Dublin and Doing It Last Minute

7 February 2019

Having left things a little last minute, History student Joanna commences her year abroad in Dublin before taking to the stage!

joanna blog

Monday the 27th of August. Somewhere in between promptly waking up at 11am, eating an unsatisfactory bowl of cereal, and brushing my teeth, I realised that orientation at the University College Dublin campus starts on Tuesday, 4th September. That gave me eight whole days to prepare literally everything.

Oh no.

In that moment I was:
> ticket-less
> accomodation-less
> still not registered for my classes

Oh no, but louder this time.

So maybe I was entirely too reliant on the previous years’ student, who said UCD is weirdly dependent on last-minute decisions. Maybe it’s not the best idea for me to completely confirm that knowledge, and consequently encourage procrastination to any potential students who might want to come here next year… 

The agenda for Monday the 27th therefore included buying a ticket to Dublin (a whopping £15.99), and figuring out what I’m even going to study - considering 3 of the modules I intended to take were already at full capacity. And maybe, just maybe, glancing over the mounds of paperwork piling in my UCL email. (Pro Tip: don’t leave paperwork for last minute, you deserve to be relaxed in the days before your flight).

Believe me when I say sometimes you just have to force yourself through unpleasant experiences - after all, I somehow survived my dreadful Monday of organising a cross-country move within a week of my departure.

The flight, for the record, was wonderfully short but painfully early, and my arrival at a cheap hostel south of the city centre went without a hitch. I immediately dropped off my suitcases and ventured to explore the city.

Granted, I didn’t go particularly far on my first expedition, but a 30 minute radius of my hostel was quite enough for someone who slept for all of 3 hours. Yet within those first streets I discovered a crazy amount of music shops that had me itching to buy a guitar, a couple adorable cafes with the most welcoming atmospheres, and most importantly the scene of my first ‘night out’ in Dublin: the International Bar.

The International Bar

The International Bar hosts a variety of events on a daily basis - open mic nights called ‘The Circle Room’; stand up comedy; Jazz nights. So of course I rushed back to my hostel and convinced the one girl I had befriended earlier that morning to accompany me to the free entry open mic. This was only my first mistake of the evening. It only took two pints of Guinness for me to perform a shaky rendition of some sad love song to a crowd of artsy drunks. It was totally embarrassing - and at the same time exhilarating. 

It hit me in that first night that getting up on the stage encapsulated the point of your year abroad: to do things you normally wouldn’t do. So if you’re here next year, and ever find yourself in need to break out of your London routine, I’d strongly suggest exposing yourself to the compassion and criticism of complete strangers. It’s incredible and electrifying, and completely summarises my first impression of the city.

By Joanna Pruchniewska.