The University of Life

Lanyon Building Gates – informatique – Flickr


For some people, their three years at esteemed bastions of education amount to little more than drinking, sex, more drinking, and hours spent aimlessly liking statuses on Facebook. If you’re soon to join the ranks of the student body, these are not the people you should aspire to imitate. The following is a list of things you can expect, both great and not so great, over the course of your time at Queen’s:

  1. Freshers’ Flu’: That week of partying, pub crawls, and experiments with making your own food all takes its toll as first semester starts. Second only to 'man flu' in terms of being generally annoying and pathetic. Treat with a phone call home, orange juice and a good night’s sleep.
  2. QSIS: Queen’s Student Information System. Only a destined few are chosen to understand QSIS – the rest of us muddle through and lose some hair in the process. There will inevitably be confusion, but don’t panic. The people that work for QSIS do their best to help, and once you’ve managed to register for classes, you don’t have to think about it for a whole blissful year.
  3. Nightlife: In Belfast, you’ll be greeted with a veritable pic’n’mix of pubs, clubs and pop up-bars. You’ll not go far wrong with the array of pubs in the Students’ Union, from a quiet afternoon drink in the newly-refurbished Speakeasy, to a night on the tiles in Mandela on a Monday. You could always drop in to Filthy McNasty’s, a quirky premises on the Dublin Road, just on the right side of hipster. The choice is endless, from the Belfast institution that is Lavery's to Ollie’s, or a more sedate drink at the Duke of York or Muriel’s, you’ll never be stuck for a place to blow some of that loan.
  4. Education: This should be your main focus while you’re at Queen’s. Being charged thousa

    nds means you should try and get as much out of your degree as possible. There is more freedom than you're probably

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  5. The McClay: Queen’s loves us so much that they spent oodles of millions on a fancy new library that Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs fame would faint over. Get used to the McClay, you’ll spend increasingly more time here as the years go on. The staff are friendly, the shelves are brimming, and the view of the Botanic Gardens in summer is almost too much to bear as you bury your head in notes. It’s even got its own resident ghost that you can follow on Twitter.
  6. Clubs and Societies: Partial to some wine and cheese? Join the aptly named Wine and Cheese Society. Always have to have your say on everything? The Literific (the colourfully renamed Debating Society) is for you. Into gaming? Lots of gaming? You can join the Dragonslayers. Queen’s is brimming with clubs and societies for you to take part in, even your very own Gown Independent Student Newspaper. Sign up, get involved and take part in what tickles your fancy. Don't miss the Freshers' Fair on 26th and 27th September!
  7. New friends: If you were a bit of a loner in secondary school, fear not. You will blossom into the social butterfly you were always meant to be. With thousands of students on campus, it will be impossible not to make friends during your time here. From acquaintances in class, to making best friends with the person who uses the shower just after you in halls, to finding your future life partner in the Students’ Union: your time at Queen’s will be full of new faces. If you’re shy, just remember that everyone else is in exactly the same position as you and not to worry. Just smile and say hello.

This list is not a definitive one. There are many more things you’ll come across during your time at Queen’s, but editors impose word limits for a reason, and you’ll have to wait to read about the QFT, those annoying people who hand you flyers every time you cross the road, and the glory of glories that is Boojum on Botanic. Whatever you choose to do while you’re at Queen’s, do it well. And if you can’t do it well, then enjoy yourself anyway.