By Marisa Kennedy, BA in Journalism and New Media, University of Limerick
It’s said that your student years are the best years of your life. What should be added to that is, they are also the quickest. One minute, you’re following around an Orientation guide like a lost puppy trying to drink in this enormous campus, then, in the blink of an eye, you’re rushing to meet Final Year Project deadlines and choosing graduation outfits.
As I am writing this, I have just finished my first month as a fourth year student. I have spent the past year away from campus on Co-Op and Erasmus, and it made me realise how at home I feel here in UL and how I’ll have to fly the nest very, very soon. It’s incredible how the past three years have just merged into one big blur. All those 9am starts, last minute assignments, three-hour labs, they occupy a very small section of my memory.
What stand out are the memories created with my friends, the chats in Subway or the Stables, the ‘Friends’ marathons in front of the fire, the late nights spent talking about goodness-knows-what on ULFM, the nights where I would half freeze to death watching UL GAA matches in December, the meals cooked (and burned) and the takeaways subsequently bought. They may have seemed insignificant at the time, but now that I’m getting nearer and nearer to finishing up, I find myself reflecting on them a lot more.
If you’re the type of person who spends all their time focusing on lectures, tutorials and readings, you’re not really experiencing college life. Likewise, if you’re concentrating solely on, shall we say, life outside of the classroom, you are missing out on equally as much. College is the whole package and all aspects of it need to be embraced for it to be appreciated.
If I could go back to first year and do it all again, maybe I would do things a little bit differently. I like to tell myself that I’d do my assignments straight away and not leave them to the last minute. That I’d return that library book in time. Maybe that I’d come home at a reasonable hour from a night out on the town and be fresh in that lecture the next morning. Then again, maybe not!
Now that I’m in fourth year (have I mentioned I’m nearly finished college?), I’m trying to pack in as much into my final months as possible. As well as doing my college work, I’m hitting the town, taking part in clubs & socs, volunteering and doing journalistic work outside of class (it’s all about gaining experience in our game). How long will it last? I’m not sure. Come back to me in Week 11 and I will be more than likely, a burnt-out mess.
But I don’t think I’d mind that. What I would mind is if I stood up on that stage in August, accepted my scroll and left the Concert Hall with regret because I wasted the precious time I had as a student.
Another thing people say is that college isn’t for everyone, and that’s true. But once you have committed to going to college, you owe it to yourself to try everything, to embrace everything, every aspect. Take it from me, it’s four very short years. Four years that will shape you as a person. Have no regrets.