I survived my first year of uni exams! *Pats self on back*

Saturday June 28th 2014

This blog has been a lot more relaxing to write than the previous month, considering I only had two thirds of my exams completed (or one still to go if you looked at it from a ‘glass-half-empty’ angle, which seemed to be the case). At the time, it seems like the most stressful thing, but lo and behold, I survived my first year of uni exams! *Pats self on back*
As a result of that, I have officially finished my first year of university. The lectures are over, exams have been completed, and I have moved out of my accommodation. What a year it has been! Initially, it probably wasn’t what I was expecting, perhaps I overestimated things, but I from speaking to others, I think a lot of freshers experience the same feelings in that initial ‘change-over’ period. Fortunately it didn’t last too long and things soon fell into place. The main one being my decision to change courses. I did that way back in early October and I’ve had the best part of a full academic year to decide how that went. Thanks be to god, I really think it is one of the best decisions I have ever made (which is surprising as I am notorious for being insanely indecisive). At the same time, I know so many people are not able to say that. Whether it’s the fact that they don’t like their course, or they want to change, or even feeling like that they want to drop out completely, I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to be studying a course which I absolutely love and find so interesting with people who are great.
Saying goodbye to halls also proved to be a bittersweet experience. On one hand, I was sad to be leaving the flatmates I have lived with for the best part of a year (and a room where I don’t have to worry about leaving the heat on for too long.) Yet, on the other hand, I am also looking forward to living in a house next year, which should also be good fun. Suffice to say, I’d say a lot of students are overwhelmed and surprised by the amount of items (read: junk) they have accumulated over the course of a year.
This month has been a very special month as I have had the chance to meet a lot of the extended Michaela Foundation family. The first time was at the tea party held in Kelly’s Inn. Not only was it so enjoyable to put a face to a lot of names, but it was great to see how far Michaela Foundation has developed since its establishment, whilst enjoying a cuppa and a chat. In particular, it must be said that the brilliant Aoife and Killian each spoke with honour, humility and humour on their role as a Michaela scholar. It was truly refreshing to see what the student awards scheme meant to them in a personal and student capacity, and the benefits that they have received from it. It made me think about how the 6 of us and the scholars from last year all had each of our own reasons for applying. In addition, we all have our own strengths, weaknesses, talents and flaws, but this is something that unites us all. There is no uniform way to live any life, and as the saying goes: there is no dress rehearsal. But there are values which we can follow and hold dear to us  in order to lead a life without limits.
Fast forward to the next week, and all roads lead to Maynooth, Kildare for so many leaders in various counties at the Michaela Foundation’s girls summer camps for the national training weekend. This Summer, I’ll be volunteering at one of the Tyrone camps I’m Loreto Grammar School in Omagh, so it was a great chance to meet the rest of the team! It was great to see some familiar faces joining the ranks. However, it was not just limited to the best county (Tyrone, obviously) but I also got chatting to plenty of other leaders from other counties and other camps. I can’t put into words how exciting and energising the weekend was, and I remember thinking, just when I thought I couldn’t love Michaela Foundation any more, this weekend happens! One of the leaders summarised it perfectly at the end of the weekend before we said our goodbyes, “Once you get involved with Michaela Foundation, you’re hooked”. It goes without saying that I’m counting down the days to the camps in late July!
Aside from not having to worry about exams, it’s also strange to be writing this blog outside of Ireland for once. I have just passed the half way mark on my holiday to Hong Kong and I’m loving every minute. Travelling for just over 26 hours is just a wee bit exhausting, but it was worth it once we arrived. So far, I’ve already been to some of the tallest skyscrapers, visited authentic street markets and lets not forget – every child’s (read: adult’s) dream: to visit Disneyland. Shockingly, I’ve never really  watched many Disney films as a child, never mind actually visiting the theme parks, but that has been one of the most enjoyable days so far, especially going on Space Mountain for the 3rd time! I also had to endure waiting for exam results whilst here, along with 2 of my friends, Aimée and Andrew, who are also students receiving results. However, it went well for all 3 of us and we all passed! At least now we can get beck to enjoying the rest of the trip.The second half should feature more theme parks, zoos and aquariums, cable cars, and Big Buddha statues. I would definitely recommend Hong Kong as a destination for the old Bucket List!
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That draws this month of day trips to London, saying goodbyes to friends moving away and celebrating passing my exams and first year. Who knows what next month will bring? One thing is for sure, it’s going to busy. To be honest, I’m just looking forward to the copious amounts of sleep in August!!