What I’m Really Thinking: Limited edition access to a final year student’s thought process
As students flock to the pav and the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, Blaithin Sheil looks back at her time in Trinity
So what’s the plan? What are you going to do? Are you talking about this summer, or, like, life? Every final year student hates being asked what is next. It only reminds you that you don’t know, and that you’re not ready to decide.
Summer will be great, the first taste of freedom in a while. True freedom, effortless freedom. Not a weekend off kind of freedom. A “I just sat my finals and my whole life is ahead of me” type of freedom. The blank white space grows. I am pumped, I’m going to change the world. But what will I actually do? My career plan rotates on a three week cycle.
A friend regularly asks what the choix du jour is? Are you going to get on with life at 22? Are you going to take the plunge? Are you going to get ahead or be happy? Both? Neither? The easy option or the exciting one? The one that makes you go “aghhh”. There is no surprise when I add yet another new idea to the list.
But I can’t ask myself these questions right now. Focus. Put those questions on a list, and file it away for the 23rd of May. So far away. Two months of study. A marathon, not a sprint. That’s fine – I was always more of a distance runner anyway. When September comes round, when summer is over and my friends start jobs or go back to college, will there be a plan then? Successful women have 5 and 10 year plans. College. Masters. Boyfriend. Career. Fiancé. Promotion. Wedding. New job. Baby? Life?
“Life becomes Trinity and Trinity becomes life. Campus life exists in a vacuum, campus is its own ecosystem.”
Calm down a second. Stop wishing your life away, take a minute to appreciate how fabulous it is now. It would be a shame to pass through Trinity and not take in the clubs and societies. They are special and we are privileged. Employers lap up any society experience, you make friends for life and you learn valuable HR skills not taught in lectures. Life becomes Trinity and Trinity becomes life. College life exists in a vacuum and college is its own ecosystem. When a protest march happen outside and the city centre blocked from one end to the other, you escape the noise in this peaceful bliss, an open quiet space enclosed by high walls (unless you are out there protesting for a cause, of course). Where else in the heart of a congested city can you choose at which lawn to have your lunch, where else in a big city can you play sport in well tended park? We study where the greats before us did, we sit at the same desks as Mary Robinson and David Norris, we read from the same old dusty books. Well, those of us who prefer books to Justis. I hope some of their wisdom rubs off on me.
I have done a lot of learning outside of my 10 hour week, which isn’t that surprising, when you only have 10 hours. Lectures are great, but Arts Block debates are better. I’m not referring to organised ones, I’m talking about when two minds meet outside of a structure. You have just read something mind opening, you tell your friend in a different course and yet they have a totally different opinion. This is where real learning occurs. The people I met at Trinity shaped me as much as my lectures. The best debates are the ones fuelled with actual passion and I have been fortunate enough to be challenged by my peers everyday.
“We go to Trinity to get a degree, but College offers so much more than that.”
When September comes, my social circle will shrink. I’ll walk round in my new daily routine, if there is one but I won’t see a friend every other minute. I won’t walk into the library and decide which one to go to depending on how social I am feeling. I won’t know which friends are free on which day for lunch. I won’t plan my day around training and coffee. I won’t be going from one meeting to another, from one group to the next.
There are less people at home. Will I float into college in the hopes of bumping into someone, not quite ready to let go of the glory days? I have spent over 3000 hours here, probably more, not including my erasmus year. That is a lot of time, and I don’t know how to fill that gap. My peers all have plans. I don’t. I was busy. I lounged in college park, sun bathed on the dining hall steps. I convinced people to go to Cornucopia with me, spent countless hours running in college park. I studied, I read, I coffee-breaked, I aqua-jogged, I wrote, I swam, I edited, I volunteered, I partied, I listened, I laughed, I cried, I made friends, I lost some. I lived.
We go to Trinity to get a degree, but College offers so much more than that.