Current Pharmacology Student Eoin Kilroy Talbot takes a look at why he went to the UCD Summer School when he was in 5th year and what it is like to work at it now as a Student Ambassador.

It is the time of year where the UCD Summer School applications are open and students across the country are asking themselves the question of “Why would I want to go to a school in my summer holiday?!”. Here’s where I hope to be able to explain to you why coming to the UCD Summer School is a fantastic opportunity you should jump on if you get the chance. I have the unique ability of being able to talk about the UCD Summer School programme from two sides. The side of being a person who has attended one when I was in 5th year and then the side of a person who has worked at the school as a UCD student.

I initially decided I want to come to UCD Summer School when I was in 5th year to take a closer look at the Medicine specific Summer School. I had spent a week working in a hospital doing work experience in Sligo and realised that Medicine was something I was strongly considering as studying at college but I wanted some more information. I had seen on the MyUCD website that there was a summer school coming up that I could attend where I would be told more about the Medicine course and also get to experience life as a student in UCD. I thought this was perfect for me as it gave me exactly what I needed at the time and so I signed up and made the journey to UCD from Sligo.

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I still think to this day, that this was one of the best decisions I made in my second level education! When I arrived at UCD I had a welcome lecture from the then Dean of Medicine, then a Q&A and lunch with some current students, a lecture about some of the topics I’d be covering in Medicine and finally a tour of the building.

I was blown away in the welcome lecture by the fact I was being spoken to by the Dean of Medicine but for him to address in the unique way that university does compared to secondary school made me instantly feel at home. He didn’t feel like a big authority figure but more just an ordinary person who knew a huge amount about HIV and Medicine.

I loved this Q&A opportunity because the students treated us like we were the same age and were having the fun with us and telling us if there were things in the course that were hard and tips that would be useful for the leaving cert too! I also liked how it wasn’t just Medicine students I also spoke to a Science student there as well so I was able to get information about another subject I was interested in.

The lecture and tour were great as it gave me a chance to see that Medicine was something I was capable of studying and from the tour I got to experience all the building and the numerous facilities I’d have access to. Overall from my perspective as a student I loved the whole programme as I was treated in the friendly and welcoming way I’ve experienced in my entire time at UCD. I loved it too as I got the chance to speak with current students about the things they love and hate and same as the lecturers they treated me as a friend almost not like some secondary school kid.

IMG_0088Now that was all well and good but since then 5 years have passed and I’m now a 3rd year Pharmacology student here in UCD. Last year I got the opportunity to work at the Science Summer School, in particular Biology and the Biomolecular and Biomedical Science side. This summer school was run different to the Medicine programme that I had attended in 5th year. This school was run in a way that better suited Science with everyone attending a welcome lecture then workshops and a campus tour so it was much more hands on and you got to experience what life is like to study in a lab.

At the end of the welcome lecture everyone was put in groups with a current student supervisor, such as myself and you are brought into the labs. In the workshops, you get the chance to interact with the lecturers and the postgraduate students that I, as a Pharmacology student, interact nearly every day. You also get to perform some of the experiments that I performed in my day-to-day life here in UCD. The main thing with the summer school is that questions are encouraged the whole time. This is important to take advantage of if you come to a summer school because we are right there to give a good overview of Science in UCD but also extra information related to the programme to help you make the decision that bests suit your needs.

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With the UCD Summer School the focus is on making sure you get to experience what college life is really like in UCD and to give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out as much information as you want. We always have the focus on giving as much information as possible in the most realistic environment to actually studying in UCD so that you can go away and make an informed decision that best suits your needs. If you can make it I would really recommend coming to one of our summer school programmes.

To find out more information about the UCD Summer School and to book a place visit www.ucdsummerschool.ie

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