With the election campaigns for next year’s Students’ Union Officers finally coming to an end, the swarm of hacks present on campus in recent weeks has finally dispersed. Some of the most influential names on campus have been brought to the forefront of discussion: candidates, campaign team members, and opinionated critics alike.
In a university whose very own SU newspaper publishes an annual, cringe-inducing, yet widely-read “Trinity Twenty”, big names on campus, (or BNOC’s) are a presence we all grow accustomed to eventually. In fact, they play a distinct role in maintaining the fragile Trinity bubble that quite a number of us live in.
Too often students are left feeling disillusioned with the SU election, unsure of what an AGM is, or perhaps feeling a little out-of-the-loop as the layers of in-jokes in the Piranha fly over their heads.
However it is with experience-based conviction that I assure you that you too can one day be one of Trinity’s premier student figures. In fact, now is an ideal time in term to put a plan into action that can place you right where you want to be in the “hackosphere” this time next year. Here’s what you need to do.
What is a hack?
“[…]the hacks have now moved swiftly on to something else as you find yourself stagnant, uninvolved, and probably paying for a lot more things than they have to.”
In order to become a hack, you must first educate yourself on what this term actually means. Who actually are these students I speak of, where did this ridiculous term spring out of, and why do friends in other universities throw me a funny look when I refer to it? On a basic level, a hack is someone who has gained access to particular perks and privileges as they schemingly, or at least somewhat consciously, climbed their way up one ladder of glory or another as a tactical means to progress their College career.
Though hacks do present themselves in varying different shapes, sizes and even faculties, each is identifiable in that they know someone, they have something, or they’re doing something that, frankly, you have missed out on.
Whether you remained blissfully unaware of the opportunities they seized or you simply couldn’t bring yourself to care at the time, the hacks have now moved swiftly on to something else as you find yourself stagnant, uninvolved, and probably paying for a lot more things than they have to.
Types of hacks
“Fossil Free TCD is a more than worthy cause, but a true hack would be focused on the prospect of their picture being taken with the Provost.”
A hack can manifest itself in many ways. You have the early risers, first-year reps, the ever popular JCR, and the SU campaign team composed of mostly enthusiastic, if a little confused, first years. Then you have the debaters; heavily initiated into arguably cult-like societies from that very first Maidens competition and shaking hands with their favourite celebrities mere months later.
It is also worth keeping an eye on the SU climbers; they are a friendly bunch, but don’t underestimate the agenda behind their holding a position on the Ents committee, Welfare committee, and being a campaign volunteer all in one week. Society committees are a given but those worth mentioning tend to host the more extravagant balls, have the best deals on their society cards, and of course the best society scandal.
Then you have the less obvious, the student journalist hacks keeping other hacks in check, the dedicated and glitter-engulfed Players students, and the haloed hacks: the members of charitable societies such as SUAS and VDP who do an astounding job at getting students involved in worthy causes, though some aim particularly high as they proceed to do so.
A hack plan to suit you
“There really are countless ways to get your foot in the door of the Hackdom, or as many may know it, House 6.”
If you’re reading this and are now thinking that the means to becoming a hack are far beyond your reach, then you are not imitating the appropriate hack attitude whatsoever. Yes, it would have been ideal if you have ran for class rep, maybe even befriending the Chair of the Electoral Committee in a bid to fully comprehend the inner workings of SU Council ahead of your announcement to run for presidency.
It would have been easier to build a network of fellow hacks if you’d been a part of the European Youth Parliament before you ever set foot in Trinity but setbacks never stand in the way of a hack’s bid to acquire power. There really are countless ways to get your foot in the door of the Hackdom, or, as many may know it, House 6.
If you want to run for a committee or five but don’t feel particularly charismatic enough to be confident in your chances, start building upon your Photoshop skills and run for the respectable position of PRO. Get to know the buzzwords on campus, the die-hard issues of the people, and ensure you get your picture taken for that photo campaign taking place at the Campanile next week. Getting your face out there is crucial if you want students you don’t know but may need to invite to your society’s events to start friending you as you pop up on their Facebook suggested friends list.
Actively seek out the the groups within College that are already doing well for themselves, and make an effort to get involved as they grow ever successful. Yes, Fossil Free TCD is a more than worthy cause but a true hack would be focused on the prospect of their picture being taken with the Provost. Essentially, hacks are always up to something. For the most part, these activities tend to be completely irrelevant but you’ll certainly intimidate your peers with your LinkedIn profile.
Why be a hack
“You better have a sturdy diary at the ready, as well as a strong political opinion and a fashion sense to match.”
At this point, you may be wondering if pursuing the life of a hack is even worth it. It’s true, this is not a lifestyle for the faint-hearted. You’d better have a sturdy diary at the ready, as well as a strong political opinion and a fashion sense to match. Certain students are willing to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to that which they’re truly passionate about but that’s actually only a minor motivation for those truly dedicated to the hacky cause.
In reality if you’re not on a first name terms with at least three of the current Sabbatical Officers, have acquired a free ticket to Trinity Ball and have had dinner with the Provost at least twice, your Trinity experience is lacking and your internship prospects may be too. In theory, to be a hack is a way to ensure you’re well-connected and have a noted level of working experience when you leave Trinity to enter the ghastly realms of the working world.
In reality, establishing yourself as a hack ensures you’ll float through College in the comfort of knowing that you’re not just one among the 17,000; you are a somebody and with that comes a level of privilege, pride and civic duty to attend each and every one of those social events you were invited to even if, deep down, you desperately don’t want to.
As a hack, you’ll graduate satisfied in the fact that you were “involved”; a metaphorical badge of glory forever emblazoned upon your inner pride. Apply yourself wholeheartedly as you seek to propel yourself to a pedestal of pseudo-importance and enjoy it while it lasts. Because the truth is this reputation means very little when you walk out Front Gate and your badge of honour, whilst intact, will hold little influence outside of the Trinity bubble.
Start now and seek to be that hack of all hacks, that the hacks in generations to come will refer to with a great reverence. Admittedly, if you’re taking the time to read an article from a student newspaper, then you’re likely to already be well on your hacky-hack way.