My story: Peadar O Lamhna
What a difference a few months makes! From the Leaving Certificate to sitting in the public gallery of the Dail watching the most draconian budget of a generation being delivered.
To those of you reading this piece and still unsure what to apply for, take my advice and go with your heart. I always had the ambition to study Law with Politics, and hence my visit to the Dail last month.
I have to admit the first week in college was a bit nerve rackingentering the huge campus and not having a clue where anything was. I knew nobody and ended up living with 24 complete strangers in the UCD’s Irish-speaking residence, Teach na Gaeilge. They are now my closest friends in college!
Law with Politics is not only a brilliant course but it really gets you thinking about the world around us, from forming contracts to liability, and from Athenian democracy to what way the electorate voted in the last election.
It all makes for interesting lectures and discussions in tutorials. The fact that there are only 16 in my class also made it very easy to make friends and we are constantly helping each other out.
The move into Teach na Gaeilge came about after a being awarded a Bord na Gaeilge scholarship and it has turned into one of the best experiences of my life. With it comes the extra responsibility of ensuring that Irish is to be seen and heard around campus.
So far, we have organised speed dating as Gaeilge, a fashion show, a scavenger hunt and each person in the house had to present and produce a radio show.
I interviewed Minister Éamon O Cuív who talked about his time in UCD. In the second semester I am organising a law lecture through Irish and many other events.
There have been teething problems and I found some of the adjustments hard, such as cooking for myself – although that being said my chicken stir-fry would give Gordon Ramsey a run for his money.
Gone is the comfort zone of being “spoon fed” in second level education and now it is my own independent learning that will help me thrive and flourish.
As the leaving cert pressure is beginning to build, and teachers are reminding you that there are less than one hundred days until your Irish or French oral exam, always remember that in less than eight months you’ll never have to look at a history, maths, physics or French book ever again.
Go n-éirí an t-ádh libh go léir
Peadar O Lamhna was the Irish Independent Leaving Certificate diarist in 2010. He is a former pupil of St Macartan’s College, Monaghan. MHNA