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Gosh, I feel old. It's a long time since I was a student. Two decades in fact. How did that happen? It only seems like yesterday since I made my way up to UCD, so excited about the three years of fun that stretched ahead.

Now I see the new, fresh-faced students making their way up to the college and I feel sort of envious. The student years really are the best years of your life. Mind you, I wouldn't go back. Not now.

I couldn't be that broke again, living on beans or plain pasta. But I'd love to be a student again, even for a week.

I remember my first few weeks in college vividly. I joined every club and society you could think of. I recall joining a club called the Trampoline club. I'm not sure if it's still going strong, or even what you did there other than jump up and down on a trampoline, but you got a free beer when you joined. So that's why I signed up.

It's funny but I still bank in the same branch that I used as a student so in some ways, I still feel like I'm part of it all.


Last year I was up at UCD during Fresher's Week to lodge a cheque and an enthusiastic young fellow in an orange t-shirt asked me if I'd like to open a student bank account. I believe he mentioned I'd get a free balloon, a pen and a lollipop if I did so.

I felt flattered. To think I'd been mistaken for a teenager! I danced all the way home.

Looking back, I don't think I was a typical student at all. For starters I didn't drink. I had a few drinks during my first week, resulting in me jumping into the lake as a dare.

Afterwards I was so shocked at what I'd done that I simply didn't take a drop for the next three years. In fact I think I visited the UCD bar only once.

I had three jobs to support myself through college and they took up a lot of my spare time. I think I fell in love every week also.


There were gorgeous boys everywhere. Having come from an all-girls Catholic school, it was very exciting to be surrounded by so many chaps every day.

But the one thing I don't miss is the scramble for student accommodation every year.

Although I lived in Dublin it was not at all cool to live with your parents in college. So I would join the long, long queues for sub-standard accommodation and stand in the rain only to reach the top of the queue and be told 'it's gone'.

Landlords didn't particularly want to rent to students, and they still don't, so nothing much has changed there. There was no internet back then.

You rang an ad in the paper and turned up. It could take weeks to find something.

Then if you got somewhere you always had to make sure you'd enough coins handy for the electricity meter and the public phone in the hall. I remember even renting a TV by the week.

It was black and white as black and white TVs were cheaper.

Gosh, I really do feel old now.

Marisa Mackle