College: expectations v reality

Sleep deprived, hungover and overwhelmed first year students swarmed DCU’s campus in the opening weeks of first semester ready to experience a new life. Beads of sweat dripped down their foreheads as they unpacked their suitcases, rushed to lectures and attempted to push automatic doors. As we are now halfway through semester one it seems first year students are well settled and instead of being confused and conflicted, are now captivated by life here in DCU.

Dan Holton is a first year Computer Applications student. For Dan, college means partying and he never misses an opportunity to hit the town. He admits that after a night out he doesn’t always go to lectures, and he ‘almost’ always does his assignments on time. Dan has had many adventures already here at DCU, including his apartment flooding and being moved into a VIP Hampsted room. As Dan says himself: “sure how would you be well?” Dan’s experiences at college have been everything that he imagined with each night bringing a new adventure.

Kevin Kelly is a first year Journalism student whose DCU experience is more centralised around his academic studies. “Journalism is the course for me. I’ve always wanted it and have done all the work to get me here, so I’m ready to face it head on. The workload hasn’t been that bad so far and the assignments have actually been pretty enjoyable for me to do.” Kevin’s favourite part of college is the freedom. Even though he lives at home, his flexible timetable gives him a sense of freedom that was not available to him in secondary school. Kevin admits having to make new friends was “slightly daunting” but he has settled into his life here at DCU.

Caoimhe Ní Chathail, a Gaeilge agus Iriseoireacht student, has made the most of her time in DCU already. “I’ve joined a total of 10 societies and am particularly active when it comes to drama and music. I have roles in the panto, Stars in Your Eyes, the Glee club, Broadway for Battens and I relish in the opportunity of an open-mic night.”

Caoimhe has taken advantage of the opportunities available to her in Dublin and even has her own radio show on Raidió na Life. In regards to her course, Caoimhe said “while I’m not completely on top of my reading list, I don’t feel as though I’m completely failing so far.”

Caoimhe acknowledges her biggest responsibility is keeping an eye on money. For the most part, she cooks healthy meals and has a gym membership to help in her aim to stay healthy. Although she admits to having “frequent slip ups with Spar’s deals on Toffee Pops or Jammy Dodgers”, Caoimhe’s experiences of college life are everything she imagined them to be.

As first year students continue to settle into their new lives in DCU there is a buzzing excitement around what DCU has to offer them in the years ahead. It seems DCU hasn’t fallen short of their expectations of college life and first years are embracing the extraordinary opportunities it has to offer.

Catherine Devine

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