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A Student’s Guide To Getting Through First Year 1

Supported by O2 Think Big

SUPPORTED BY O2 THINK BIG This project has been facilitated by Think Big, a programme designed by O2 and Headstrong to enable young people to carry out projects in their community that make a difference to young peoples’ mental health. For more information see O2THINKBIG.IE.


Hello Friends!

HELLO FRIENDS! Welcome to Halls and welcome to Trinity College - you’ve finally made it. Whether you’re looking forward to long nights at the library, dressing up for debates or downing sneaky beverages at the Pav, you’ll find a place here you can call home. Moving out is always an exciting adventure but your first year in college can also sometimes be a lonely time. As final year students, we want to let you know that many of us have experienced the difficulties and anxieties you’re likely to face over the coming weeks and months, and that there are always people there for you if you’re not feeling like yourself. We’ve made this booklet in the hope of reassuring, advising and inspiring you as you embark on this whirlwind journey. Hope you enjoy it.

Owen and Catherine x


































Advice to my first Year Self

ADVICE TO MY FIRST YEAR SELF Geileis Garrett JF Political Science & Geography Halls Resident 12/13

I used to play that song ‘I Love College’ in my head over and over again before moving into Halls. I had always assumed college would be really sociable but it didn’t really turn out that way at the start. I found it difficult to get to know anyone and had made barely any friends by Christmas time. It seemed easier to just stay in my room, watch films and video-chat my friends from home. What changed things for me was the realisation that I’m in control of my own social life. I realised that I needed to make more of an effort and keep an open mind. Most people around me were just as shy and lost as I was - some were just better at putting on a brave face. The advice I’d give any first year is to lose any preconceived ideas you might have had about college. In school, friends usually share the same interests. I’ve found that I can now make friends in college that are completely different to me and that has been an amazing learning experience.


Advice to my first Year Self

Caroline von König European Studies Graduate Halls Resident 09/10

‘YOIHO’ - You’re Only In Halls Once. You’ll spend an average of four years in Trinity but only one of these will be spent in Halls. Nowhere else are you given such an easy opportunity to meet people outside of your course and comfort zone. Take advantage of this. You might not get on with your roommates but there will always be social events and occasions to meet different people who will help you fit in on your own terms. The best and worst thing about living in Halls is that you’re never alone. That can be comforting at the start as you’re able to make friends in no time. However, don’t forget that it’s completely okay not to be out and about 24/7. Do your own thing and don’t let others pressure you into going out if you feel like spending time alone. Being surrounded by people means there is always someone there to you can talk to but, just as importantly, you can be that person for someone else. Be there for each other – that’s the most important thing.


Advice to my first Year Self

Bernard Ryan JCR Communications Officer Halls Resident 12/13

So, you made it. College. Four more years and all that. Get out there and get noticed. Make yourself some friends, get shoulder-deep into a society, write for the college newspaper - there are loads of people out there who want to get to know you. You know, you might even like it: college is like a playground, you can do what you want without anyone noticing! While you’re making new friends, don’t forget you were someone before you came here. Don’t forget your friends from secondary school and all those people who made you you. You might fall in love with your new crew but secondary school friends stick with you, so don’t ever forget them. And never, ever, ever, ever (seriously) forget that college is about a degree. You’re here for academia, the rest is just filler. Don’t take your eye off the lecture notes, but don’t spend all your days in the library either! You only do four years of college once and the clock is already ticking, so don’t stop or else it’ll pass you by.


Advice to my first Year Self

Stephen Garry TCDSU Welfare Officer Halls resident 09/10

Calm down! You’re a 17 year old from the wesht who’s been let loose on the big city, the amount of energy you have has got to be put to good use. Try to get to know your flatmates better, I know you like spending time in different apartments across Halls, but it’s important to establish a connection with the people you live with. Don’t be afraid to get involved with the things that interest you more, I know it can seem scary, but branching out and meeting new people across college is an incredibly enjoyable experience. Join a sports club, and actually get involved in a society or two, a year away from social activities like these is a year wasted. Luckily, you’re loving Halls but try to talk to your classmates too, they’ll be experiencing the same academic worries for 4 years - it’s not all about the Halls bubble! Remember to look after yourself as well, eat healthier, get more sleep (especially before exams) and try to de-stress as much as possible. Remember to set aside time for the things that help you to relax. Whether you listen to this advice or not, it’ll still be a great year, and when it’s not, make sure you talk to someone about it. Talking helps to make things better. Do learn to listen though; It’ll help you in the future.


Advice to my first Year Self

Cian Lawless JCR Welfare Officer Halls Resident 12/13

My advice would be to so grounded because it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of your new found freedom. Take each day at a time and don’t take anything for granted. Try not to have regrets and don’t spend your days thinking about what would’ve, could’ve or should’ve happened - it’s exhausting and not good for your mind. If you find yourself doing it often, rewire the way you think and take a break. Try to make as much time for your family and friends as you can. It gets tough to find time when you’re constantly viewing your calendar and are so focused on meeting your goals. Setting goals are always important but remember that those around you won’t be there forever. Live for the moment and cherish it: #YOLO … Yes, I went there. It’s important to surround yourself with good, positive people as well. They will help you grow. Stay healthy, stay active and eat well, because your mind and body will be happier and the world around you will never feel more real. Break your bad habits and, above all, stay true to yourself. Everything is going to be alright.


Advice to my first Year Self

Fionn McGorry SF History and Political Science Halls resident 12/13

Practically: don’t freak out if things get messy. You might try to develop a roster, but it can be hard when you have different schedules. There’s no correct way, and you might find you’re just cooking for yourself-that’s what I did. You’re not necessarily going to be best mates with your flatmates. Respect space and you’ll get on fine. Socially, the JCR work hard for residents, and JCR events let you get to know people you don’t share classes with, but one thing I would say to every first year is try societies and clubs, and even if you don’t know anyone, you should go because you’ll meet your best friends in College there. Make the most of your time in College, but try your hardest, of course. It can be hard to catch up but there are so many people who want to help you out. Finally, make sure you talk to your parents regularly. They love and miss you. They’re proud of you for getting in to college and they want to know what you’re up to-they’re not checking up on you! They want something to tell your granny on the phone. Best of luck, and have a great time in Halls!


A day in the life of the Fresher


Silence the first alarm.

8:00 am

Crawl out of bed to select your latest carefully coordinated outfit.



Realise you know no-one outside the lecture hall and hide out in the toilets. Head over to the Buttery for an awkward coffee with classmates. Retreat to library.


Saunter around town to find somewhere to eat.


Realise there’s nothing more depressing than eating a student meal alone in McDonald’s. Struggle to stay awake during lecture and gaze around at all the people who somehow seem to already know each other.

10:08 am



Spend an hour on Facebook looking through old photos and reminding yourself how much more fun you used to have.


Find the closest Supermac’s and scoff a chocolate muffin with ice-cream to drown your sorrows.


6:08pm 7:33pm

Begrudgingly drag yourself to the next lecture and feel your heart flutter when someone asks to get by you. They definitely looked like they wanted to be your friend. Return to Halls and muse over which social event you will force yourself to go to tonight. Emerge from bedroom to face another night trying to fit in.



5 a day for mental Health


Connect with yourself and with those around you. Make time every day to stay in touch with people. Go for a drink or have lunch with people from your class. Join a club or society. Be open with others about how you are feeling and be interested in how they are. Friends, family, colleagues and classmates are there to talk to. If you have any kind of problem, there are support networks in college to talk to as well.

Be Active

Go for walk or run in the fresh air. You can exercise by yourself or start a new hobby with friends. The college gym has lots of great classes for all fitness levels and there are lots of clubs in college ranging from cricket to ultimate frisbee.

Take Notice

Take notice of people, of yourself, what’s going on in college, the world around you, of the positives in your life. Take notice of the societies and clubs that are available and the different social events that are taking place.

Keep Learning

Keep learning about yourself, others, new skills, academically, coursework, about the world around you. Go to different events and talks.


Give time to yourself, time to others, thanks, a hug, a smile, random acts of kindness, a listening ear, a shoulder for support, time to volunteer. Give useful information to others about what you know and what you’ve learned. See for further information.





From mingling at post-debate receptions in the GMB to going on soup runs with VDP or watching movies with Film Soc, there’s a society for everyone at Trinity. Most will hold weekly events and organise trips throughout the year.

Join a Club

There are over fifty sports clubs in Trinity that cater for abilities from beginner to advanced. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or just looking for a new hobby, these clubs are a great way to meet new people and keep fit.

Write for a Publication

There are a wide range of magazines and academic journals in which Trinity students sharpen and hone their writing skills. The college also has two student newspapers that are always on the lookout for new writers.




Dublin is an amazing student city with so much to do and see outside the walls of Trinity. Find details on the latest literary or music festival online or bring friends along to a free museum exhibition during your lunch break.

Host Parties

The freedom of Halls can be exhilarating for any newcomer but you don’t necessarily have to throw a mad, drink-fuelled rave to bond with your neighbours. Why not try hosting a game of charades or ‘Come Dine with Me’?

Cook With Your Apartment This is where we come in! See pp.19 to get the ball rolling.


6 Places To hang out in College


The GMB - home to both the Phil and Hist has two large conversation rooms that boast some of the comfiest couches in college. You can read the daily newspapers in either, and might even catch some free pizza if an event is about to start! There are also very affordable pool rooms on the third floor.

The Parlour

The Parlour is an inclusive, student-led space at the back of the JCR CafĂŠ in Goldsmith Hall which hosts relaxed social events and workshops aimed at fostering a positive, nurturing environment for students.

The Chaplaincy

The Chaplaincy Room is one of the cosiest and most underrated spots in college. Located on the second floor of House 27, it plays host to free lunch on Tuesdays and has just about everything you might need to prepare your lunch. Did we mention the free tea and coffee?


6 Places To hang out in College

House 6

Many of the smaller societies on campus including Film Soc, TrinityFM and Q Soc - have rooms for their members to hang out in in this building. Like the Chaplaincy, they tend to be well-stocked up on biscuits and teabags.

The Dining Hall

To the north of Front Square lies the elegant, timeless Dining Hall, in which you enjoy a leisurely student buffet lunch during term time. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to Hogwarts.

The Arts Block

Home to smoking hipsters and fashionistas alike, the Arts Block rates high among the best people-watching venues on campus. Sit back on one of the couches off the main concourse or retreat to one the higher floors for a quieter space.


6 Places for Cheap Lunch


This sit-down Temple Bar spot has a buffet area in which you can load up on your choice of vegetables, noodles, spices, sauces and meat and watch it all get fried and flipped in front of you. Stir fry - € 5

JCR Cafe

Our very own student co-op can’t be beaten for lunchtime value. Located in the Goldsmith building, it’s a particular favourite of science students. Deal vary | Student sandwich with tea/water - about € 2.75

off Dawson Street, Yum Thai offers a range Yum Thai Just of takeaway Thai dishes, as well as a free apple with every order. The queue can get long at lunchtime, but it’s great for a hot dinner on those wintry days. Student noodles - € 5.50


6 Places for Cheap Lunch


Boojum kick-started the Dublin burrito scene and is consistently voted the best burrito bar in the city by students. It has a new location opening on Harcourt Street this year but, until then, you’ll need to cross the Liffey to get to its original home in the Italian Quarter. Student burrito - € 5.50


This gem on College Green is a student staple. Go there for the hot deli, cans and cheap

chocolate bars.

Chicken fillet roll (3 fillings) - € 2.75

Honest to Goodness

Honest to Goodness is a bright little spot in George’s Street Arcade that does great (and generally healthy) wrap and sandwich specials. We recommend the Sloppy Joe on Fridays. Daily sandwich special - € 5



RECIPES CHICKEN CURRY Servings: 6 Equipment: 2 Saucepans, 2 Frying Pans Ingredients: • • • •

¼ glass olive oil 2 large onions – diced 4 boneless chicken breasts – cut into strips 6 mugs of rice

• 2 jars of your preferred curry sauce

Instructions 1. Oil & Onion: Heat oil in 2 frying pans over medium heat. Add one chopped onion to each and stir until soft and golden brown. 2. Chicken: Add chopped chicken to both frying pans and toss over high heat for about 10 mins until chicken looks fully cooked. 3. Rice: Add 3 mugs of rice to each saucepan. Fill with boiling water to 1-2 cm above the rice. Leave to boil for about 10 mins until rice is cooked. 4. Sauce: Add jar of sauce to each frying pan and cook on a lowmedium heat for another 10-15 mins. DON’T WORRY ABOUT KITCHEN EQUIPMENT: It can be really miserable eating alone after a long day in college. That’s why we’ve customised instructions so that these recipes can be made with your own personal-sized pots and pans and enjoyed together.


Stir Fry Chicken

STIR FRY CHICKEN Servings: 6 Equipment: 2 Saucepans, 2 Frying Pans Ingredients: • • • • •

6 sheets of dry noodles ¼ glass olive oil seasoning – cajun spice, soy sauce etc. 3 boneless chicken breasts – cut into strips selection of vegetables – carrots, peppers, onions etc.

Instructions 1. Noodles: Cook noodles in 2 saucepans filled with boiling water according to packet instructions. 2. Oil: Heat oil in both frying pans. 3. Seasoning & Chicken: Pour seasoning onto raw chicken and toss in oiled frying pans over high heat for about 10 mins until fully cooked. 4. Vegetables: Add vegetables to chicken and fry until heated through. EVERY LITTLE HELPS: None of these recipes should cost over €12 to prepare - that’s a contribution of only €2 each! You can eat really healthily and cheaply if you buy in bulk and prepare meals as a group.


Chile con carne

CHILE CON CARNE Servings: 6 Equipment: 2 Saucepans, 2 Frying Pans, Bowl Ingredients: • • • • • • •

6 mugs rice ¼ glass olive oil 2 x 500 g mince meat 2 tablespoons butter 6 tablespoons curry powder 2 cans tomatoes 1 can kidney beans

Instructions 1. Rice: Add 3 mugs of rice to each saucepan. Fill with boiling water to 1-2 cm above the rice. Leave to boil for about 10 mins until rice is cooked. 2. Oil & Mince: Heat oil in both frying pans and fry half of mince in each over high heat until brown. 3. Butter & Chile: Melt butter in a bowl in the microwave and mix chilli powder into it. Add half to each frying pan and mix with mince over medium heat. 4. Tomatoes & Beans: Add canned tomatoes to mince and turn down to low heat. Cook for about 5 mins, add kidney beans and cook gently for another 10 mins. CHEAP DESSERT: Tesco in Temple Bar generally reduce the cost of bread and pastries between 8pm and 9pm if you want to bring a few treats back.


Mushroom and potato curry

MUSHROOM AND POTATO CURRY Servings: 6 Equipment: 2 Saucepans Ingredients: • • • • • • • •

2 tbsp oil 1 onion - roughly chopped 2 large potatoes 1 aubergine - trimmed and chopped into chunks 400g mushrooms 4-6 tbsp curry paste (depending on how hot you like it) 2 cubes of vegetable stock - stirred with a mug of boiling water 400ml can coconut milk

Instructions 1. Oil, Onion & Potato: Heat a tbsp of oil in each saucepan and the onion and potato. Cover and cook over a low heat for 5 mins until the potatoes start to soften. 2. Vegetables: Throw in half the amount of chopped aubergine and mushrooms to each pan and cook for a few more minutes. 3. Curry & Stock: Stir in the curry paste and pour over the liquid stock. 4. Coconut milk: Bring to the boil as you stir half the can of coconut milk in each pan. Simmer for about 10 mins until the potato is tender and serve with rice or naan bread.


College Services

COLLEGE SERVICES The important thing to remember is that there is always someone to talk to in Trinity. In fact, there is a whole network of people both in Halls and on campus whose job it is to support you if you’re going through a difficult time.

WELFARE OFFICER The TCDSU Welfare Officer is always on hand during the week to help you through whatever it is you might be going through. Get in touch: Stephen Garry – - visit his first-floor office in House 6 - 0851016481

STUDENT COUNSELLING SERVICE The Student Counselling Service is free of charge, confidential and available to all registered Trinity students. Make an appointment: 01 896 1407 / / Mon-Fri 9:15-17:10 @ 7/9 South Leinster Street (near the National Gallery)

NITELINE Niteline is an after-hours telephone service run by students for students. Freephone: 1800 79 37 93 / Thurs-Tues 21:00-02:30



UNILINK Unilink is a confidential support service for students registered with the Disability Service who may be experiencing mental health difficulties. Contact:

JCR WELFARE OFFICER The JCR has its own dedicated officer to listen to you and provide you with advice, counselling and, of course, condoms. Contact: Cian Lawless - - call into his office on a Wednesday between 8pm and 10pm - 0860325355.

CONTACTS Many students face mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, in their first year of college. These can be triggered by issues ranging from academic concerns to stress, depression, loneliness, lack of motivation, eating problems, sexual identity and relationship or family difficulties. Don’t be afraid to talk – it’s alright not to feel okay.

Addiction • Alcoholics Anonymous – 01-6795967 • College Health Centre – 01-891556/



Disability • Disability Service – 01-8963111/ text for deaf students 0863442322/ • AHEAD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disability) – 01-716439/

LGBT Issues • BeLonG To - 01 670 6223 • TCD Q Society –

Mental Health • • • •

Aware (Depression) – 1890-303302/ Pieta House (Suicide and self-harm) – 01-6010000 Body Whys (Eating disorders) – Dublin Rape Crisis Centre – 01-6614911

Sexual Health • One in Four (Sexual Abuse) – 01-6624070/ • Positive Options (Crisis Pregnancies) - Free text LIST to 50444/



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Project Directors Catherine Healy & Owen Murphy Booklet Editor Catherine Healy Booklet Layout Andrew C. Murphy With Thanks Headstrong, O2, TCD PsychSoc, JCR Committee, Aisling Ni Chonaire, Stephen Garry, Geileis Garrett, Caroline Von Konig, Bernard Ryan, Cian Lawless, Fionn McGorry








Home Away From Home  

This booklet was produced as part of the Home Away From Home project. The project was run by Dublin students Catherine Healy and Owen Murphy...