Diary of a Fresher

As they recover from last night’s Freshers’ Ball, our writers learn that after a week of introduction, they have become hardy student party-goers

Thursday 22 September

Étáin Sweeney,  Junior Freshman Law and Political Science:

Thursday was kicked off by the infamous ‘Fresher’s Flu’ pestering my sleepy head in the early hours of the morning. Not a sound resonated through the Halls courtyard, save for the occasional pitter patter of disorientated heels clumsily dashing from house to house. I left late, really late, as I side-stepped the enigmatic shoe propping the apartment door open and descended on Temple Road.  

I was sweaty and sick, but glittery, when I arrived. A reading list was distributed and in full Fresher fashion, I raced like Shergar to the Berkeley Library. There were people both disinterested and perturbed by the overwhelming presence of Freshers and eventually, we all felt self-conscious and left. I hit the Law School next and won my tutor over with my glitter-struck cheekbones and preliminary question about missing lectures (I made quite the first impression.)  

Another uncomfortably intimate Luas journey later brought me to a Scéim meeting (‘shhcame’, if you will.) I then received an invite in French to play pool in the GMB. I do not speak French. Being from a county that holds but one set of traffic lights Dublin Bus can be a staggering experience. I saw approximately twenty traffic lights in one journey and it was magical. The night was spent in good company, heckling pool players, engaging in intense political debate at Club Philth and teaching Russian students cúpla focal.

A large Supermacs meal was ordered, I saw two Cavan natives spend more than €5 (not as impressive as the traffic lights though, I mean red, amber and green!) and debated Greek mythology with a Corkman who had the eloquent articulation of Audrey Hepburn in ‘My Fair Lady’. It was a day of persistent coughing, enchanting traffic control devices and debauchery. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Cathal Byrne, Junior Freshman English Literature and History:

So, I have made it to Thursday, and the nervous anticipation and uncertainty of earlier in Freshers’ Week was largely gone. In its place, as I awoke this morning, was a more assured excitement and a sense of many possibilities. Chief among these possibilities on this particular morning was that of a lie-in, as for the first time this week my morning schedule was clear.

Having been lectured several times this week on the importance of making the most of the possibilities of college life, I of course seized this opportunity with both hands. When I eventually climbed out of bed it was to board the bus, which brought me right from my house in Celbridge, Co Kildare to the gate of the Arts Block. Speaking to other students over the course of this week, many of whom have either moved out of home or are trekking from far and wide each day, has really helped me appreciate my luck in living in a place from which Trinity is so easily accessible.

Arriving into town I found that I had time to spare. I decided to take advantage of Trinity’s central location, taking a stroll through the city centre and checking some of the many bookshops with my (ever so slightly daunting) reading lists in mind. Having had no great success in that regard, but nonetheless having enjoyed the walk, I returned to the campus.

With the formalities of Freshers’ Week, such as the orientation meetings and talks, having been completed earlier in the week, my day centred on a society event, the public game hosted by the Ultimate Frisbee Club. This was my first experience of playing the sport and everybody was so welcoming and helpful that I know I’ll certainly be back.

Through this event and others over the week, I have really been shown the value and importance of clubs and societies in college life, especially for incoming first year students. They really are the best way to get to know people from across the college and to start to feel at home.

When the frisbee matches had drawn to a close, another milestone in my week took place: my first visit to the Pav (no, I have no idea how it took me until Thursday either). Relaxing and chatting on the cricket pitch in the warm sun was a perfect end to an excellent day.  

Rory Gallagher , Junior Freshman English Studies:

Today was the fourth day of my new life as a student in Trinity College. I woke up this morning with three questions buzzing around my head: Why was there glitter all over me, why did my throat feel like the Sahara, and what on earth did I do last night? This pretty much sums up Freshers’ Week, when going out and raving night after night is the norm.

Suffice to say, for a quiet boy from the back end of Cavan, it has been quite an adjustment.  I decided to take somewhat of a reprieve today by not going clubbing and instead just chilled around campus. I left Trinity Halls around 11AM and grabbed the bus into the city. My orientation for English Studies was effectively finished already, but I still had societies to join and things to do.

Surprisingly, the societies’ stalls were still a hive of activity this late in the week. I joined Cumann Gaelach, a society which promotes the Irish language, along with The Phil, the world’s oldest student society. I loved how all the students working at the stalls were so kind and enthusiastic, as it really did make me feel at home in the college. Also, I did not turn up my nose at all the free loot I got. I  genuinely never need to buy stationery or condoms again.

I gained a true appreciation for the Trinity College facilities today. I pulled out my phone at one point and disaster had struck: I was at 1%. Luckily, I wandered around the Arts Building  until I found some Senior Freshman students reading at a desk, who gladly let me join them and plug into the wall. I opened a book and pretended to be reading one of my course texts, but in actuality, I was just waiting for Snapchat to become usable again.

Later I met with my S2S mentors on my English course for a picnic. We grabbed something to eat (you can’t beat a roll from Spar) and headed the St. Stephen’s Green. There we lounged in the sun and chatted about all sorts, mostly Electric Picnic and books. I thought it was really considerate of them to meet up with us Junior Freshers, especially while we are still getting to grips with college life. That said, the seagulls in that park were seriously massive and aggressive, I’d rather not have to encounter them again any time soon.

In the evening, I decided to go back to Halls. I made some rather mediocre pasta, crawled into bed and caught up with some shows on Netflix. Now I am writing this article, trying not to fall asleep and wondering if college will always be this exhausting. Nothing more than the life of a typical student I suppose.

Alice Forbes, Junior Freshman English and Spanish:

I awoke at an impressively early time of eleven o’clock, a shaky, hungover, glittery mess. This Thursday morning marked my sixth consecutive day of waking up to a sore head, a sick feeling in my stomach and the taste of cheap Aldi vodka (paint-stripper) in my mouth. At this point, it was no longer funny. Fully convinced that I had reached the stage of my blood being ninety nine percent alcohol, and not at all feeling up for another day of staggering around Trinity campus in a dazed and disorientated state, I stayed, surely dying, in bed for another hour or so, before harshly reminding myself that I had previously vowed to push myself into making the most out of Freshers’ Week and all the events being offered to me.

I paid a quick visit to The Hist’s much anticipated puppy room, and admittedly, stroking and cuddling a bundle of soft and excited dogs did improve my mood and lessen my recurring desire to break down in tears due to my entire body being in agony.

I exited Trinity campus afterwards, keeping my head down and my eyes fixed on the cobblestones while walking through Front Square, as I absolutely can not under any circumstances afford to spend any more money on joining societies, and spent some time wandering around the city. Coming from a small town in the west of Ireland, I love the excitement and buzz that places like Grafton Street and Temple Bar have to offer. Even with a hangover, I still look up at the city wide-eyed and in awe.

Despite being physically and mentally exhausted, I forced myself to attend The Phil’s comedy debate, “This house would rather get the ride than a first”, and I was certainly glad that I did. All of the speakers were brilliantly confident and hilarious and the glamour and sheer scale of the event itself was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

I am enjoying meeting all kinds of weird and wonderful people this week, from every type of background you can imagine. Although Freshers’ Week has me feeling incredibly small and overwhelmed, simultaneously, I am so crazily delighted and excited to be part of such an incredible community.