Fionnuala the Fresher on Faith

Friday November 15th 2013

Wow! Where has the time gone? It’s hard to believe that by the time you are reading this I will be commencing week 7 at University of Ulster Coleraine! I LOVE IT!

It is fair to say the past two months have been jam packed with fresher fun and it has made the time fly. I have definitely settled in and can safely say I am enjoying ‘uni life’. Making my way around the university is no longer a challenge and I don’t look like a tourist anymore! (Well at least I hope I don’t)!

I knew before I went to university that I would love to join the netball and ladies Gaelic teams. Not only is it a great way to keep fit, the social aspect is a massive bonus. The friends I have made from joining these two teams are definitely some friends I will have for life. Another bonus was that I got awarded vice captain of the netball team, what an honour!.. But with joining these two clubs, of course there would be initiation nights to be had. Well, well, well. What can I say? Our netball theme was ‘Ibiza zoo party’. We looked fab with our faces and arms painted in an animal print and we’ve the photos to prove it. ! We could be SPOTTed a mile off but the craic was 90! For our football night out though, we swapped the stilettos for wellies and the blouses for checked shirts. Yes, you guessed it, farmer theme hit the Port! These two nights were great bonding sessions and the elders of both teams made such an effort to include and welcome the first years. We have games fast approaching so everyone is training very hard, even in the pouring rain!!

I am blessed to have had an upbringing in faith all my life so I was determined not to let the fact that I had moved away from home stop me from practicing my Faith. There are Masses at the university twice a week but unfortunately I can’t attend as I have classes and lectures at those times. So I was forced to search further afield. I got the name of the local chapel from a poster in uni and it’s called ‘Star of the Sea’ in Portstewart. It is beautiful. Situated on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, I knew it was going to be special. I was delighted to google their parish and see that they offered Eucharistic Adoration. I was struck by the caption that accompanied the dates and times of prayer; ‘’Drop out of the rat race for one hour and drop into the tranquillity of the presence of the Lord.’’ I thought that it was so powerful and it struck a chord with me. God graces us 24 hours a day, that’s 168 hours a week!!!!The very least I could do is go for one hour and spend time in the true presence of Jesus. The hustle and bustle of University can sometimes be too much and after a hard day full of lectures, tutorials and practicals, it’s nice to have somewhere to reflect and to take time out.

Moving away from home and to a different university has obviously meant that I have formed new friendships. It is nice having friends who have the same interests as me in Nutrition and exercise! People ask me ‘Do you not miss all your friends in Belfast? and ‘Are you not missing out?’ It is hard when all my old school friends are in Belfast but I couldn’t be happier in Coleraine. A house by the beach, sure what more could a girl want? It gives me an excuse for a wee shopping spree in Belfast! But I don’t let the fact that I am 61.1 miles away from my best friend, Sarah (compared to 1.5 at home) stop me from staying in contact with her in the Big Smoke. With technologies like Facetime and Skype these days, communication is made easy! I still get the odd whatsapp during a lecture giving me a very detailed account of her antics the night before!  I am hoping to make a trek up the M2  sometime in the near future when my timetable calms down. I need to see what all the fuss is about! I am looking forward to a good catch up over a dinner date- I’ve heard Maggie Mays is some spot.

It’s that time of the week again where I raid mummy’s cupboards, with her permission of course! Meals on wheels!!!! The basic essentials like porridge and pasta should sustain me. I look forward to the big bowl of stew waiting for me on Friday evening when I get home! Nothing beats home comforts!