After the ‘wonder years’

 
 

As another batch of UCD students wade through their last days in the library, final year student Laura Dunne speaks to the Class of 2009 to find out what their time in the university has meant to them.

With our exams pending and the end of some of our college careers fast approaching, it is hard not to feel that it all went by in the blink of an eye.

The opportunities offered to students and the experiences gained in university are priceless. With vast and varying societies to join, cheap student nights out, society and college balls, sports teams, years on Erasmus and summers spent travelling, one can almost forget about the abundance of essays and the stressful weeks of studying for exams.

However although it seems as though time has flown, a lot has changed in three years. In 2006, when students embarked on their college careers, there was no talk of the recession or the introduction of third-level education fees. Now students are faced with the decision of what path to take after their degrees are completed and, for many, their time in UCD ends.

Graduation from university can be both an exciting and nostalgic time in one’s life. While it is nice to move on and gain new experiences, we can’t help but feel sad about leaving the old ones behind.

For final year Arts student, Emma Kennedy, the personal aspects to UCD are the memories which will linger.

“It’s the freedom of college life, being able to go drinking on a random day if you wanted to. Going for lunch with the girls, the hours spent outside the library smoking and laughing when we should have been studying!”

Michael Fahey who is studying Spanish said that he will miss “the social life [in university] and not having the pressure of a job”.

Final year International Arts student, Vicky Taylor said that the last days of term in the student bar were the most memorable aspect of college life for her. She said that she would miss a lot about UCD, things like “the student lifestyle… going out during the week and just kind of hanging around a lot.”

From the beginning of her university career, like many students Taylor feels she has grown up a lot and attributes this to her Erasmus year abroad in Valencia, Spain.

“The opportunities offered to students and the experiences gained in university are priceless”

“I think everyone grows up a lot in college but I suppose because I got to spend the year away that was really important because it was a different college experience and I suppose that helped me grow up a lot.”

Although many of us will feel we have grown up since starting college it can be hard moving on from college to new beginnings.

This is especially true for UCD graduates in 2009; who leave university with the spectre of recession hanging over them. Whereas before students from many different degrees may have gone straight into the workforce, graduates now are considering further study or travel.

Taylor, who hopes to go on to do a Masters in Journalism after her degree, says that the recession certainly affects her plans for next year.

“It has encouraged me more to stay in college and do a Masters as opposed to going straight into the workforce.”

Emma Kennedy, who is studying Economics and Psychology, is of the same opinion; she hopes to go on and study a “Masters in fashion buying in Dublin Insititute of Technology” but admits that the current economic climate affects her plans upon finishing her degree in UCD.

“The recession has hit the retail sector hard … I am more concerned about staying in education for the next two years than trying to find a job.”

The recession certainly presents students graduating with more barriers than before. Jobs are scarce and perhaps a bachelor degree will no longer be qualification enough. However students graduating this year do have something to be grateful for and that’s the fact that they won’t be faced with the newly implemented third-level education fees.

Michael Fahey is aware that the introduction of fees is “going to impact on a lot of people coming in next year” and states that “it’s a pity the politicians didn’t listen.”

Although some view the introduction of fees as necessary, they are glad to have experienced free college education and Taylor is of this opinion.

“I think at the moment with the economic situation, if fees are the necessary thing to implement then they have to be implemented. I don’t think [fees are] a terrible thing, I do feel sorry for a lot of people coming to college now, where we got free fees.”

From when we begin our university career until we finish, many changes occur as we mature and grow up but also in the society around us. Although many of us will embark on further studies or go travelling, it seems clear that the memories had and experiences gained in UCD won’t be forgotten.

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