As the first Horizons guinea pigs walk out of UCD’s gates as graduates, and an eager bunch of freshers struggle to find their feet in our concrete jungle, it’s impossible to esape the fact in the coming months, all of us will have to step up to challenges that we never could have imagined.
The most daunting of these tasks can be something that sounds easy, for example, speaking your mind in tutorials or signing your free time away to a sports club or debating society. UCD is a community unto itself, one of 25,000 people and it can be a scary step to take to put yourself out into that society at first.
However, students who do risk those moments of embarrassment are thoroughly rewarded. University life presents an all-too-fleeting opportunity to gain a wealth of new experiences, naturally, some good and others bad, but these are adventures that shape the person you are when you put on your morterboard for graduation.
There are lecturers who will open your mind to ways of thinking that will stay with you for the better throughout your life, and there are friends who will inspire you to attempt, and succeed at trials that you never thought possible.
Yet, you will have to step out of your comfort zone to find them.
UCD appears to be verging on an unstable era; whispers and rumours of cutbacks, budget deficits and what results they stand to have are clouding around Belfield. Ruffled feathers seemed to smoothen since the chaotic induction of Horizons, however with talk of a recruitment ban and of course, thoughts of the introducion of third level fees, both staff and students are continuing with their daily routine while being unable to escape from the uncertainty of their futures.
Where there is dialogue however, it is vital that we embrace it if we are to stand any chance of striking a deal which will be acceptable to each side, university administration and staff, elected officials and students. A durable solution will only be reached through discourse as neither side can proclaim victory simply by shouting the loudest.
If students are to prove to the government that their investment in our education has and will remain worth every cent, we have no choice than to listen, ask strategic questions and make our case in strong, yet peaceful terms. Protest can be a powerful tool, when used in the correct manner. Storming government buildings will do us much more harm than good.
A university degree is not something to be belittled. Yet what you learn in theatre L raises the stakes, and it is now your responsibility to see the bet and raise it with judgement grounded in experience . Education is found in lecture halls but also in the many restaurants, bars and apartments you’ll visit over the coming years. Take a risk to find it and you will be handsomely rewarded.
The University Observer
Student Centre, UCD, Belfield,
Telephone: 01 716 3119/3120