Missing out on your first year of college is undeniably hard. We’re told college is meant to be the best years of your life, and one of those years has been taken away from us. Not only that, however, but we have also lost out on a crucial year of development, both socially and otherwise. 

Clubs and societies tried their best but there are only a certain amount of Zoom coffee mornings that a person can handle, particularly because of how difficult it was to make friends at such events. So of course, now most of us are nervous about the unknown going into our second year because we have little to no idea what to expect

Walking into Theatre L for my first ever lecture was probably the most anxious I’ve ever been. I do know a good few people in my course, but I imagined that trying to find them would be a nightmare because of the sheer amount of people around us. Also, going from seeing nobody but my family every day, to suddenly being surrounded by hundreds of people absolutely did not appeal to me. In all honesty, Covid has turned me into a *bit* of a recluse.

Thoughts that I’m sure many of my equally nervous second years had were ‘What if I couldn’t find a seat in the lecture, or, god forbid, have to ask somebody to stand up so I could get past them?’ or ‘What if the lecturer asks me a question?’ or even ‘What if I fall down the stairs!?’  However, going into my first lectures and seminars did thankfully alleviate some of my fears. I did find a seat, and asking somebody to move isn’t actually that bad and no stair falls just yet. 

Being around so many people is still so strange and I’m sure that feeling goes for any student back on campus after a year away, but I know I’ll get used to that soon enough. Even though my commute is only 15 minutes, it’s still tougher than just rolling out of bed (or sometimes not even), and my heart goes out to anybody with more than an hour of a commute, I don’t know how you guys do it!

Thankfully this year we won’t be missing out on much of the college experience. While that is definitely terrifying, it’s also pretty exciting as well! I am particularly excited about Freshers Week, so we can see what the societies really have on offer. I can’t wait to wander around the Fresher’s tent with my little bag of €2 coins and coming out with a stack of cards with discounts that I’ll definitely forget to use.

Being a second-year this year is a challenge, but it will get easier with time, which is something I’m sure all second years are greatly looking forward to!

Órla Slattery – Arts & Lifestyle Writer