Looking Back: What I did with my four euro

Four first years reflect on their time in a society

Rebecca Lalor on her involvement with Trinity’s VDP:

“On choosing a Trinity society that has both challenged and thrilled me, it is hard to not mention VDP. Wandering through Freshers stalls that sunny day, I was lured to sign up to countless stands. The futility of it all only struck in later days.

The VDP was littered with colourful stands and weirdly happy humans in t-shirts radiating this buzzing, blissful vibe. I spent ten minutes with the girl who told me to go audition for panto. She didn’t stop smiling once! That’s why I joined — intrigue.

My vetting came through just before Christmas and I went to Enda’s homework club the next day. Primary School kids, mostly from inner city Dublin, changed my day in a way that I cannot vocalise. I remember leaving with some of the members transformed.

VDP is amazing because you can choose from a range of hourly activities, any day of the week — from Social Justice to Street Outreach, Trinity Club, to the ever-popular Sunday Kids Clubs. Whilst choice made me join, the humans making up the VDP made it.

Insmot was a weekend away with many members. People I barely knew transformed to become close friends. Motivation and PJ’s during the day, hundreds of mugs of tea, juice and questionable 5am songs about cheese during the night. My face was covered in glitter and ultimate happiness on return to Front Square that Sunday. My heart was full.
Next weekend we’re taking Intervarsities by storm. If you’re a first year that is still searching for that sense of family and inclusivity, join VDP. My Ohana.”

Margot Kavanagh reflects on her time with the Gender Equality Society:

About seven months ago, I moved from the United States with high hopes of finding a sense of community waiting for me across the pond. One sunny Saturday within a few weeks of beginning this chapter of my life, I painted my cardboard sign and joined the for the March for Repeal, a movement I had just discovered days before. It was there I found the sense of community I’d been anxiously hoping for, a community just like that which I’d found in the marches I had attended at home.

I was immediately moved to get involved in any way that I could. I had become a member of DUGES, Trinity’s feminist society, during freshers week. I’d been the president of my school’s Young Women in Leadership club back home, and once DUGES announced their TGM where they’d elect a new first year rep, I was excited at the opportunity to get involved in a similar group. I took a chance, stood up and made a little speech, and with luck I was elected!

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the passionate, hardworking, and kind-hearted feminists that make DUGES one of the most active, impactful, and fun societies in Trinity. It was in them that I was lucky enough find the sense of community I’d been hoping for, and it was in them I saw the value of getting involved, getting active, and being passionate!”

Kate Nolan looks back on how her time with the Phil has impacted her:

‘The Phil is a society that has become synonymous with Trinity. Before I had even walked under Front Arch, I was already aware that there was a debating society on campus that had managed to make a name for itself. Of course, being the impressionable Fresher that I was, I duly paid membership and thought to myself that I’d probably go to a Thursday debate, maybe even a talk if I was feeling really ambitious.

Thursday evening of Freshers Week found me in the packed debating chamber of the GMB, eagerly anticipating my first Phil debate. I had a fairly clear expectation in my head of what a college debate would look like: long-winded, complicated, worthwhile-but-mentally-draining. The debate was certainly worthwhile, but it was none of the rest of the above adjectives. Discussing a comedic motion, I was truly amazed at the ability of the speakers to add humour to their speeches, whilst simultaneously driving their point home. Chamber speeches are seven minutes each in length, but I didn’t even notice the minutes passing. I left the chamber that night determined to get involved with the Phil.

The Phil are known for their ability to attract Freshers and it’s not difficult to see why; the role of Vice-President is to organise events specifically aimed at Freshers or as they say “Phreshers”. Getting involved with the Phil is therefore easy due to the sheer volume of events organised, even outside of debating. With this in mind — and buoyed by my first Chamber debate — I signed up for Phil Maidens, and even pushed myself to participate in the Trinity Women’s Open. I didn’t exactly set the place on fire with my eloquent debating skills, but I did feel encouraged and supported by the Phil to step out of my comfort zone and speak continuously for seven minutes, relying only on whatever notes I had managed to scrawl during the fifteen minutes preparation time.

Outside of debating, the Phil is a social society, and welcoming to newcomers. When you’re a few weeks into college, feeling overwhelmed, out of depth, and even isolated, this can come as a bit of relief. In addition, I have met so many friends through the Phil that I would most likely have gone all four years of my degree without meeting if it was not for the society. I may not have been as involved in the society this year as I might have liked, but I have three more years of college ahead of me; there’s plenty of time.”

Colm McGroarty explains why he got involved with TMT:

“Since I was about five years old, I have always had a passionate interest in drama and theatre, so when I came to the cheerful stand of Trinity Musical Theatre Society, I knew that this was the society for me. I was welcomed by the friendly faces of the committee as they gave me a brief outline of what the society had to offer and the various events that would be held throughout the year. It wasn’t long until I was signing up for their annual large-scale musical production, which was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic ‘EVITA’.

I was immensely pleased when I managed to receive a role in the ensemble of Evita which has proven to be the highlight of my Junior Freshman year so far. It provided the opportunity to pursue my passion of musical theatre at a professional level, meet highly talented people, make new friends and be a part of a community within the university.

There were many other events that TMT held throughout the year which makes it a vibrant society to be a part of. In Week 5 of Michaelmas Term, the society welcomed the famous American actress, Kristen Chenowith to the college for a motivating speech. During reading week of Michaelmas, we went on a  trip to London to one of the most renowned theatrical districts of the world — the West End. Other events included the Winter Showcase, Get Greasy with DU Players and finally Musical Theatre Intervarsity, which will be held at the end of March.

TMT has proven to be my favourite society of Junior Freshman. With regard to Evita and society events, there is always a high level of professionalism maintained but in a somewhat fun and respectful environment where everyone is encouraged to reach their full potential. Trinity Musical Theatre Society is a perfect example of a society that is thriving, based on the principles of respect, professionalism and amusement.”