Aoife’s first blog

Tuesday October 1st 2013

MEÁN FÓMHAIR 2013- AOÍFE NÍ SHIADHÁIL

It’s funny how all the preparation, anticipation and imagination in the world cannot properly prepare you for saol an mhic léinn. I’ve barely been on the DCU campus 24 hours and already I feel as if I am walking in someone else’s shoes. This really is a far cry from the small village of Kerrykeel in the north of Donegal where I have lived my entire life. So much has happened in the past week that it seems impossible for me to relay it all in 750 words. Even more overwhelming is the fact that I am even sitting down to write this. I don’t know if I am expected to come up with some profound words of wisdom or some little nugget to pull the wool over your eyes and pretend that I’m anything extraordinary. But I suppose the initial nervousness of writing words that I hope will reach out to people I have never met in my life simply mirrors the sentiments of every first year student in these first few weeks- I haven’t a notion what I’m at. That said, I cannot even begin to put into words how incredibly blessed I feel to have been chosen as a Michaela scholar. I’m trying to keep the clichés to a minimum here so believe me when I say that it means the world and I will leave it at that.

Sunday 22nd of September was lá na cinniúna. It was the day to move out of the comfortable bubble of Mammy’s dinners, double beds and dishwashers. Driving along the road towards Omagh with DCU as our final destination I reflected on how much has changed since the same time a year ago. Back then we were on the road to the big smoke too but on that bright Sunday in September we had Croker in our sights. Jimmy’s Winning Matches was blaring from the radio, our sixth green and gold car flag looked as if it might snap at any minute and the boot was packed to bursting point with ham sandwiches, flasks of tea and Tayto crisps. Standard day out in the life of any GAA family. Except it wasn’t. It meant so much more than that and thankfully our prayers were answered.

This year, however, countless thoughts were spinning around in my head as the car stalled to let a herd of cattle cross the road in front of us. What if I can’t manage to overcome my lack of domesticity and I set fire to the apartment trying to scramble an egg? What if I miss home too much and can’t cope on my own? What if everyone in my course is so much smarter that I am and I can’t keep up with the work? What if I am living with people who just want to get absolutely shteamin’ all the time and leave dirty dishes to gather mould by the sink? Le cuidiú Dé I wasn’t alone mellowing in my endless stream of what ifs.

For me, this summer has been a time for gaining perspective. It makes me sad to think that there are so many friends that I won’t see every day anymore and chun an fhírinne a rá I can’t express how much I will miss them. We have grown up together, shared so much with one another and made memories to last a lifetime. I have been blessed with the most amazing group of friends that God could give me and, for that, I will be eternally grateful.

There have definitely been ups and downs in these past few months and I am really beginning to feel like I am leaving childhood behind me. Only a couple of days ago the green hills of Tír Chonaill were thrown into poll dubh dorcha an duibheagáin as we lost one of our own, Conor Boyle. I didn’t have the priviledge of knowing Conor personally but the words of those who did have been more than enough to convey his charisma, spirit and cheeky sense of humour. It breaks my heart to see how another incredible young person has been taken from us in such a cruel way but I suppose we must attempt to find peace in the fact that he has gone to a better place, however difficult that may be. More than ever I understand the urgent need to embrace every day, climb every mountain and be the best version of myself that I can be. Please God I can remain true to those values ar an bhóthar fada atá ag síneadh amach romham.

It seems fitting that tonight, exactly a year to the day that Michael Murphy walked up the steps of the Hogan Stand and brought Sam home to the hills, I will don my green and gold jersey at the County and Country Colours night that is being organised by the Student’s Union here in DCU. So many mothúcháin are clamouring for the upper hand in my head right now but most of all I am full of hope that I have come to the right place. I know that not every day will be a good day but I can smile knowing that there is something good in every day.

Slán agus beannacht,

Aoífe