Fionnuala’s first blog
Yikes! The time has come for me to put pen to paper for my first ever Michaela Scholar blog. Where has the month of September gone? Embarking on the next chapter of my life, to study Human Nutrition at University of Ulster Coleraine, has been exciting and emotional. Who knew that starting university would be so hectic? Accommodation to sort, clothes to buy, a room to furnish, pennies to save…the list goes on. However I had a shocking discovery to make! Since when has a landlord not provided a duvet?! Earth to Fionnuala, Fionnuala to earth! It’s clear I have a lot of learning to do about becoming a student.
The excitement of being a Fresher is something else! Like many students I have raided B&M bargains and Poundland. I have grown a pair of student eyes as I’m now a keen bargain hunter to say the least. My new room is kitted out and of course my mummy has Our Lady’s statue, the holy water and my Rosary beads pride of place.
As a student, I had many harsh realities to learn. I now have a new house in Portstewart and for the first time in my life I have to think about oil, electric, water and rates. Rates? The only time I had used the word ‘rate’ was when me and my best friend Sarah used to rate boys out of 10!! I could be de-friended after naming and shaming!!
There was a great buzz about receiving my house keys and moving in. I feel lucky as my student house is definitely above average and it’s also located right beside the beach which is a bonus!! But we weren’t expecting there to be a visitor waiting for a house warming party when we arrived. What could only be described as a tarantula was chilling in our kitchen sink.
Needless to say I was not the one who disposed of it! The buzz of getting my house sorted seemed to take my mind off leaving home for the first time. I have always been a home bird and so when the big day came I was an emotional wreck! I’m only an hour away but this was a massive step for me. However it was very comforting that I was moving in with my good friend Kerrie from Loreto. She had the kettle on and the tissues ready when I arrived! We stayed down for our registration week to get used to our new gaff and it was great. No more homesickness, yayyyy!
We had our first night out on the tiles at ‘The Anchor’ Bar in the Port. It was class! However, Kerrie and I were wondering why people were looking at us strangely as soon as we walked in. As we were getting our bearings and deciding where we should mingle, we realised we were blocking the big flat screen T.V that was broadcasting football!! Awkwardly shuffling, we finally got out of the way! Everyone was so excited to finally be down and to get to know each other so the place was pumping. We were talking to a bar man from Tyrone and were even contemplating competing in the karaoke competition! Maybe next time- watch this space! I thought it was best not to scare everyone away on my first appearance.
So registration day came… I forgot what it felt like to be a first year again! All my nerves were soon put at ease as everyone was welcoming and friendly. The University is so well sign posted that there was really no need to worry about looking like a fish out of water. The place was a hive of activity with students bustling here and there; logging into the computers for the first time and of course queuing to get their photograph for their dreaded student cards. CRINGE. I have always heard other people complain about their student cards and now I understand why. Even the man who snapped my picture laughed!
Freshers’ Fair is right around the corner and it seems to be all the talk with the first years. I can’t wait to get my name down for the Gaelic and Netball teams. It will be a great opportunity to make new friends and keep fit.
The oil in my new house isn’t exactly working yet, the joys of student life! I better go run up and down the stairs a few times to heat up!!
As I begin a new chapter in my book of life, I plan to live with the 3 E’s and the 3 F’s;
Energy, enthusiasm, empathy
Faith, family, friends.