Current engineering student Conor Flannery reflects back on his time settling into UCD as a first year student
Going to college was something I always looked forward to and when I found out that I was going to be studying in UCD I couldn’t wait for the years and experiences that were ahead of me.
I came from a relatively small school with a little over 500 students and was to be soon in a University with over 31,000 students – something I found really amazing! I will never forget the excitement mixed with nervousness as I got the bus to UCD on the morning of my first day of Orientation.
I was introduced to my Peer Mentor and my Peer Mentor Group. A Peer Mentor is an older student in your course who helps you and about nine other students in your Peer Mentor Group settle in, answer any questions, and gives you general UCD tips!
The President’s Welcome for First Year Students during Orientation Week.
The week after Orientation Week is the first week of term when lectures commence. This is when I really began to get the UCD experience with campus filled with students on journeys between lectures, groups of friends relaxing by the lake and people meeting old friends as well as chatting to new people and soon to be friends.
Being sat in these lecture theatres would have seemed quite daunting to me a few months previous but it was the welcoming and introduction to the campus, my course and Peer Mentor group that really settled any nerves I might have had. Knowing people from my course before it even began was something I found really helpful.
Everyone likes to meet new people – for lunch or coffee breaks, hanging with after college or even just for some extra Instagram follows ;)! I believe that the UCD campus creates an amazing atmosphere which is very accommodating for meeting new people. In my experience, students never find it difficult to have a chat with other students and introduce themselves while sat down in the lecture theatres before the lecturer begins or even just sitting around campus. This for sure is a great little way to meet people. Saying “hey” that first time can be a little nerve wrecking or thought to be awkward but once it’s said then a little bond will inevitably continue and grow! There are people that I just happened to strike up conversation with during the early days of college that I am still very good friends with today!
Sitting at the UCD Lake during a sunny afternoon
I always think of meeting people in UCD as like a snowballing effect. Meeting someone new has a great feeling to it and it’s not long before they introduce you to other people they know after bumping into them again – for you to then bump into those people on a separate occasion and get to know them even better! Before you know it, you begin to meet a lot of new faces while getting to know a lot of new names. This can happen through your course peers, friends from school, college clubs and societies as well as various socialising events – for example, societies will host a bunch of events specifically for First Years!
First years are referred to as ‘Freshers’ in UCD and while nobody really calls you that except when they’re making a joke – it’s still a thing :L . Fresher’s Week is the second week of term and is a week essentially full of activities by all the clubs and societies on campus to engage new and old students and teach the first years about the clubs and societies on offer in UCD. Also a great way to meet even more people :0.
A large tent houses all the societies  through the week for everybody to sign up to whichever they fancy for just €2 (you even get free stuff upon signing up!). The sports clubs are similarly set up in the Sports Hall and cost €15 to sign up to for the year.
Check out what this year’s Fresher’s Week looked like below!
“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” –   Nora Ephron
They say college is the best years of your life and I can definitely agree with that! There will be times that are tough, you’ll have assignment deadlines or approaching exams but the people you meet, experiences you have and the things you learn definitely are to the for. UCD has given me everything I could want in a university and I am thankful for that. My college experience is yet to end and others have yet to start it but definitely make the most of it! You really do get out of it what you put into it!
To find out more about studying in UCD visit