How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard…

Monday September 28th 2015

You know what they say, all things must come to an end. I am so sad that I’m sitting writing my last blog as a MF Scholar. 12 blogs later and I am still so grateful and humbled to have been chosen to be a scholar in the first place.

When I first applied I never ever thought that it could be me. However, I did put a lot of time and effort into my application as I knew I would have loved the opportunity. It was a unique application, not like any others. It didn’t ask me for my grades, or any awards I had won in school in the past. It asked me about my hobbies, my personality, about any volunteering I had done, about a person in my life who I admire and my dream job etc. The foundation wanted to get to know me, and that’s what’s so special about this scholarship.

I remember opening the email on the 28th of October last year telling me I had been chosen as one of the three scholars. The previous day was student race day, so there were a few tired heads in the house that morning. I sat down at my desk and opened up the laptop and I got a notification to say I had an email from John McAreavey. The first thing that came to my head was “why is John McAreavey emailing me?”, then it finally clicked. When I was reading the email I was shaking. “We are delighted to inform you that you have been selected as a Michaela Scholar… We would like to take this opportunity to commend you on your excellent application.” I was in complete shock and I still thought in my head that the email wasn’t for me, it couldn’t be? For the next few minutes I sat staring at the screen, reading and rereading the email. I eventually text my mammy, my daddy and my sister before running in and wakening Lisa up screaming with excitement! I was shaking with the shock and excitement for most of the day. I couldn’t concentrate in college and I had a smile on my face that I still have to this day.

I was so nervous but super excited going to meet the other scholars and members of the foundation. My mammy and I headed off to Belfast one very stormy night after I had travelled home to Donegal from Galway and we had such a great night. After getting our lovely MF zip ups and getting a lot of photos taken (we all know how much Úna loves taking pictures), us scholars got to sit down and get to know each other, and become friends. We talked about our college experiences so far, we were all doing in different courses, lived in different types of accommodation or commuted daily and had different campuses. One of the things we had in common was that all this was new to us, being a fresher, fending for ourselves and getting our first taste of adulthood! It was both scary and exciting. Something else very special brought us together that night, a love for The Michaela Foundation and a desire to promote and live by their inspiring values.  It was very clear to see why the two girls had been chosen as scholars and I felt privileged to be a part of it all. I’m lucky to have them as my lovely scholar sisters! “The great thing about new friends is that they bring new energy to your soul”.

The next step was actually sitting down to write a blog, which was frightening. “What if I’m not any good?” What if nobody likes or reads them?” were the thoughts running through my head when I sat down to plan my first blog. I was never very good at English in school, my exams never went well and grades were below average so to be responsible for a monthly blog was a pretty daunting task. But it was the best experiences I’ve had, and I’m going to miss it so much. Writing is so much easier when you’re passionate about whatever you’re talking about. I hope people enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them. So many of my friends and family have complimented them and told me they looked forward to reading them each month so I suppose that’s a good sign. I really do hope that someone, somewhere has got something from them! A bit of encouragement or a bit of inspiration, even if it was just a little, because I know myself that no one has got as much from them as I have. I have learned so much about myself and about others while writing my blogs. They forced me think about everything, put everything into perspective and really appreciate the experience I was living and the adventure that it was.

This whole experience has helped me grow in so many ways. I’m much more conscious of the world around me and I’m constantly trying to be a better person. To be nicer and kinder, as Mother Teresa said “kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless”. We can change the world one act of random kindness at a time! My faith has grown even more in the past year. It’s such an important part of my life, so special and significant. Faith is central to the ethos of The Michaela Foundation and the positive effects it has shines through all the volunteers. We all understand how lucky we are to be part of this foundation and we have been brought together by Michaela and God. Although faith and God might not be something popular amongst young people and sometimes I found it hard to find people in college who shared the same interest in it as I did, I always knew I had my MFF’s to share this with.

MF

At this point in my last blog (tear, tear, tear) I want to thank a few people…

College is an opportunity that I wouldn’t have got to experience without the help from my parents. I am so thankful that they are able to not only financially put me through college, but I know they’re there to help with anything I need. I know that college is so expensive and it’s not always easy but I hope they know how much appreciate their help and I hope they are proud of me.

All the friends I made during my first year of college, thank you for a truly unforgettable year. I made some friends for life and I’m so grateful to have each and every one of them. And of course a special shout out to my housemates Lisa, Aoife and Paige and all of the Dunaras crew who are still my closest friends down in Galway. The memories with you guys are ones I will treasure forever!

My sister Fifi, who’s a year ahead of me down here. She’s always keeping me right and I’d be lost without her in Galway. This year she’s living much closer to be so I get to torture her even more.

To one of the brightest stars in heaven, Michaela. The impact this special lady had on so many people’s lives is what inspired this foundation. Even though most of the volunteers didn’t have the pleasure of knowing you, including myself, your inspiring values and the way you lived your short but beautiful life has brought us all together. We come together in love, in happiness and in faith to celebrate you.

Úna, John and everyone behind the scenes at the Michaela Foundation. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to have been given this opportunity. I have gotten much more out of the experience than I ever could have asked for and I will never be able to thank you enough. Your patience and all the help you gave me hasn’t gone unnoticed, so thank you for that as well.

 

I gave a good go at explain how amazing the past year has been as an MF scholar but I still don’t think I can do it justice. This blog definitely took the longest, as I know once I sign off that’s it! But hey, once a scholar always a scholar. I know my journey with the Michaela Foundation is only just beginning and I can’t wait for what’s in store.

Thank you to anyone who has read my blogs over the past year, anyone who has liked them and shared them, I really appreciate all the support I got.

Now it’s time to say good bye. Here are some very wise words of the one and only Winne the Pooh to help me… “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.

So for one last time,

Adiós, arrivederci agus slán!

xoxo Sarah.