By Rachel Garvey
February eh? A month that holds the romance-filled day known as Valentine’s Day, a month where the brightly coloured daffodils bring life to the green areas of our little city. For others, it sparks the proper start to the new decade, as the trial month of January has now come to an end. That’s February in a nutshell for the majority of people, but for students it means RAG Week. Ah yes, the week where lecture hall seats are sadly abandoned for the bar stools and soft booths in the pubs and various pre-drinking venues like houses and student accommodation.
I fondly remember being a little younger, in my early teens, driving around with parents and seeing crowds of students flock to the streets of Galway with cans of drink in their hand, laughing at nothing and everything and my parents would say, “Ah look it, they’re at it again because of that RAG Week”. I would just sit and stare and ponder on the whole concept of RAG Week and what it meant. My innocent mind just associated rags with Cinderella before her tremendous transformation before the ball, but this reference was nowhere near the actual meaning of it. Then, many years later, I became a student and understood more of it. I experienced sitting in the front row of a lecture hall without eyes burning into the back of my head, because there was no-one behind me to do that and then a few days later, I would have a flood of people begging me for class notes they had missed out on. I always ended up turning over my notes because I just couldn’t decline.
This is a fact: when I attended college, I never ever took part in RAG Week’s festivities. Not one drink did I have, not one pub or club did I go to, but I merely stood back and experienced if from a distance. That is experience enough for me, thanks very much!
However, I can’t be completely biased and say I’m all against it. That’s not true, because some days, it’s a goal to go out during that time. You won’t know if you like something unless you try it first. There are disadvantages, but the advantages too. The advantages being that it’s okay to blow off steam and to have fun on the town with friends for however long you see fit (I honestly don’t know how people can do it for days on end). Galway’s nightlife becomes even more alive and it’s that life that creates an addictive atmosphere, as well as generating a healthy income into businesses. Now, I’ll spare you the details of the disadvantages, but I will say this:
1. Look after yourselves on those days and nights out. Something can go wrong faster than you think, so staying with your group of friends will ensure your safety
2. Drink only what you’re comfortable with and don’t exceed that limit for anyone
3. Mind your possessions and keep them close, there has been major upset caused in the past with many phones and wallets going missing
4. Have respect for yourself on a night out and respect for those around you. Don’t go breaking bottles down shop street ‘fore the fearsome poor girl in heels gets a piece of glass wedged in her foot or outside an elderly person’s home; anti-social behaviour like that scares them, so be mindful.
5. Just have fun without overdoing it! It’s part of the student life but have fun in the sense that you won’t do something you’ll regret doing!
On an end note, have fun and be safe! Cinderella ditched her rags for glass slippers and a glimmering dress. It’s not the worst thing in the world if you lose a shoe before midnight, but just make sure you have a pair of flats in your bag, because I hardly think Prince Charming will be running all over Galway and trying the shoe on every single girl’s foot to see which one it fits.