Why fourth year is actually the best year of college

Here’s one for my fellow UL crators.

Everyone knows fourth year is tough.  You go into it expecting it to be a nightmare work-wise, and you’re more or less right.  But there are some good points too.

1.  You’ve probably known most of your college friends for two or three years at this stage, meaning proper friendships have been established.  Yurt.

2.  You’re at the stage where you can be yourself with these friends so much that you can let all of the weird out and they’re just used to it now.  (It may even have rubbed off on them.)  Maybe some people did this in first year, but generally for the first few weeks, or even months, most people probably try to tone down any of their crazy, until they can judge how it’ll be perceived, and then unleash it gradually, once they have people trapped in friendships.

3.  You know your way around campus with no trouble whatsoever.  Apart from the main building.  That’s just a maze.

4.  You also probably have a decent idea of how you’ll do in your degree, after having sat a few exams over the past three years.  So if you’re stressing over your grades, you know it’s because you have a certain chance of getting a first degree honours, second or third, etc.  Rather than the panicking that may have happened earlier on in college, having literally no idea what to expect, or if there was a bell curve, or if you’d get a high mark if you just used the subjunctive enough times in French.  Now you kind of know the craic, so you can either relax a bit, or work your ass off while knowing that it will pay off and knowing almost exactly how much work you need to do and how much time you can dedicate to having the craic, focusing on clubs and societies or simply throwing shapes in Icon.

5.  You are a much wiser individual at this point in time, having done three years in college.  For example, if you’re a girl, you now know that a good warm coat is key on a night out, whereas in first year you seemed to have no idea that it got cold in Ireland at night time.

6.  It’s your last year in the place so you and most others in your year are probably going to try to enjoy it.  Craic all over the shop, I’m tellin’ ya.

7.  If you’re doing languages in UL, you get your very own weekly discussion groups all for you fourth years and nobody else (I know right?!  Unreal!) so you don’t have to deal with first year plebs who intrude on your valuable language practice time without even having ‘travelled the world’ first, which of course is a thing you can say you’ve done, if you went to at least one or two countries on co-op and/or erasmus, like the cultured fecker that you are.

8.  If anyone is annoying you, impeding your study or simply occupying a valuable space when the library is full, you now have the right to literally dropkick them out of the library from Week 10 onwards.

Actually maybe google that last one, I’m not 100% sure if it’s right.

Yera.

So, fellow fourth year cratoreens, have an unreal year, and mind yerselves – always remember of course that UL has a free counselling service (like most colleges in Ireland), as well as a number of bars on campus, both potentially useful for when times get tough.

Coin Flip

On Sunday, my inability to make a decision finally resulted in me choosing to flip a coin, to help me figure out what I wanted.  And I’d been told that when you flip a coin to make a serious decision, it results in you generally realising what you want before the coin even lands.  Maybe that knowledge messed it up for me because in the time the coin was flipped into the air, spun and caught, all my mind was telling me was “I don’t know”.  I actually couldn’t decide.  The coin failed.  I failed.

Except I think I just had a delayed reaction to the coin flip, or it it didn’t have the same effect because I was so aware that it was going to make me decide so I panicked, was sort of scared, and couldn’t think.  Even a minute later, when I was told the coin had said ‘heads’ – which we had chosen to mean I would stay in France for the year – my reaction was disappointment.  I knew that it would have been the same if they had said it was tails, but from that moment on, and taking into account some advice from college friends who’d all already made their decisions long ago and without much difficulty, I started seriously thinking about leaving my erasmus at just one semester, instead of extending it to two.

I think I made my mind up on the day, within  an hour of  the coin flip, but I’ve been pondering it since to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to stay for the year, or come back to this town to live here for a while, but I think going home is the right decision.  If I stayed it would probably make college much more difficult, between various modules, and most of all, the equivalent of a thesis that we have to write at some point in the next year and a half.  Seeing as it’s half of third year and all of fourth year we’re talking about here, I’d rather not make things any more complicated than they should be.

I’ve had a massive weight lifted off my shoulders after that anyway.  Fully recommend making serious decisions at least a few days before the deadline (and no later) to everyone.  Except that’s generally what people do, isn’t it?  Yeah…  Well, I tried.  This is a much better result than my last few major academic decisions, which were made either on deadline day, or when it was too late.  Great day for the parish.

Full Year Erasmus – Yay or Nay?

I struggle  so much with decisions that for my next serious one – that of staying on erasmus for a year or not – I’ve decided to compile a list of pros and cons for staying, and, in an attempt to make it even more accurate to what on earth would be best, I’ve actually weighted each pro and con by giving them a value based on how important they actually are.  Yeah I’m not even joking I honestly feel the list is necessary just to attempt to come close to a decision, and well, the weighting of each point just seems like the right to do to me and my apparently overly logical brain.

It makes sense, I swear.  I mean there were several arguments for and against that got zero points because they’re really not important in the grand scheme of things.

As it happens, I then discovered that as well as simply adding up the points for each side, I could also obviously change that into a percentage, and as we all know percentages are always more fun.  Go maths.

So, the current tally on the Full Year Erasmus – Yay or Nay? vote stands at:

Yay:  54%

Nay:  46%

Does that kind of highlight my indecision, just a tad?  I mean it couldn’t be much closer, it’s like the Scottish referendum all over again.

And I haven’t even finished the pros and cons list, not quite.

If I hadn’t weighted each pro and con, it would have resulted in the no vote being up 0.65% to a round figure of 47% versus 53% for a yes to staying for a year.

(I’m clearly having withdrawal symptoms ever since I stopped studying maths back when I finished school, leave me be.)

At this rate I’ll nearly have to resort to doing what I feared I’d end up having to do and just flip a coin over it.  And I’m not doing that…  I hope.

I’ve got about a week to make up my mind.  Wish me luck.

Any if you’ve any thoughts on whether a full year erasmus might be a good idea or not, feel free to let me know!

Facebook Birthdays

(Disclaimer:  I’m probably not as angry as you may think I am about this after reading this post, like a lot of what I write here, it’s not meant to be taken too seriously!)

It irritates me when Facebook points out people’s birthdays to me.  For a number of reasons.  First of all, it’s patronising.  You think I’m not going to remember my best friend’s birthday?  Wow.  Thanks.  Concerned that I’ll forget my one of my brothers’ birthdays?  Okay, I may not have been alive when he was born, so I can’t remember that exact day, but I have since been filled in on when his birthday is, and remember it.  A lot of people seem to do this.  It’s not that difficult.

Secondly, let’s say I don’t know when someone’s birthday is.  But Facebook tells me.  That seems kind of useful, right?  But now if I wish them a happy birthday, it’s just because I’ve been told to.  That doesn’t count.  It’s like when people purposefully remind you that it’s someone else’s birthday.  Then it undoes any further birthday wishes offered after that moment.  I was going to remember on my own, okay?

Another problem with Facebook’s insistence on telling us all when everyone’s birthday is, is that I get told about lots of people’s birthdays.  Most of whom, I’ve wished a happy birthday to on Facebook at least once or twice already.  I assume, at this stage, that they just know the drill.  Yes, I hope you have a great birthday.  No, I am not bothered writing it on your Facebook wall again, unless you’re a close friend and I’m going to write something with a bit more thought put into it than “happy birthday <name>”, with an optional smiley face thrown in.

This may seem a bit strange when this practice of wishing people a happy birthday as a once off doesn’t happen much in ‘real life’, but consider the fact that I may barely have seen the person in question since I last wished them a happy birthday, on Facebook.  It doesn’t matter any more if I say it to them or not.  It’s not going to have an impact on them if I don’t.

…You might be able to tell, but I’m not really one for celebrating my own birthday, hence the general lack of fuss about birthdays in general on my part.

The notifications, when sent, are the worst.  So now we don’t even need to remember to look at the top right corner of the screen to see if it’s someone’s birthday, we actually get a little virtual nudge and an update telling us whose birthday it is today.  Why do we even bother with these ‘brain’ and ‘memory’ things we have?  Sure Facebook will remember things for us, there’s no need to prevent our memories from getting worse all the time because of technology – technology’s going to allow us to survive without even having a decent memory.

I read too much into these things.

Happy birthday to everyone ever, I hope all of your birthdays are fantastic.  There, I think that covers everyone.