No Journey Is Long With Good Company

No Journey Is Long With Good Company

Margaret Perry

Back to college. Three golden words I’ve been waiting to hear. I recently read on a highly reliable and intellectually stimulating source (definitely Facebook) the phrase “whoever said school was the best years of your life obviously never went to college”. While you would previously have mourned the loss of the freedom of the summer when heading back to school, heading back to college is more like a return to freedom in many ways. Last year, leaving the safe routine of my school bound for UCC, I began to experience this freedom.  Being from Cork already, even though I naturally had my old friends to rely on, with us all in different courses and some in different colleges, starting college was like discovering a totally different world within my home city. I had always felt at home in the city itself, but within UCC I had to find my niche anew, in my small class, in my wider year and in the clubs and societies I joined. Clubs and societies are the most fantastic way to meet new people who share your hobbies and your mindset. Everyone says it, your parents have probably said it, but don’t let that put you off! Do they look great on your CV? Yes. Do they party very hard? Hell yes! And the free food and drink… you’ve no idea. Take full advantage of it while you can! You’re a student now. Anything free is heaven sent!

This summer, backpacking across Europe for a month, I realised that on any journey, what stands out most clearly in your mind when you come home is not the amazing places you’ve seen, not fountain after beautiful church after massive club, but the people you’ve met along the way. The stories you’ll be telling people for years to come are all about the friendly, unusual and downright crazy people you met as you travelled. So it’s a bit clichéd, comparing a life experience to a journey, but the shoe fits! My first year in UCC was definitely a journey! Even though your course is the part you sign up for, looking back over my year, it’s the countless cups of tea in Coffee Dock, soup and roll lunches in the New Bar, hung-over 9 o clock workshops with my fantastic class, nights out with clubs and societies, nights in and out with friends old and new that stand out most clearly in my mind.

The theme of our Freshers’ Feature section seems to be the rush of embracing new experiences – moving away from home, finding accommodation and testing out your new-found freedom. The best advice I could dole out to any first year from my wise ol’ perch as an aging second year is be brave this year. Whether you’re from Cork or elsewhere, treat the start of your college years as a new beginning. Try new things and don’t be afraid to get involved in everything you could possibly want to do! No matter where your interests and passions lie, UCC has so much to offer. Talk to everyone and anyone in the first month especially. Go on society nights out and club weekend trips knowing barely anyone and you’ll come home with lasting friends.  On my trip across Europe, I read “no journey is long with good company” on a wall in Paris. UCC time moves faster than normal time. No matter what you’re studying, your degree will absolutely fly by with the good company you’ll undoubtedly find here.

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