Oh yeah, we’re here for a degree…

Thursday June 19th 2014

AOÍFE NÍ SHIADHÁIL- BEALTAINE 2014

This month was entirely taken up with exam season and the realisation that we came to coláiste to get a degree. After all the laughter and all the chaos, it was time to be a nerd again. It wasn’t pretty agus ní raibh an chraic maith but I suppose the odd day or two in the library is a small price to pay after months of madness. I had almost three full weeks free for study between finishing lectures and starting exams and it’s safe to say that they were na trí seachtaine is faide since setting foot in DCU. As is pretty much a given with long study periods, my procrastination skills followed by my cramming skills were more enhanced than my essay writing ability. But buíochas mór le Dia I made it through and I’m still standing. I only had three exams in total to sit which seemed like a treat compared with last year’s ten Ardteist papers… until I began to properly look at the content. I don’t know if it’s just me or if there are others who don’t quite realise that when they say Bachelor of Science Psychology they REALLY mean Bachelor of SCIENCE Psychology.

I chose to study a B.Sc instead of a BA (Bachelor of Arts) because my main interests heading into college were Sport Psychology and Addiction and I was advised that a B.Sc was the best way to go. This kind of contradicts the fact that I hated Science in school (giota beag just) and always found it more challenging than na hábhair eile. Studying a B.Sc in Psychology has meant covering modules such as Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Biopsychology (snore) which, in my eyes, were very scientifically based. Bar the odd topic anseo is ansiúd, none of these appealed to me very much and they all caused me more than a few late nights tearing my hair out. So to have exams in all of these modules as well as neverending amounts of essays to complete during the year was a dúshlán for me to say the least. Because I’m not naturally gifted in the area of science, it frustrated me that I struggled to grasp concepts and had to spend many hours poring over supplementary reading material to keep up. But this frustration was cancelled out when I began to see progress and started to feel like I wasn’t constantly playing catch-up. It helped that there were other modules including Positive Psychology, Social Psychology and my elective Drugs in Society that I had a grá mór for and almost found ‘easy’ (I use this word very lightly) to study.

It could be fair to say that in general my course has a heavier workload that the majority of mo chairde and this was something that wasn’t lost on me or them. It did mean that you had to say no to a spontaneous night in the student bar or cheap night in the pictiúrlann from time to time but it definitely got easier to manage and juggle everything with time. After the initial few weeks of semester there is a lot of continuous assessment so it can be quite intense and it does feel like the pressure is constantly on to start the next thing when you’ve finished the last one. Ach ar bhealach amháin I moved into the second semester having found my groove somewhat. Things weren’t as new and scary and difficult; I knew what I was doing just rud beag bídeach níos mó and it was nice not to feel like you were floundering and making it up as you went along. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t still completing essays the night before the deadline. Leis an fhírinne a rá, I don’t think that will ever change.

I’ve been taught ón tús that I study a human science; the science of mind and behaviour. I get a lot of stick about my ‘pseudoscience’ or my ‘wannabe science’ but I don’t mind because I know just how tábhachtach it really is. Now I feel glad that I’m getting a scientific foundation because studying psychology has made me realise just how much of a neurological basis our thoughts, feelings, actions and states have. Cuidíonn sé leat tuiscint a bheith agat ar the lack of control and the feeling of helplessness that comes with the likes of psychological disorders and I believe this is something everyone should know. Sport Psych and getting to dedicate my life to the thing that I love in order to help other people do what they love too is still the (pipe) dream but I’m very much open to whatever unfolds. My interest in the clinical side of psychology has gone ó neart go neart throughout these past months and mental health has always been an issue very close to my heart. There has been an amazing movement in recent times towards showing people that it’s okay not to be okay and I would love to be a part of this. To be able to teach people that their problems are not meaningless i gcomparáid le daoine eile and just to encourage them to open up and bridge the gap. We all deserve to be happy, we just need to give ourselves that chance. To me there is no greater service than helping people to remember where they want to be and then helping them to figure out how to get there. For me it simply means taking note of the good things in life and whatever makes you smile and then blowing them up. Everyone has their demons agus níl náire ar bith ann sin. You shouldn’t have to apologise for how you feel. I just want to spread the joy and if that’s God’s mission for me then so be it.

It seemed fitting to end our first year in the cathair mhór on a high and what better way to do so than a couple of hours of jumping up and down in the O2 to our favourite childhood songs just to show how good we are at being adults. When it was announced roimh an Nollaig that two of my all-time favourite bands McFly and Busted were joining forces and going on tour, there was never any doubt that myself and my two faithful sidekicks would be in attendance. With a last cheeky Nandos roimhe ré and a floor to crash on for the night negotiated, it bore all the hallmarks of a plean maith coming together. But nothing could have prepared us for the sheer brilliance that those six boys unleased on stage (fangirl alert). Never too late to make your dreams come true, I’m tellin ya. To quote Katie McElroy (aka the Bull McCabe)- “A time travelling DeLorean, a spaceship and all the perfectly synchronised guitar jumps you could want. Our boys put on a good show.” My grá for Tom Fletcher was almost on par with my grá for Michael Murphy that night… ALMOST.

So have I learned a lot since coming to DCU? Céad fán gcéad. Have I matured since leaving home? Debatable. Have my culinary skills improved in any way? Absolutely not. On my oíche deireanach in campus accommodation I successfully managed to make enough spaghetti to feed the whole of my deserted block and cremated yet another piece of chicken. Winnnnnnning. As they say, “We never change. We just become more of ourselves.” and, in my case, that just means I’m even more shocking at cooking now than I ever was.

Slán agus beannacht,

Aoífe