Students Overheard

Friday February 7th 2014


I suppose I should begin this month’s blog le focal nó dhó about my first set of university exams but le bheith ionraice, the less said about them the better! It was strange at first sitting exams as Béarla because I did my Leaving Cert as Gaeilge. I was seriously tempted to throw in a few seanfhocail or an impressive little tuiseal ginideach uimhir iolra just for old time’s sake but I managed to contain myself. That said, encountering someone a few days later who asked me what country I was from when they saw my name made me wish I had had my little moment of réabhlóid. In reality it was much the same as any other set of exams with the few weeks of study preceding them and the anticipation of sitting down in the huge sports hall with the paper in front of you being the worst part of the experience. The main thing now is that they are over and, in keeping with one of my new year’s resolutions, I am trying to forget about them and not worry until I have to (this resolution is going swimmingly, not).

When it came to exam time, not having the comfort of mo thuismitheoirí to keep me calm meant that DCU’s Interfaith Centre became my refuge. There is daily mass at 1.05 which suited perfectly with the majority of my exams beginning at 2pm. That hour or so beforehand is when I typically feel the féileacáin and start rushing around trying to cram more information into my head when really what I know at that point is what I know an hour later. I am quite a ‘stressy’ person (understatement) so the serenity and peace I found in those masses was a real blessing and I strongly believe that it was what kept me calm in am an ghátair. It is times like this that I am so grateful for the faith that I have because sometimes it’s all you need just to get through the day.

To jazz thing up a bit this month I decided to do something a bit different that would hopefully be a little lighter than my usual ramblings and that would easily convey what life as a mac léinn is really like. I considered doing a sort of “dinner diary” but then I realised that that would be more or less committing myself to spinsterhood for the rest of my life. Instead I put together some little snippets I’ve picked up anseo is ansiúd and settled on my version of ‘students overheard’.

  • “Love being back at college. Every second hour is nap hour and pasta is fasta.”
  • “You always have to make your bed in Larkfield because you need somewhere to sit and eat your dinner.”
  • “I have a green pepper at home and I just really wish it was red.”
  • “Did you know if you leave a bowl of beans in your fridge for 3 weeks they begin to resemble snow? Just something I heard like.”
  • “The biggest risk I take is throwing a Celtic jersey into a white wash and wondering if it will turn everything green.”
  • “Do I look like I want to spend my summer working so I can spend my savings on carrots?!”
  • “I have a new pick up line and honestly I think this one is a game changer.” “Why what is it?” “Do you wanna build a snowman?”
  • “Aw no you take sugar. Here take that cup of tea and howl on ‘til I borrow a spoonful from downstairs.
  •  “Ahh so you’re from Donegal. Jeez it must be a terrible torture for you having to change your money back to sterling every time you go home.”
  • “Is it just me or are people drinking cocktails from candle jars in the nubar?”
  • “Oh did I mention he has land?”
  • “I went to all my lectures today so I’m rewarding myself with the rest of the week off.”
  • (Commuter) “Where’s the dishwasher?”
  • “Are there not 364 days in a leap year?”
  • “You mean to tell me the earth rotates around the sun? Are you serious or is this just the drink talking?”
  • “I almost flooded the kitchen cleaning for the new housemate. That would have been one hell of a welcome.”
  • “It must be a nice change for you Donegal folk coming to college and actually having electricity.”
  • “People say DCU is UCD for dyslexics but at least we don’t sound as dour as them in our Spotify ad.
  • (A Larkfielder) “Let’s go for tea at yours, you have living space.”
  • “She has 6 hours a week and no exams. Ara come on, is that even a real course?”
  • “I’m tellin ya this is Mayo’s year. Sam’s for the west.” (You would think after all these years they would take the hint that Sam is just not interested)
  • “Milk is ready for the milk race tomorrow… are you?! 2pm outside the Ag Block bugeens!”
  • “Yeah he walked as far as Rathmines in a suitcase.”
  • “I’m 20 years old and I still calculate the cost of things in terms of how many Freddos I could buy instead.”

Last Sunday on the feast of the Presentation of our Lord, or Candlemas as it is more popularily known, the priest spoke about how candles are a symbol of light and hope refusing to let darkness and sadness have the last word. This reminded me of all the incredible work being carried out Domhnach is dálach by Michaela Foundation and all the wonderful volunteers. We hear so much talk these days of terrible tragedies like violence and poverty and it’s so reassuring to know that there are so many good people out there who are intent on making the world a better place. This mentality and everything the Foundation stands for were manifested beautifully at Music for Michaela Foundation II ag an deireadh seachtaine. With the exams having finally bitten the dust I decided to go on a little adventure and make a detour to Newry on my way home to the hills. Truth be told I didn’t expect such an uplifting and inspiring night filled with i bhfad níos mó ná go díreach an ceol! It was a credit to Eimear, Adele, all the performers and everyone involved and I would like to congratulate them on carrying off such a special evening. On my way out I overheard a lady saying to her friend “Isn’t it lovely to see young people doing such great work and getting the credit they deserve?” agus aontaím féin go huile’s go hiomlán. God knows we have our moments but it’s refreshing to know people have faith in us and see more than just delinquency and bad manners.

I have yet to get over how much I’m enjoying being a part of the Youth Gospel Mass in Our Lady of Victories at 6.30 on a Sunday evening. Something about it and the fuinneamh that is tangible in the church makes me feel particularly inspired and that it’s worthwhile being there. I would encourage any DCU students who are interested to come along because there really is a feel-good factor about it. With the exam blues coupled with January blues dragging my mood down for a few weeks, it was great to simply go to mass and not have to think about it for a while. The music is phenomenal (under the guidance of a Donegal man, just sayin’) and I couldn’t get one particular song amach as mo chloigeann ar feadh na laethanta ina dhiadh:

“I just can’t give up now

I’ve come too far from where I started from.

Nobody told me the road would be easy and

I don’t believe he’s brought me this far to leave me.”

I’d like to give a special mention to the Murphy clann who are my number one fans and have basically adopted me into their family in the capital. They are an example of the great people in the world and I am so grateful for their kindness. Never did I think I would be invited into the home of a Dublin senior footballer but while Judy Murphy’s pancakes were on offer the inter-county rivalry had to be set aside for a little while!

Mar fhocal scoir, ádh mór to everyone starting their mocks this week. There’s very little people can say to make you feel better when you’re in that kind of exam hell zone but just remember that this will pass like everything else. As one of my friends said to me the day my Junior Cert mocks started “Your parents will still love you”. Also, don’t listen to college students ag gearán about you stressing over “exams that don’t even matter”. Bhí muidne mar an gcéanna and we like to feel sorry for ourselves because no one told us that there was actual work involved in this college lark.

Slán agus beannacht,