With making new friends and socialising being a huge part of college life, UL students who live in off-campus accommodation are finding it hard to get involved, writes An Focal's Caitlín Griffin.

UL provides six student villages, but there are several off campus options available to students too.

Parkview Hall, is situated on the Dublin Road and is a thirty to forty-minute walk from the university.

“I find that it is an awful trek to college and it’s especially hard when you have an early morning lecture,” Parkview resident Neil Doody said. “It would be ideal living on campus, particularly on rainy days because you fall out of your bed and you’re in college.”

It can be difficult for someone who lives so far away to motivate themselves to get up early and walk to college.

“The landlord here is very nice and obliging, and the apartments are spacious and modern, it’s just a shame we’re so far away from the other students.”

There are approximately eight UL students living in this particular accommodation.

“I think that because there are so little of us who go to UL here that it makes it harder for us to socialise with the other students in UL, because in fairness who is willing to come out all the way here if they live in Kilmurry?”

Making the most of the many facilities UL has to offer can also be difficult when you live so far away from college. For first years in particular, it’s disheartening to see people from your course, club or society meeting up on campus but it’s too dark to make the journey.

“Ideally a shuttle bus would be very handy to us, as the bus route is just not reliable but unfortunately, there just aren’t the numbers here for UL to accommodate us,” Neil added. “When I came to Parkview Hall, I suppose I wasn’t expecting that there would be so few students from UL living here. I feel like this experience would be a lot more enjoyable if there was.”

Parkview resident Aoife Callaghan feels that Parkview should not have been recommended on the UL website as it is too far away for most students. Her advice for people thinking about living off campus is to do research before putting down a deposit.

“I was under the impression that it was going to be all UL students here. I wouldn’t even have minded the distance if we could just have that social interaction with UL students.”

However, Aoife also feels that it is still much better than the alternative of living in digs.

“You have the freedom of living independently and a chance to somewhat feel like a typical student. We are lucky in a sense that we have accommodation because there are still students without accommodation who commute from different counties everyday. It’s just unfortunate it can be so isolating here.”

Story courtesy of UL's fortnightly student newspaper, An Focal