A Final Farewell

Saturday July 26th 2014

Swapping vest tops for woolly jumpers, and flip flops for boots, it’s hard to believe that by the time you’re reading my final blog as a Michaela Foundation Scholar that this year has come full circle once again. We wave goodbye to whatever summer we had, if you would define warm-ish rain as summer I suppose. Old friends pack up again to head for the shores as they begin university once again in their own different cities, and me, well, it’s back up to the Big Smoke for another year of craic, memories, friendships, oh and another 10% of my degree of course. However this time I’m bringing my baby brother with me – WOOP WOOP! And on that note, congrats to the brainbox that he is, sailing into Queens with 3A’s to study Business Economics. (Talk about feeling like the lesser sibling). So now that Mammy and Daddy have allowed both their babies to run wild in the big city, I think despite their attempts to tell us how glad they’ll be of the peace and quiet, deep down they really will miss the tortures that we are.

Looking back on the year that has just passed, it is genuinely phenomenal to think about how much has changed, and how many people I am indebted to for all their help and support throughout.

To Granny and Granda – thank you for setting all of your 17 Grandchildren such a wonderful example for us all to follow.  Your words of wisdom and encouragement have allowed me to develop and grow in my own faith since I was knee high. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that my being presented with the opportunity to be welcomed on board the Student Awards Scheme Programme was as a result of your encouraging me to talk about my faith openly with you and others. Although we didn’t always agree that writing out the Hail Mary and learning it off by heart was the way forward, it definitely provided me with the foundations I needed to move forward with my own faith. And not forgetting my main woman up above. I know we haven’t been able to see you for a while now Granny but rest assured I’m sure that you’re looking down on us all and Lord knows you’ve pulled me out of some seriously sticky spots. The plaque that still sits on your mantelpiece reminds me of you day and daily – if I know what love is, it’s because of you.

To Mammy and Daddy – thank you for, quite frankly, putting up with me. From my previous blogs it’s fairly apparent that Belfast and I didn’t always see eye to eye, particularly at the beginning of the year. I came home each weekend bringing with me my worries and stresses of the inevitable week that lay ahead, thinking about the next corridor I would get lost in, the next assignment I would struggle with, and the next god forsaken saucepan I would burn the bottom of. (Petty I know, but at the time this was a problem big enough to reduce a gal to tears). A quote on our living room wall reads, “Time spent with family is worth every second”, and although in the past year our time together was cut short in comparison to what we had been used to, guaranteed the weekends were precious. (Nothing to do with the fact that the weekend included a warm bed, fluffy sheets and a roast dinner…)

To my friends – thank you all for the last few years, and the last year in particular. Despite the changes we all had to go through and a workload the length of our arm up against us, by glory we had the craic girls. Who knew that we would ever learn to organise an electricity bill, a gas bill, make our own dinner, pay rent, buy groceries, get up in time to make it to Uni AND make our beds, and best of all, make the life changing decision mid-class , of what outfit the doors of Scratch would be graced with that night. I think it’s fair to say that in the last year we’ve all grown up and are now ready to take on the world of work …. LOL! Just kidding. But at least we can manage to make it to and from class now without getting lost. Baby steps.

A group of people to whom I owe endless thank yous is of course, the Michaela Foundation themselves. Never in a million years did I think I would be blessed enough to become so heavily involved in such a unique and special charity, and especially to be thrown into the mix alongside five other incredible young people, whom I can only describe as inspirations to me and many other young Gaels alike. Aoífe – I’ll miss my monthly struggle to make out whatever bits and bobs of fluency you left for us in your blogs, forever well jeal of your líofa-ness. Yep, I just said líofa-ness. Soz gal, I know you’d be ashamed. Stephen – I’ll miss your monthly updates of travels around the world and your shenanigans in whatever country you find yourself in. I’m a home bird myself, but you definitely inspire me to cast the net a bit further afield. Fionnuala – I’ll miss your family stories. Not once have I ever met the Conwells but I genuinely feel like one of them from reading all your blogs. You never fail to make me laugh talking about your antics and it’s a great encouragement to know somebody misses their family as much as I do whilst at Uni! Áoise – I’ll miss your words of wisdom. I’ll never forget what you said when talking about being able to manage alcohol in moderation whilst coping with the pressures of binge drinking at university. High five gal, you did a phenomenal job. Finally, Killian … I’ll see you back at the Ranch in September… Just kidding! Thank you for the friendly face that you never failed to give me in the corridor – you were the encouragement I needed to know that this whole Uni thing was going to work out to be okay. You always were a cool, calm, collected kinda guy. To all of you – thank you for the craic and all the very best for whatever your futures hold for you. I’ve no doubt that we’ll all keep in close contact in the years ahead.

I don’t really know how to finish off here, as it’s impossible to believe that this is the last piece I’ll ever write for the Michaela Foundation. The best I can come up with is to leave you with the words of my Irish teacher throughout secondary school, she dragged me by hook or by crook to an A so she has to be a wise woman – ‘Bigí maith, agus slan anois’. ‘Be good, and cheerio’.