Diary of a Fresher: Revisited

With Michaelmas term drawing to a close, we caught up with the not-so-fresh Freshers to see how they were faring a whole semester in


In September, a group of fresh-faced first-years shared their first days as college students. They documented their experiences – everything from the infamous “Freshers’ flu”, those drawn-out introductory lectures, and spending way too much on societies that they were likely to never go near again.

Aidan Carolan- Junior Freshman Law and French

Looking back over that week in mid-September, it doesn’t feel like it was part of college at all. S2S talks detailing where the toilets in the library were and paying to join the Botanical Society (what was going through my head with that one?), have been replaced by assignments and an excessive number of naps. I’ve gone from clinging desperately onto anyone unlucky enough to find themselves sitting next to me in orientation talks, to having a proper group of friends.

That first week of free cotton candy and throwing money at sports clubs was fun but it took place in somewhere completely different from the college I know now. Then, I was another face among thousands of others, but now I’m beginning to truly feel like I’m part of something.

Rory Codd- Junior Freshman English Studies

It feels as though an age has passed since I wrote during Freshers’ Week. Since then, I’ve attended Student Council meetings, class rep training, written several pieces for Trinity News, attended events held by both the Literary Society and Q Soc, and just recently I attended Pink Training in Cork. I could never have anticipated how busy my extracurricular life would become. Since starting in Trinity, I have at least 180 new friends on Facebook; some, people I spoke to just once during Freshers’ Week, while others have gone on to become much closer friends.

I now find myself trying to simultaneously finish novels and write essays on topics I’m only starting to understand. It may be more fast-paced and interesting, but I do miss those stress-free days of September. I can’t wait to see what Hilary Term has in store!

Alice Forbes- Junior Freshman English and Spanish

In my first few weeks I had little faith that Dublin city could ever feel like home to me. Saying that, ten weeks later, I’ve made some progress in settling into ‘the big shmoke’. I now know my way around both Trinity College and Dublin City quite a bit better.

I no longer find myself wandering aimlessly around the wrong floor/building trying to locate my classes. College life has become less of a novelty and more of a reality. I’ve come to the realisation that going out five nights a week is not beneficial. My cooking and budgeting skills are improving also, and I’ve learned to sustain myself on student lunch deals, M&S markdowns and 4 euro Tesco wine.

Cathal Byrne- Junior Freshman English and History

What’s changed since Freshers’ Week? Well, the college bus journey doesn’t seem so new and exciting anymore; and with essay deadlines looming, the whole college experience certainly seems a lot more real now. But it has really been a great couple of months, filled with new people and new experiences.

Even now some aspects still feel new, fresh and sometimes daunting. And yet, I still feel there are many aspects of college life I have yet to experience. The decision to get involved in clubs and societies has definitely been very worthwhile. The initial six I signed up for has largely been narrowed down to two; DU Ultimate Frisbee Club and DU History. It has been a great couple of months and I am looking forward to many more.

Maia Mathieu- Junior Freshman BESS (Mature Student)

Classes are going well. Mostly. I won’t lie, it’s been stressful sometimes.  But overall? It’s a blast.  I’ve surprised myself by coming to love a class I wasn’t sure about, and finding my thoughts for the future going in a different direction than I expected all those weeks ago.

Otherwise, I’ve been to a few talks and events.  Saw Patti Smith – what a legend! – but missed Nicola Sturgeon, alas.  I’m looking forward to Pussy Riot, Kesha, Shonda Rhimes and a few others in Hilary Term.  Most of my extracurricular time is spent over in House 6.  I fell in love with Q-Soc pretty early on and found the beginnings of my on-campus family. Later, I was pleased to join the committee and give back a little something for all the lovely free tea I’m mooching at coffee hours.

Connecting with community and like-minded people has been absolutely foundational in gaining a sense of home here in Trinity. It’s a process, but I think I’m finding my feet.

Geoffrey Keating- Junior Freshman Nanoscience

I can now sail across campus without having to ask the nearest bystander where such-and-such building is, and I have developed into a morning person (something I thought would never happen!). Unlike the freedom of Freshers’ week, the serious aspect of having to organize myself and meet deadlines was soon realised.

Unfortunately, I had to bring myself to reduce the number of clubs and societies I can attend, primarily focusing on badminton and I hope to also make regular appearances at the both the rifle and chess clubs. Finding self-motivation to meet deadlines has been tough, but I am getting there! Overall I believe I am fully settled in now. The community both in Trinity Hall and on campus is as friendly and as vibrant as ever.

Étáin Sweeney- Junior Freshman Law and Political Science

There are many things they don’t tell you about college. Freshers’ Flu will last 9 weeks; do not get Freshers’ Flu. You may tell yourself that you’ll get the last Luas home tonight (you won’t). College does not consist of days spent wearing polo-neck jumpers and berets, sitting in coffee shops, writing and reading beat poetry. Strangely enough, you actually have to work.

Nonetheless, I’ve accomplished much in the last few weeks that I would never have, had I not been college-ing. I’ve been serenaded via an endearing rendition of ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ by Enda Kenny, danced on tables for eight consecutive Tuesdays in Conradh, I’ve played American Football at 3am in the Halls courtyard and I’ve been lucky enough to meet the most eccentric but, wonderfully lovely people the world over.