Onwards and Upwards

I can't believe that it's already the Summer. While January feels like yesterday, last Summer seems like an age ago; a whole other lifetime. It's funny how much life can change in a year, and how much you can change with it too. Last Friday, I finished my final year of college from home. It's so insane to imagine that just four years ago, I was writing about the beginning of this journey and settling into my new home, Cork City. 

I'm always commended on social media for sharing my real life with all of you, whenever I do, the nitty gritty and all included. I love that you can all relate to so many aspects of my life, and that my accounts of life can help some of you in so many different ways. It's funny how powerful words can be sometimes, and how we can use them for making either a positive or negative impact on the world. 

With Leaving Cert students preparing for life after school, and life in college, I'm reminded of my transition from school to college, and I wonder if it would have been any easier if I had heard of other people's experiences with settling into a new life. I'd be lying if I told you that I loved school, or even enjoyed it. Sure, I love learning. I'm curious and inquisitive, but to say that I felt like I didn't fit in would be an understatement. And while most of us rarely talk about feelings like these, I'm sure a lot of you have probably felt the same, or maybe you're even feeling this way now. 

I vividly remember explaining this situation to one of the teachers in my school. Life isn't easy when you feel like there's nowhere that you really 'belong'. Their suggestion was that I put a course in UL as my first choice on my CAO, to get a little further away from home. It's disheartening at just 17 or 18 for someone to suggest that the only way you'd fit in would be by uprooting your life to somewhere further away than you had hoped. I think about this encounter sometimes, and I'm so grateful that I didn't choose my college course based on this advice. The truth is, sometimes you're just not going to fit in, regardless of where you are. But the likelihood of this reoccurring in a college of more than 21,000 students is a lot smaller that the same odds in a small, rural school. My dad often reminded me of this, and I'm glad he did. 

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all these problems are 'you' problems when you're young, and I often worried about what college life would look like for me. When I look back at it now, it's funny to imagine that this time of my life, probably the best period of my life, was something that I spent so much time worrying about. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you don't need to move away to move on to better things. Be the person you want to be, love who you are, and never change for anyone. And remember, your words are powerful, use them wisely. 

Chat soon,


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