Friday December 6th 2013

With daylight hours becoming shorter and shorter and the crisp winter air in full swing, I really cannot get my head around the fact that it’s Christmas time already and Santa’s sleigh must be almost ready by now! Although as they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and after fiiiinally getting over my home sickness I’m so relieved to be able to say that I LOVE UNI!!!

Don’t get me wrong though, that doesn’t mean I’m bursting with excitement to tackle this sudden pile up of assignments and tests that we seem to have after weeks of ‘easing us in’. And yes, my heart nearly stopped when I realised that I actually don’t deserve the year’s break I thought I did after just about making it through A Levels. But all that aside, St Mary’s really is an exceptional place to study and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. To be honest, I couldn’t go to university anywhere else – I wouldn’t have a notion how to get around. I struggle enough as it is with St Mary’s (which, for those of you who don’t know it is about the size of your average secondary school). I said last month that I was getting to know the college campus, however trying to look cool and un-first-year-ish only resulted in getting hopelessly lost one day in a corridor I hadn’t seen before, and come to think of it haven’t actually seen since. I learned my lesson the hard way – just read the signs Eiméar.

I also said last month that we had a new house rule of ‘no snow – no heat’. However being the naïve freshers that we are and having the practically non-existent will power that we do, my friends and I had absolutely no concept of how bitter cold a uni house could be. Being able to see our own breath in the living room was just the final straw. The heat went on at full force, despite the cost. However all voluntary donations to the gas kitty are more than welcome.

This month, I returned one final time to my previous secondary school, Loreto College in Coleraine to talk to the current year 13 and 14 students about the Student Awards Scheme and the release that it provides from all the stress and worry of A Levels in an attempt to encourage them to lead a life without limits. Being met at the door by our principal, Mr James with a warm handshake rather than being told to stop chatting and get a move on to class was somewhat strange. For the first time I actually realised that I’m a past-pupil now. However the many happy memories of Loreto and the values that my teachers instilled in me will remain with me forever – once Mary Ward’s Army, always Mary Ward’s Army.  Standing on the stage talking to the sleepy eyed 6th formers in assembly was a lot more difficult than I thought, both physically and emotionally. Whilst trying to stop my legs shaking and fighting back the tears as my younger brother looked up at me from the floor, I attempted to give them some words of wisdom on how to deal with the pressures of the coming year. Although given the fact it was 9 o’clock on a Monday morning, if they even took a single line from what I said I’d be chuffed – speaking from experience, guest speakers were not always the easiest to pay full attention to at such an unholy hour of the day.

In other news however, MY GODDAUGHTER IS JUST ABOUT TO WALK!! AAAAAHHHHH! Watching her hold on to my little finger looking for the next nearest piece of furniture to reach for, it really is unbelievable that she is 15 months old already. It seems like no time ago my auntie and uncle asked me to stand for her – something which, undoubtedly was a significant step in my journey of faith. As exciting as picking a dress for her christening was, and getting her ready in the house that morning, I realised that I actually have a responsibility of being part of her faith development. But also a responsibility to spoil her rotten!

As November draws to a close, it is important to remember once again the souls of our loved ones who have gone before us. We pray that God welcomes them at the gates of His kingdom with open arms, and that their stars continue to shine brightly for us, guiding us on our way through our own lives.

Wishing you all a very Happy and Holy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Speak soon (if I don’t freeze in the mean time)

God Bless,