I want to say straight off the bat that I’m all for improving UCC’s student facilities. The Student Hub sounds like a great idea, and I’m sure it will be, even if I won’t be around by the time it’s completed. But in building this new facility, UCC took away something sacred to me: the Gaol Cross entrance. See, I live on Western Road, right around the corner from Castlewhite. It’s too close to the main campus for me to reasonably complain (although I do, regularly), and yet it still boils my blood having to walk all the way up the hill to the Kane on a daily basis, and then fight my way through some extremely congested stairs. Look, I’m lazy. It adds at least another couple minutes to my walk to and from campus, there never seems to be any actual construction going on there, and it’s a matter of principle: some things simply shouldn’t be messed with.
They say you don’t truly appreciate what you have until it’s taken away from you, and that’s how I feel about the Gaol Cross entrance. I should have been more grateful when I made it onto main campus in less than two minutes, I should have acknowledged the contribution it made to my college life on a daily basis. I was naive; I didn’t recognise the privilege I had until I didn’t have it anymore.
I was at UCC Open Day last weekend, and, okay, I’m in final year so I’m allowed to complain about campus being crowded with 12 year olds, but despite all that, there was a good atmosphere around the place. Personally, it scares me I see people thinking about their options for the future RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, but I managed to get past that this year and actually brave the campus itself (via the Kane, I might add). It’s strange to be reminded this early in the year that, in a few short months, UCC will be a completely different place, with thousands of students leaving and a similar number arriving for the first time. There’ll be a lot of good times and a lot of hard times ahead of both groups, but at least the first years will probably have the Gaol Cross entrance back by then, the youthful shites.