Hi, my name is Danielle and I have recently just finished my BA degree in UCD. On filling my CAO application, I was intent that I was going to study in UCD, with eight of my ten level eight options consisting of courses in UCD. I thought I had it all figured out on what I wanted to study and where it was going to be. However, on the day of change of mind last minute panic set in.

Since Transition Year, I was always 100% sure that I wanted to study Law. On paper though it seemed so final and I was unsure that this was just exactly what I wanted to do, it was too final for me. I decided to take the plunge and change my first choice from Law to  BA Politics and International Relations in UCD. I can honestly say after becoming a graduand of the course, I have not once regretted my decision. Don’t get me wrong, I have decided to take the post-graduate route into Law. A degree in Politics has prepared me well for this step, I have gained analytical and practical skills, not only the ability to conduct research but also to implement research found to propose precise arguments both written and orally. The UCD School of Politics offers a wide range of areas to specialise in and the freedom of the BA programme allows you to freely chose a subject area of choice – from International Relations, Irish Political systems, Central and Eastern European Politics and Human Rights as well as many more.

UCD SPIR (School of Politics and International Relations) boasts experts in all areas of politics. We were provided with everything from the basis of politics through political theory, to the study of individual countries to a much broader scope of comparative politics and international relations, encouraging us to use our analytical skills to compare and contrast countries and organisations to learn more about politics itself and how it occurs. We learned the meaning behind social movements and of course the heart of democracy itself, elections, allowing us to understand why citizens operate as they do and the consequences of this.

Personally, I find International Relations and Human Rights a key area of interest choosing now to continue this on in post-graduate study but taking an in depth look at the legal aspects of it. With such competing interests and interests, there was never a dull moment in most of my classes, as lecturers and tutors encouraged engagement. Not only this, but studying the BA in UCD afforded me the opportunity to contribute time to extra curricular activities – such as societies, the peer mentoring programme, the Students Union, debating and working as a UCD student ambassador. I also took the opportunity to take an Erasmus year, spending the year studying in ULB, Brussels, Belgium. Living in the political heart of Europe was incredible, between guest lecturers from the Commission to lectures in the European Parliamentary buildings, two visits to NATO and an audience with Barack Obama. Not only this, I was chosen as a delegate to represent ULB in the National Model UN competition in New York. Standing in the UN HQ was nothing short of amazing. However, my Erasmus year, is a story for another day.

For now, the best advice I could give you is if you are highly unsure about what pathway you want to take in life, or like me and get last minute butterflies, the BA programme is for you and it’s a decision you won’t regret. You won’t be long making friends and UCD offers a Peer Mentoring Programme for incoming first years to help you take your first steps in UCD. Studying Politics in UCD speaks for itself, being one of the largest and most diverse faculties in the state, with a high calibre of academic staff with expertise in all areas, leaving no political topic unturned. I have learned to understand the world around me, something no matter what I chose to study I always wished to accomplish. I have been trained and taught to evaluate and question information surrounding me and present it in a compelling way. I have developed both personally and academically in my time in UCD, and it’s safe to say as I have chosen to return for Post Graduate studies in the future, my time here is not yet complete.