If I were asked to compare the experience of going to university to, say, one of the rides at a reasonably large and well-equipped fun-fair, I would say that it is most akin to a rollercoaster. Except, instead of it just being like any rollercoaster experience, it is specifically the rollercoaster experience of 1980s supermodel 'Fabio' who, in 1999, was hit in the face by a goose while riding a rollercoaster. If you were to further press me to be yet more specific with my description, and to perhaps liken it to an encounter with some confectionary, then I would say that university is a lot like a box of chocolates. Specifically, it is like a box of chocolates, if that box of chocolates is a box of Celebrations where the only chocolates left are Bountys and you - like most sane people - really dislike Bountys. In short, what I'm trying to say is that trying to get through college can be an absolute mine-field.
However, this does not need to be the case. Whether you're a bright-eyed and eager first year, or a jaded and harrowed final-year student, if you're heading to college in Cork, we've got you covered. If you follow our tips below, you'll be sure to avoid stepping on any land-mines, be they figurative, or - if you have some truly dubious room-mates - literal.
1) Dealing With Tutorials:
You feel your heart thudding in your chest. You lick your lips instinctively, and feel your dry tongue grating across your dry lips. You try to swallow, but there's no saliva. Your eyes flit across the room at the sea of disinterested faces - some staring back at you; others down at the floor, and some are just looking, vacantly. You clear your throat and begin speaking, "Wheat production in 1930s Ukraine was a complicated business..."- Your choice of overly specific, incredibly niche topic may vary.
Tutorials can be nightmarish. However, there is a surefire way of passing through each semester's tutorials while putting in the bare minimum of effort. To succeed in any tutorial, you will only ever really need to put in effort in the first class, and in the class you've to do a presentation in. First impressions are everything, and if you really put a shift in for your first class, your tutor will - for the rest of the term - remember you as that guy who was, if anything, overly eager to talk about just how impactful the introduction of mechanical threshers were to Ukrainian farmers. Again, your borderline irrelevant topic of choice may vary.
2) Group Projects:
There are two kinds of people in group projects, the person who ends up doing all the work, and everyone else. Please, for the love of god, make sure you end up in the latter category. However, this requires a balancing act. You must give off the appearance of doing some work so as to not become the one person, most obviously avoiding doing anything, who ends up being the focus of resentment within the group. Just turn up for a couple of the meetings, make some half-informed points, while, more importantly, dropping into conversation your growing concern about the welfare of a, fictitious elderly pet. As the date of submission draws near, begin peppering your group chat with increasingly alarming updates about your - for example - parakeet's ailing health. You will soon be excused from the burden of any real work.
3) Whittling Away All The Extra Clubs & Societies:
"Why, I will join all these societies," You will have thought - garrulous and eager, as you bounded between the trestle tables and tents in Freshers' Week. "What better way for me to sample the many and varied experiences Cork has to offer than through societies?" Oh, the naivety of youth, the boundless optimism of those on the cusp of adulthood.
By the time the fourth week of term rolls around, you will come to realise that your free time is at far more of a premium than you'd originally envisaged. By all means, get as active as possible with those societies and clubs that genuinely pique your interest, but, as you lie in bed, trying to recover from an evening's excess in Havana Brown's and see a reminder on your phone inviting you to UCC Juggling Soc's 'Coffee & Juggling Morning', accept - not their invitation - but the fact that you may have over-committed yourself.
4) Dating Opportunities:
While every city in Ireland will have its own trusted and renowned spots for first-dates, Cork blows them all out of the water. This ie because the utterly class Fota Wildlife Park is less than 30 minutes away from the centre of Cork. I defy anyone to name a better venue for a first-date than a wild-life park. What could be more romantic than being able to stand adjacent to a field where a herd of yaks amble sort of aimlessly about? What's more, they also do student discounts. Just make sure that the groundskeepers don't begin to wonder why you keep turning up to stand at the yak enclosure week after week with a different person on your arm.
5) Dealing With Noisy Housemates:
Some people really over-estimate the sound-proofing abilities of a standard wall. For whatever reason, some people imagine that, as soon as a door to a room has been closed, an inescapable, hermetic seal has been put in place; that you now exist in a vacuum from which nothing - not even sound - can escape. Speaking as someone who briefly shared a house - and had an adjacent bedroom to - a man who was massively obsessed with playing the oeuvre of 80s hair-rock band, Whitesnake, very, very loudly - I can confirm that this is not true. Once you feel you've exhausted the number of post-it notes you can reasonably slip under someone's door before it moves from being 'passive-aggressive' to just 'aggressive', why not drown out whatever horrendous noise your flatmate is blasting out into the world at 11pm, by making use of Vodafone X's access to Spotify premium and play something - anything - other than Whitesnake.