I’m no good with goodbyes

Monday September 8th 2014

Dia dhaoibh a chairde !! I want to start this (my final blog – can you believe it !!) by apologizing for my lack of blogs recently. Hopefully this one will fill you in on why I’ve been off the radar for a while. I have to tell you about my summer in its entirety so better get a move on.

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If you’ve read my last blog you’ll know that I spent a week in Portugal at the start of June and I cannot recommend it enough. It was one of the best weeks of my life and it was the perfect way to relax after tearful farewells and exams. Myself and 5 of my friends went over and to say that we enjoyed ourselves would be a massive understatement,
We were fortunate enough to get cheap flights and accommodation –the student life deems this a must have- and soon we were on our way. Now some of you may or may not have experienced what I did but I think it’s rather impressive to be the pastiest person in the country. Other nationalities can be pale, granted, but they can never reach that shade of milk bottle white that we Irish can. Regardless of my skin tone, I had an absolutely amazing time wining and dining in an area that had the perfect mixture of calming scenery and an epic nightlife.
(I think if I big the place up enough, they’ll take me on as a full time rep. A girl can dream).

 

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Coming back to Ireland was always going to be slightly depressing but when I found out I was going to be working at 9am the next day I almost stepped off the plane and made Portugal my new home.
For the summer, my part time job become a full time one and I have been constantly working week in week out to try and save some money to help me when I go into my second year of college. Luckily for me I happen to love my job, mostly because of the people working there. Knowing none of them will be reading this I can say that they are some of the nicest, funniest people I know. Even though there are some who have that way of making you laugh whilst constantly irritating you (you know who you are).

Even more depressingly, my exam results were sent out and unfortunately

I didn’t do very well. Which although wasn’t great for me, is good news for incoming students as I can share my troubles with you!
The first thing I will say is that your college professors and programme offices are there to help you and they are a great resource. If you’re not sure what to or are just confused in general with the process, get in contact with them as soon as possible as they will be more than willing to help. That’s what they’re there for so take advantage of them!
I went through the whole stage of “I’m almost a second year college student.. I’m an adult.. I can figure this out myself” and in the end all I did was stress myself out for weeks on end worrying about what I had to do and how I was going to achieve it. As soon as I caved and asked for help I realized that I should have done it a lot sooner as they explained everything to me and I had everything sorted in no time at all.
I will say as well not to be too stressed over first year exams. They are important but it isn’t the end of the world if you fail and no one is going to hold it against you. (Unless you have a sister like mine.. then it will be brought up as a tool to be used against you).

I suppose summarizing my summer could have been done in one simple sentence – I went on a holiday and I worked in a shop.
Trying to summarize what the Michaela Foundation has done for me this past year though will take a lot more than that.

My journey started in a whirlwind of emotions. When I first got the phone call that I was chosen to be a Michaela scholar, words can’t even begin to describe how I felt. I was speechless. I was excited and beyond nervous the day I traveled to Belfast to meet the team and the other scholars. I was absolutely amazed to see my schoolmate and friend Aoífe there but relieved also as I knew that I knew one person. Above all, though, I felt blessed.

 

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When I was talking to my fellow scholars that first day and from then on, reading their blogs every month, I realized just how lucky I am to be in the same position that they are in.
Killian, Eimear, Stephen and Fionnuala are some of the most talented, kindest and genuine people I have ever had the fortune to meet. I knew that Aoífe would fit in perfectly with them as she remained one of the nicest, sincerest people all throughout our school years together. When I read the other scholars’ blogs, I still find myself in awe of them and their extraordinary talent for writing and wonder how I managed to slip between the cracks to join them as a fellow scholar. Being in different colleges around the country, we obviously don’t have any time to meet up with each other but I feel, as I’m sure the other scholars do as well that we all feel connected with each other and know what is happening in each others lives due to our blogs.
I could go on forever about how amazing these five people are or spend an entire page dedicated to each, detailing everything that is so wonderful about them but all I will say is that I am extremely thankful, blessed and honored to have met such magnificent people to share in my journey with and who I hope to remain friends with in years to come.

All of this of course would not be possible without the Michaela Foundation itself.
In the wake of something so tragic, something beautiful was established which has become a nationwide phenomenon and which has become a beacon of inspiration and encouragement for young people to live their lives without limits.
For me the Michaela Foundation had giving me an opportunity to help other young students in their upcoming college lives and a place that I can turn to if my workload or stress levels became too much. Without the foundation I would never have met Stephen, Fionnuala, Eimear or Killian and for that I am eternally grateful to them. I also would never have met the amazing bundle of energy that is Úna Kelly- a woman so passionate and charismatic in everything she does. A true role model, inspiration and friend.

Summarized in roughly 18 lines, I still cannot do the Michaela Foundation justice. I can’t begin to express how privileged I feel to have been chosen to represent such an amazing cause and to carry on the beliefs Michaela had in her life. It was truly an honor to have called myself a Michaela Scholar and it is something that I will cherish for the remainder of my life.

On that note I’ll end with a revisited version of my closing passage from my very first blog.
I guess what I’ve learned at college is that it’s completely normal to feel homesick after 4 days, it’s ok to bring new friends into your life because you’re not replacing the old ones and it’s normal to be scared, nervous and excited at the same time because college is a massive adventure and one that I have enjoyed taking on and sharing with you.

Le grá,

Áoise