Gavan Reilly's Portfolio writings, ramblings, mumblings

Rites of Passage in UCD

There is a moment in every UCD student’s career when he or she will realise that they are a fully-fledged, battle-weary Belfieldite. Reminiscing of a time when catching the 10 into down cost just €1.40, Gav Reilly examines some of the milestones we all pass along the way…

1. You can’t return a UCD missed call
Anyone attending UCD will inevitably be sitting on the 46A with their earphones in and their music too loud when getting a call from one of the trillions of extensions within UCD. Equally, anyone already attending UCD will have had that moment where they check the number, see 7160000, and hit the green button to call them back. If you miss a UCD call, never mind. If they really want you, they’ll leave a voicemail or call again later – as anyone who’s heard, “Hello, main switch” and been berated for trying to return their call will tell you.

2. You’ll have a rebellious phase
You’ll probably, nay you will, undergo a phase where you realise that yes, the world really is unfair and that yes, there probably are better ways for countries to be run. You’ll also have a single moment where you appoint yourself as the chief ambassador for this radical new ideology, only to realise that eventually your coursework will require more of your time anyway, and that by going to college you’re unlikely to revert to the McJob you’re trying to abolish.

3. The best laid plans of mice and men…
In UCD there is absolutely no guarantee that any plan will actually come through. Ask anybody who’s ever arranged some time to actually study, anyone who’s ever tried to run a society event, or anyone who’s planned to go for ‘just one pint’. A side issue for this one: always bring some etra cash, because going for one drink means going for one session, and going outside the bar to go to an ATM is realistically only the preserve of (i) smokers and (ii) robots who have been programmed without any comprehension of the concept of windy UCD weather.

4. You’ll pass a module in two days
Everyone throughout their stay at UCD will have one of those courses they’re just not naturally predisposed to (microeconomics, Germany after WWII, biological structure of Peig Sayers’ sixth cat, etc etc). You’ll also end up scoffing coffee – that’s powdered coffee, you won’t have time for frivolities like water – and rifling through the textbook you’d never opened before, bluffing your way through the exam and coming out with a better score than the weird studious guy in the front corner of every tutorial. You’ll realise you could potentially do your degree in four months too, but be too scared to actually try it out for real.

5. You’ll grow to love the place. Maybe
You will, of course, have some cynical periods where you wish you’d spent another year of your life travelling Asia instead of trekking the equally obtuse route from Arts to UCD’s nearest full off-licence (there’s one on Clonskeagh Road). Be warned though – someday, probably while still here, you truly will look back at your time in Belfield with great fondness, and feel a strangely homely affinity with the concrete masses and the nice people who fed you at The Grind every day. Then you’ll get short-changed in the bar, snap out of your mood, and all will be well with the world again.