After successfully surviving one year of college, and spending four long summer months considering how I am going to approach this year differently, there is so much that I aspire to be in the next year.
Studying law and a language presented huge challenges for me, both academically and socially, in my first year. I’m convinced that some of these hurdles will continue to block my path to success in the next few months.
This year, however, I aspire to make the most of my time in college before I head off on Erasmus next year, and with this in mind I have a few thoughts on how I can approach this year differently to the last. Here is what I have come up with.
It is a common cliché to say that joining more groups and making more friends will lead to a better college social life, but these things are clichés because they’re true. Clichés can be exhaustive and irrelevant to listen to, as our lives become littered with good karma phrases popping up on the walls of student spaces and on our Instagram feeds, but cynicism aside, the reality is that most clichés are, in fact, the truth.
Getting involved in college life, whether through societies, charity work, or going out, are all genuine essential elements that everyone should take advantage of at some point. For me, the realization that I didn’t enjoy getting messy on club dancefloors was something that I still struggle to accept, since a lot of the student population seem to live for the nightlife.
Outside of that scene, I want to get more involved with some societies. Societies are a good platform for making friends, and with nearly every hobby or interest represented by a group on campus, there’s no shortage of things to be involved in, from archery to alternative music, from photography to zoology. There is ample opportunity to make new friends, discover new interests and nourish older ones.
On a different note, with the updated gym facilities, I really have very little excuse not to exercise a bit more. The gym, with its startlingly white entrance and a spacious open floor housing new equipment, is a fantastic advantage we have as Trinity students. I am planning to start attending some new classes and making use of that free gym membership that all Trinity students have and pay for, but few use.
The Trinity Ball in April is one of the highlights of the academic year, with a huge number of attendees and an impressive standard and variety of acts. The night can be fantastic if you play your cards right, but my goal for this year’s ball season is to make sure I go with a solid group of friends that will stay with me for the majority of the night, and not just for prinks. Spending several hours attempting to find the original gang I arrived with was not an ideal way to enjoy last year’s ball.
It’s always hugely tempting to get a wholesome burrito from Mama’s Revenge, or pop to Chopped for a box of surprisingly tasty lettuce and vegetables, but it leaves me with 75% of my weekly capital invested into food. Learning to bring in pre-made lunches from home is another thing I strongly aspire to do this year.
Similarly, my discovery of the powers of caffeine last year subsequently drained that last quarter left in my bank account. It also left me wired, with an elevated heart rate, which didn’t help my pre-existing anxiety surrounding impending exams and essays. My transition to chai lattes soothed the withdrawal symptoms in part, yet still left my purse a bit lighter on my way home each day. This year I want to make caffeine-related drinks a treat for myself – nothing more – for the sake of my pocket and my health.
Still, I do recognize that coffee is a necessary social staple in some ways, and that purchasing it with a group of friends or peer mentors is something of a mandatory activity. Aspiring to make new friends is a goal I’ve always had, but maintaining friendships from the past is something I should aim more to do. The progression to college is a time of loss in some ways, but it is important to keep those friends from school. You never know when you might want to reminisce about when you didn’t have to deal with my.tcd.ie or look for accommodation.
For many of the students at home over the summer, the last few months have been spent waiting for September, for college to start again. I think that as this year kicks off, my aspirations are healthy and motivating to keep in mind, as I, along with the rest of the student population, try my best to improve myself and my attitude to college in the coming year.