So here I am four weeks into my tenure as a post grad student in UCD.  I am under strict instructions to myself to ‘embrace the student Modus Operandi!’, as it’s clear that this opportunity may not present itself again, so enter Belfield  2020 and a postgrad cert. 

I had frequented UCD before, the bar actually, many years ago, as most of my peers from secondary school attended here. I attended one of the several, DITs that were sprinkled around the city, which were impish in comparison. So, stepping foot on the bedrock of Belfield many years later as a student myself, I won’t lie, totally freaked me out. But fortunately, by day three I was hooked. There is no reason to leave campus (and this has since been confirmed by a live-on-campus-student). It has bloody everything! A bar, a gym, a swimming pool, a book shop, various food outlets, a cinema, hell it even has its own radio station. So, to embrace the backpack, the first thing on my list of things to do was to explore a few societies. After careful examination of the societies website (lads, did you know there are over 84?), I picked my top three: Nutrition (for the science nerd in me), mature students (well ya know, I’m sucking it up for the team) and Italian (ho qualche parola).

Luckily for me, the nutrition society hosted a healthy eating week two weeks ago with some cool events happening around campus and an engaging talk given by Daniel Davey, nutritionist for Leinster Rugby and Dublin Football teams. Methodical brain satiated! Check!

To the Italians… I sent an email (in Italian) ma aimé, they are not responding. Ma dove siete amici? Even after having a look on Facebook, which let’s be honest has all the answers, the most recent event posted was in 2016. Che triste. Trovatemi ragazzi, vi aspetto!


Next mature students. Within thirty seconds of contacting this society, the lovely Carla emailed back with a fervent response. Carla is now my new UCD BFF. She even offered to give me directions whenever needed (always needed Carla!). What’s on offer: pilates, crafts and coffee (who doesn’t love crafts and coffee?) and career workshops. All very practical and necessary. The Mother Hubbard of societies. Bless. 

On another note, I had a go at the sports centre and had my hand held, not literally, by a wonderfully smart and assertive undergrad, who very kindly assisted me with the online induction (who ever heard of an online induction for a gym?). But seriously lads, even if you have absolutely no desire to get sweaty in the sports centre, I highly recommend completing the online gym induction, if only for a go at the multiple choice questions: some of the answers are a hoot! Back to my helper (In fact I wonder if she knows Carla? They are cut from the same soft and fuzzy cloth! More of that please), she walked me from the Sports Centre to the Computer Science Centre via the O’Brien Centre. Honestly, finding her was like unearthing a scrunched-up fiver in my back pocket. She retrieved me from A and delivered me to B successfully. If I could have put her in my pocket and brought her home with me, I would have. I told her that and she proclaimed that all undergrads receive a peer led induction when they start at the university! Excuse me? Eh? Hello?! UCD Management? What led you to believe that us aul ones could do without this sliver of support? How were we omitted from this faction? This blessed abyss is astronomical and if anyone requires a piece of peer led induction, we do! 

Right I’m off to have a game of chess by the lake after, of course, my session in the gym. Come on Body Pump in studio 3! Let’s be having ya!


Rachel Thornburgh – Mature Student Columnist

2 thoughts on “Mature Student Diaries: Trying out that whole Society Thing

  1. Great article Rachel. Congrts on taking on a post grad. I love how you’ve embrased all the college has to offer as you study.

  2. I was a mature student back in 2011 did joint major history archaeology and then ma in gender studies best thing I ever did made some great likewise minded people and good friends made best of luck with post grad Marie treacey Ma2016 doing art history dip at mo audit only i

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