Kieran McNulty: Advice for my younger self

Transition Year student Alex Varley quizzes TCDSU President Kieran McNulty on everything from his pet peeves to bad college food


What happens when a Transition Year work experience student is given free reign to interview Student Union President Kieran McNulty? Think Desert Island Discs meets the last page of the Sunday Times magazine.

Q: What’s your standard morning routine?

“Breakfast, listening to something while relaxing in the shower generally Frank Ocean and yeah, checking my emails to see what the priority of the day is and the to-do list and then yeah traipsing in here.”

Q: What type of music do you listen to?

“I have a very general music taste, I suppose I do like Frank Ocean, Beyonce, I’m an annoyingly avid Coldplay fan. Most things really.”

Q: What are your ‘pet peeves’?

“Rushing in the morning that would be a bad one. What else? Oh, not listening.”

Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures?

“Yeah, there are far too many TV shows really that are embarrassing, probably ice-cream, like Ben and Jerry’s and the TV show ‘The Mindy Project.’  It’s terrible but great.”

Q: What advice would you give to a younger you?

“Calm down. Like take time for yourself, don’t rush into every single thing in college.”

Q: Which celebrity would you want to be stranded on an island with?

“I can’t say Frank Ocean again. Em, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Yeah he’d tell you stories, or J.K Rowling.”

Q: What advice would you give to students preparing for the Leaving Cert as well as researching courses?

“Ask people who have done the courses. I know it’s a bit more difficult. And don’t feel content with what your career advisor is saying is maybe an acceptable route, it’s a big decision and you may as well aim for the stars, there’s a lot of pressure with the Leaving Cert and it’s kind of an associated pressure, not one that you put on yourself so just ask around and be informed on what the course actually is. There’s only so much you can get from a brochure.”

Q: What is your favourite aspect of college life?

“There’s a lot going on, there’s what 150 college societies, the SU have about 5 or 6 events a week and there’s a lot that will keep people working.

Q: If you could be exceptionally good at any one thing, what would it be?

“Writing books”

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and who was it from?

“My Grandad actually told me just to keep doing the things that I love.”

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of college life?

McNulty during last years elections

“Some people find that the independence sort of thing and there is some of that. I would say for somebody who is excited to go to college and do everything, there’s not a huge amount of rush like for most courses you’re in for four years. I think that kind of feeling that you’re meant to be someone in college, is kind of overwhelming because you don’t have to be. It’s tough, I suppose the toughest thing is knowing like third level is this great opportunity but you’re only one person, you can only do so much.”

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words.

“Emm.. dedicated, silly and trying.”

Q: Do you watch television and if so what do you recommend?

“Yes! Westworld was brilliant, the Crown was quite good. Happy Valley, that show on BBC was great.”

Q: Are you exceptionally bad at anything?

“Yes, most hand- eye coordination things. I can’t cut with scissors, or paint or colour within the lines.”

Q: Why would you recommend Trinity as an university?

“I think there’s an atmosphere in Trinity that you really don’t see anywhere else. There’s so much to do and there’s a lot of people who will help you do it and achieve your aims. There’s like this wide open expanse to change things, you can run a campaign, be involved in a society or do really well academically. I think there’s a lot of possibilities and that’s why I’d recommend it.

Q: Is college food really as bad as it is thought to be and if so, how many Pot Noodles do you go through a week?

“Em, I don’t go through pot noodles so much any more, I was always like rice and peppers or onions with some sort of chicken and sauce. College food, it depends. There’s a good few lunch deals but there’s only so many burritos you can go through in a week. I’d say have a variety, there’s so many types of college food.”

Q: Do you live by formulated plans or more spontaneously?

“I’d like to say I plan, yeah, more planning but day to day, more spontaneous.”

Q: What’s your opinion on social media?

“It is on it’s own a very good thing. I mean, it is abused, especially on Twitter. I think people, now more then ever, feel pressure to put their lives up there and they can be judged, which is awful. On it’s own is a very good thing and maybe, I would hope they’re starting to ban trolls and that kind of thing and might learn to use it better but at the minute, it’s not so.”

Q; What kind of legacy do you want to leave at Trinity? Would you rather be feared or loved?

“Ha! Not feared. I suppose I’d like to be thought of as someone who kind of made it a bit more open for people.”