Diarmuid is an academic scholar at the UCD Ad Astra Academy.
Highlights of student life so far?
It’s a bit of a toss-up between winning Intervarsity medals with the Athletics Club for Shot Putt and Triple Jump, and being elected Auditor of the UCD Traditional Music Society (TradSoc) for this year. Both take up an awful lot of my free time, but I enjoy being involved; it gives me a chance to develop skills, experience, and friendships outside of the field of medicine. The auditor job in particular is giving me some valuable, hands-on experience in leadership, management, and budgeting that I hope will benefit me into the future.
A typical day:
So far this year, no two days have been the same. Most days revolve around lectures, training for athletics, and dealing with TradSoc business. The early part of the week, up to Wednesday usually involves lectures in the morning, and trying to balance TradSoc events and planning for events, training, and study. Thursday and Friday are mainly about the coursework. I’m in until 5pm most Thursdays with dissections and CAL practicals, and usually have a lot of Friday lectures. I usually use the weekend to catch up on the study from the week, relax a small bit, and to plan the week ahead, although the focus shifts to the coursework a bit more towards the end of the semester.
Benefits of the Ad Astra Programme:
Obviously, the financial side of things is a big bonus; it means I can live on campus, and avoid taking a part-time job during the school term, which is a big help both with study and getting involved in societies. It does mean there is extra pressure on me the whole time, and I’m often working (or attempting to work!) when the class has a social night. Also, the supports and seminars given by the Ad Astra programme are extremely helpful – I came into the Ad Astra programme after the Leaving Certificate Appeals, and I found their approach extremely personable and individually targeted. The seminars have been great – it’s clear that they put a good bit of thought and effort into arranging speakers and seminar topics.