Time’s flying for Killian

Friday November 8th 2013

Hi everyone!

My first full month of University has ended. Time is flying and it’s only when I sit down to write this that I realize how much has happened over these last few weeks.
On Monday 30th September I officially began my first full day of class at St. Mary’s University, Belfast. It was a daunting day and reminded me of that feeling of starting school all over again! People where nervous, conversations where slow to start and getting lost around the place was a regular occurrence throughout the day! We met our fellow classmates for the year, our lecturers for each subject and received our weekly timetable. Each of us were hoping that 9am starts where few and Fridays became our half day! Thankfully, the dreaded early mornings only happen twice and I can happily drive down the M1 on a Friday afternoon! Result!
As the weeks passed, students got to know each other and lecturers began to find out more about us. It helped to make us more relaxed and indeed settle in to the “St. Mary’s” way of life. It’s a small place with around 800 trainee primary and secondary school teachers. When walking down the corridor you can’t help but bump into someone you know! In a way it feels like I’ve made the jump to University but have never left the local atmosphere of school!
It was in this same week that I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting my past school St. Michael’s College, Enniskillen, with The Michaela Foundation. After spending five brilliant years at St. Aidan’s High School, Derrylin, I moved to St. Michael’s College in order to study for my A-level’s. The two years flew by, but where filled with great craic and many happy memories. The warm welcome the Michaela Foundation received when we arrived is testimony to the brilliant staff and students in the College, and we greatly appreciated the huge effort they made during our visit!
Over the last month, I joined fellow scholars Eiméar and Stephen, and a huge number of volunteers in helping the Michaela Foundation out at their many events. From getting students signed up to their society at Queen’s University and St. Mary’s University during the freshers fairs, to helping raise the profile of the Foundation at the Castle Court ‘Tweet Shop’, to serving tea and water at Elms Village to students coming home from a night out, it has been a very busy and exciting month!

I remember reading in ‘The Match for Michaela’ booklet about how during Michaela’s University years, she used to invite everyone back to her house for a cup of tea after a night out, where it soon became known as the ‘tea house’. I suppose in a small way, the tea station at Elms Village gave students a chance to experience University life as Michaela herself had done, where a good nights craic could end with the simple gesture of a smile, a chat, and a cup of tea! To see students donate so generously to the Foundation and give up their time to help out on every occasion is something that deserves huge credit! Fair play to them!
During this last month I also had my first “School Experience” day as part of my course! This is where we are split into different classrooms and groups to give us an insight into what to prepare and expect when we go out for our own seven-week teaching placement next year. Being 6ft 4 inch tall and entering a Primary 2 class for the first time can be a daunting experience for the children, never mind the classroom Teacher, but thankfully all went smoothly! It was a great first experience and one that we will repeat over the coming weeks.

My first full month of University has been filled with many new opportunities and challenges. It takes time to settle in and find your feet, as it’s a huge transition. I’ve found that simply using my time wisely and planning ahead has helped me to settle into a routine. It has allowed me to find a good balance between completing assignments, attending clubs and societies, working my part-time job, playing sport and enjoying nights out…the list goes on and on! It’s a challenge in itself to fit all these aspects into a week at University, but so far it has worked out well for me and hopefully it will continue!

Good luck to everyone!

Killian