Throughout life, we meet so many people, and all our actions and behaviours are marked permanently by those we interact with; we all mirror each other and are connected in a beautiful giant web of interdependence. My body carries traces of everyone who has touched me in some way. I have a lifelong love of disaster documentaries from when I was eight watching them with my dad. I still obsessively eat Boursin cheese on baguettes even though I don’t speak to the girl who introduced me to it now. To this day I still use the recipe I used to make butter chicken for my ex-boyfriend. These little rituals in the present are proof that people never really leave us. My granny is in her jewellery I inherited; I smell my mam and my childhood in L’Oréal shampoo and Jean Paul Gaultier perfume.
“… it is important to acknowledge that I would not have been able to grow without a good base.”
Your family is probably the most formative group you will spend time around and for me, this is especially true. Especially as a child, you are going to pick up values and habits from those who raise you, even though these may change with time. Even since I moved out and into the world, I continue to learn from them. They have demonstrated to me the importance of generosity and helping those around you when they have driven up to Dublin countless times to help me and my friends move in or drop me off food when I was alone with covid. Even though I’ve since developed from what they taught me as a child and learned my own ways of doing things, it is important to acknowledge that I would not have been able to grow without a good base.
On my first evening in Trinity Hall, I was sitting on my lumpy bed after struggling with the covers for twenty minutes when all of a sudden there was a knock on my door and a colourful figure in a sweater vest burst into my life. From the day I met Katie, they have been a constant presence in my life, dispensing wisdom and advice whenever I need it, from agonising over my degree to holding me when I cried on the bus over a boy. They have accepted my idiosyncrasies but will give me a reality check when I need it. Katie and I are comfortable sitting in silence with each other for hours feeling totally at ease, our relationship has always been a stable, easy thing to be in. Even though we have completely different tastes in almost everything (our joint Spotify mix is a mess) — she and I complement each other perfectly and she is the definition of a platonic soulmate. Katie has taught me so much, from peeling garlic (I fully believed that the skin was there to add crunch) to accepting my feelings and much more.
“I have been blessed to meet so many fantastic people over the years, even if we haven’t always stayed in touch.”
I have been blessed to meet so many fantastic people over the years, even if we haven’t always stayed in touch. I will forever think of my days sharing earphones with my first-year best friends listening to really bad emo music or walking around Athlone trying to find a skirt short enough for the disco that week. Although I can’t remember the faces or names, I have held onto the feeling of running around eating cake with my playschool friends on a balmy Friday afternoon.
The people I have met in college have been some of the most important people I’ve ever met in my life. They facilitated my blossoming into an adult, one smoke alarm at a time. From introducing me to new foods and ways of thinking, I have changed from being the awkward, nervous 19-year-old that I was before to an altogether more well-rounded and confident woman. Clichéd as it sounds, nothing is as important for pushing you to grow socially, emotionally, and spiritually as college. I have learnt and come to love so many new things from those I’ve met in the last three years: how to properly enjoy coffee with Lucy, the joy of yoga with Sarah, what a lovely thing it is to be in the Gaeltacht in summer, and most importantly, the power of a good laugh. And the great thing about this part of your life is that you are constantly meeting more and more people and continuing to grow. One of the best parts of Erasmus has been getting the opportunity to get to know those who I came over with better and to get to know others from around the world.
“…interactions with both those we will remain close to forever and those who will only know briefly are what make life so special and meaningful.”
Even though people come and go, some things stick with you forever. Whether that be your primary school best friend’s wacky sense of humour, or the unhinged fart joke a total stranger told me in the Ussher lift last spring, interactions with both those we will remain close to forever and those who will only know briefly are what make life so special and meaningful.
To my friends, family, teachers, taxi drivers, drunk girls in the bathroom, therapists, hairdressers, everyone I’ve ever kissed… Thank you.