Well UCD, it’s been a wild ride but it’s time to say goodbye and this time, I think it might be for good. It all started eight long and short years ago. I was a first year History and Politics student, fresh from fourteen years of being in uniform, it was a nice change to be the master of my wardrobe. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the highs and lows of the melodrama I call my early twenties would all take place with UCD as the constant backdrop. UCD was where I first learned about Sartre and Australian history and that I can’t mix beer and wine”. It was where I spent time with my ex-boyfriend and also where we broke up (a couple times). I stopped going to most of my Politics lectures to avoid him, eventually leading me to change my major to Greek and Roman Civilisation and History. That was the first thing I think I learned, not to let a relationship stop me from pursuing what I want. I write this now as a MA student in Peace and Conflict Studies with an avid interest in mythology, so at least, in this situation things worked out for the best. That’s something else I’ve had to learn from experience, that things can actually always get better but that only happens when I decide to get out of my own damn way. Like maybe writing a whole philosophy paper the night before my deadline got me a good grade that one time, but flukes like meeting Oscar winning directors, happen rarely and that’s why they stick in your memory for you to half braggingly write about later.
Writing, that’s something I’ve done. Writing articles in college was something I did only occasionally because I was mostly too nervous but every time I did, I felt that unique sense of total pride and confidence. Confidence, those who have it don’t think about it and those who don’t can’t think about anything else. I also understand now that it doesn’t have to be there all the time either, it’s okay to lose it for a little while, especially when it seems the world is crashing down.
I made the decision to put my soul above my education for a little while and took a year out. There’s no regret, even when all my friends graduated, and I was left alone for another year. Sometimes doing something alone actually gives me confidence and like an early explorer, I feel equally scared but brave when I take on unchartered territory solo.
My time at UCD also taught me many other lessons about life and myself. The best nights out are usually the ones unplanned; most people aren’t awful, and some are actually amazing. Having ideals is easy, sticking to them is a lot harder. Berlin and summer festivals are always good ideas. Let yourself be persuaded to go to a ball. Quirky modules, like ones centred around a historical murder on the South Pacific, can be the most interesting. My university education was a little academic but some of the most important lessons I got were from the relationships I gained and lost in college over time.
Finally, I think about all the plans I made during my time here and the line ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’ seems fitting. A lot of my plans dramatically changed and left me scrambling, just like a mouse, but at least now I know that I can change course when I need to. I’m honestly happy that most of my early plans (including becoming a professional animal tracker) fell through and I’m here now and with all I’ve learned from UCD, I’m ready for what happens next, because whatever does happen, I know it’ll be another grand adventure.
Mary-Meadhbh Park – Opinion Writer