this year a good shot. Halls is home for me once again, meaning that the first day of Trinity Freshers’ Week was the fourth day of mine. By Monday, I was running on Diet Coke and SU goodie bag tuna sachets. I somehow mustered up some stamina for the evening. By 5.30am I was finally back in bed, comforted by the remnants of ‘90s Jay Z ringing in my ears and excited for the days to come.
I wandered into the society fair the next day, joining only one society, yet bumping into countless friends. Seemingly, the fair is as much for socialising as it is for recruiting. Amidst the vultures searching for free food, the red S2S balloons and a pink beanie, I spotted eager first years mid-sign-up being unintentionally ignored while the cashier chatted to their friend who had wandered over from another stall. And aren’t the society cards made of some strange material this year?
I stretched to joining a few more societies by Friday morning. I have learned that €3 goes a lot further in Aldi than my participation might go in random society X.
Tuesday’s event left me somewhat disappointed. I think I may skip the Freshers’ Ball from now on. Over the anticlimactic course of the evening, I witnessed an ill-informed fresher in a debs dress and enough shifting to start an epidemic. By Wednesday, I needed a break. Feeling oh-so-wise about my decision to experience the cultural side of Freshers’ Week, I sensed an air of sophistication hanging over the workshops and day activities. In delicious juxtaposition, I later ordered a 3-in-1 and stayed in.
This left me with the obvious obligation to venture out again on Thursday. The pale pink band of commitment on my wrist taunted me, as it did many of my friends. I ended up in Grand Social, though I felt neither the former nor the latter. Surprisingly, as I sat in McDonalds at 3.45am, I couldn’t help but think of how jealous the stumbling drunk foals fresh out of DTwo would have been had they known how great my night was.
Club Philth was exactly what many of its attendees needed that night: laid-back, relaxed, and void of the repetitive house music that had characterised the week thus far. Although I thought I might have had enough of the notable maroon presence of the Phil during Freshers’ Week, the night proved a memorable way to begin winding down. I couldn’t help but smile at the smell of gasoline lingering in my hair from the fire acts.
I have been told before that Freshers’ Week leaves you a shell of your former self, with a thumping headache, spending your last few coppers on cartons of orange juice. Although at times, I found this to be true, other aspects of the week left me fulfilled and contented. I caught up with friends, made new ones, had my opinion changed on some societies; I was pleasantly exhausted. I find it such a pity that the freshers, this hardcore week’s target audience, often don’t know how to “do” it properly. The wonder of TCD Freshers’ Week is that it really does paint Trinity in all its beauty – if even just for a while, you’re sober enough to see it.