Thursday June 19th 2014

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my Summer holidays! (Woo!) but alas, when I’m writing it, this blog falls bang in the middle of exams (Boo!) So unfortunately, that has preoccupied my attention for most of the month! At the time of writing, I have 2 out of 3 over me, so at least I’m passed the half way mark! It’s all plain sailing from here on in, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking!

Exam time on campus is mental. I think I was more oblivious to it last semester as I only had the one exam so I just travelled to Belfast to sit the exam and back home straight after. Now, with 3 exams, the hours spent in the library are slowly quickly racking up. No matter where you go, you are sure to find a student who is trying to cram that last page of notes in before the exam. Don’t even talk to me about the McClay library. If you’re not there before 11am, there’s basically no point in even making the journey there as you will not find out a seat! Walking around 4 floors including the ground floor multiple times allows for a great workout, but it’s not really the reason why I came to the library! No wonder it’s open 24 hours… The worst part, however, is sitting at the windows and looking out to Botanic Gardens, watching all the lucky sods who don’t have any exams or are finished. Once the temperature reaches double figures and the sun-worshippers come out in their droves!

Although the year has flew by, in what seems like the blink of an eye, I’m looking forward to the summer. Lounging about for 4 months sounds amazing, but you know what they say, you can have too much of a good thing. As Fionnuala said last month, just give me 2 weeks to get reenergised and I’ll be raring to go again! So I’m glad I have lots of plans for the Summer. After getting back from Hong Kong in late June, I have about 4 or 5 days to myself before I’m heading to Utrecht, just outside Amsterdam, in the Netherlands! I found out that I’ve been offered a place to attend a Summer School based on the theme of ‘Equality’. It was offered by the School of Law and runs for 2 weeks, and from the itinerary, it looks like there’s lectures, workshops and day-trips. It’s all based around either history, law, anthropology or sociology. A year ago, if you suggested it to me, I probably would have looked at you with a face of bewilderment, but now that I’ve had a year to learn about it, I’ve developed a real interest in it, so I’m certainly looking forward to it. I return home on a Saturday, and then the Michaela Camps start on the Monday immediately after it! Safe to say it’ll be a busy 6 weeks! At least then I’ll have August to recharge the batteries!

A few blogs ago, I talked about a programme I was taking part in, called ‘Inspiring Leaders’. Well, I said I would let you know when that was over and last month, I attended a short graduation evening. 28 others and I completed the programme and some of us, including myself, obtained Degree Plus. Seeing that I’m only first year, it’s great to get that out of the way so early and have something extra when I graduate (or should I say if I graduate…??) At the end of secondary school, I was delighted to obtain the Pope John Paul II Award and since coming to University, I’ve loved being able to continue with volunteering – sometimes you don’t even realise that you’re doing it! So in addition, I received a certificate for 50 hours volunteering issued by Millennium Volunteers. The next goals is to build on this and eventually obtain the 100 and 200 hours certificates, but it’s something that I’m really pleased with as it has all been hours that I’ve done since coming to university, either with Michaela Foundation or being involved in the QUB Michaela Foundation Society.

It wouldn’t be a proper blog without talking about the Belfast marathon. Most of the scholars talked about it in their last blogs, but I think I would wait and include it in this month. I was so proud of them all, with all their training and running in the rain. Besides, they all looked great in their jerseys 😉 Combine their running efforts with their ability to fundraise and they’re all superhuman! Huge congratulations to all of you Aoífe, Eiméar, Fionnuala and Killian! And a huge thanks to Áoise who sent the loveliest goody bags up to us, which were well needed on the day!

Summer is within touching distance! If you’re on your Summer holidays, take a well-deserved rest and put your feet up – you’ve earned it!

Until next month,

Stephen