It Don’t Get Much Better Than This!
Three days into classes in Dublin, Ireland, it’s just hitting me that I’m not home! Everything here is different – the professors suggest (but don’t require) textbooks, meaning that nearly all the material you need to learn is covered in class…and compared to Hopkins, it’s a smaller amount of info! Oh how I would love to make Dean’s List this semester (even if it doesn’t technically count!) – I’ve made it so close twice, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so…that’s that.
I’ve met with my Science Peer-Mentor, Ciaran, twice thus far – he’s a physics major, and studied abroad at Berkeley last year (I can’t remember if it was a full year, or just a semester), so he was able to offer us (being myself and the rest of the peer-mentoring group) a view of UCD as compared to American schools. He said that, a lot of the time, students will take all 6 courses in their semester (I’m only taking 5…) in one area, such as science. This means that each class gives less work, because at an American courseload, 6 all-science (or 6 all-anything, probably, I just know science best) courses would be murder – they don’t want to kill their students here! It looks like I might have time to join some societies (the equivalent of clubs at home).
There are signs everywhere for “Freshers Week” – the second week of school is devoted to showing the freshman (or freshers, but they’re mainly called first-years) what life at UCD is comprised of, aside from classes. The societies range from Law to Drama to Fashion, and everything between; the one thing they have in common seems to be nights out at pubs together! (Irish culture is really really centered around drinking/the pub.) One of the clubs is even sending its members (old & new) into Belfast for a weekend of fun, which includes accommodation at one of the “biggest party hostels in Ireland” – I might try to sign on for that trip! I’m not that big into partying myself, but it seems like the only way to really meet Irish people! The main attraction of Freshers Week is that all the societies have tables in a big tent for the whole week where anyone can learn about the various clubs offered and sign up for membership.
Attached to Freshers Week is the Sports Expo, in which all the sports clubs and teams open membership. Sports seems really relaxed here – nearly all the clubs specifically ask for complete beginners in their online info sections. I’m thinking of trying squash (one of my fellow oboe-players from the Norwalk Youth Symphony played squash and I remember wondering what exactly that entailed…it’s a good time to try it out!), or potentially trampoline – which looks like gymnastics, just on a trampoline!
Next week should be very interesting and hopefully a lot of fun – I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about life at UCD!