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9 May 2014

How this year in uni has changed me

Back in August of 2013 I wasn't in a great place. I mean I was fine, at the time I didn't realise how much life sucked, it's only with hindsight I can see that. I didn't have very many friends or positive people in my life. I wasn't very confident in myself, I was shy and withdrawn. I didn't 'love' myself, or even think I was much of a cool person but that was mostly based on how I was treated by others.

I also lost my best friend that month, my boyfriend of three and a half years. He was the only person who I felt actually cared about me, (apart from my family that is) he was the only one I could truly rely on, speak to about everything and literally do stuff with. But it wasn't working anymore, I knew it had to end. It still sucked big time because I was alone. I remember crying to my sister and saying 'I can't wait to go back to college and be distracted'.

But starting back at college and beginning my professional diploma in education did so much more for me than 'distract' me from the retching pain in my heart and the self doubts in my head.

On the very first day, 9 months ago now, I was thrown in to a group with 8 other random people, 4 boys and 4 girls. All of whom, like me, were going to be English and Geography teachers. I was kind of terrified meeting these new people because I was so shy. I only knew one of them and I remember being so happy that she was in my group so 'I wouldn't be alone' I didn't think I would get close to any of the others, I was always shit at making new friends. I presumed they wouldn't like me. Crazy, but that was how my mind worked back then.

I remember in the first few days two of the girls had lunch with me and my friend. I was actually surprised that they wanted to spend more time with us than the time we had to spend together doing group work.

Now, those 8 strangers are my 8 best friends. We have had so many amazing times together since we met in September. In the first few weeks we thought a small class together in college as practice. One of the classes was on volcanoes and boy did we have fun trying to pronounce that volcano in Iceland. The girls and I have had many a shopping trip and a chin wag over coffee. We've had heaps of amazing nights out, and those pictures of us all dancing together and hugging each other are getting printed to be framed. I love all of them. They are all so unique and wonderful and down right hilarious.

The main downfall of teaching practice was not getting to be with them as they were in schools all over the country but we would share stories and experiences with each other on our group facebook page every day. We would snap chat each other pictures of crazy answers a student gave or give advice to each other on how to handle a certain situation, and share resources for specific topics.

Apart from meeting these people, who have made feel like a 'cool' person, who have accepted me for who I am and made me feel like I am part of something, and who have made me accept and 'love' myself, there has been so many other things about this year that has transformed me.

I was shy quiet and withdrawn. Teaching has changed that. I am now much more open, confident and out-going. I think being given the responsibility of twenty kids, having to speak to that large group every day, building relationships with them, having them look up to you and listen to you can do wonders for your confidence. I honestly feel like I could go up to anyone now and start a conversation with them without being afraid of what they think of me. I could never have done that before. Also, the fact alone that I have survived teaching practice, that I did it, enjoyed it and was good at it has made me feel amazing, especially since the negative people in my life before told me I couldn't do it.

Interacting with so many people is the reason why this has been the best year of my life, the year I became so much closer to the person I wished I was. From friends of my friends in college, to the teachers in the school, some of whom thought me, to the AMAZING lecturers and mentors, all the way to even that annoying boy in my class who would never do what I said and absolutely wrecked my head. These people have helped me to accept and like myself, have helped to build my confidence and honestly just not care what anyone thinks.

In my last ever lecture yesterday, there was a video montage of pictures from the whole year. Images of people in the course sitting in the lectures, doing micro-teaching, chatting in the workshops, and Images of motivational signs like "never give up", "do it with passion or not at all", "empower students and inspire creativity, the next Steve Jobs is in someones classroom" down to really funny but relatable ones like "today I'm going to read from my class slides word for word" (something we're not meant to do as teachers but obviously it's easier than preparing for the class haha) the camera then zoomed out from these words to show some of the lovely lectures holding them, smiling and laughing. The background to the whole video was 'Pharell Williams 'Happy' and that is exactly what I truly am now, thanks to this life changing year.

It has been the hardest, most challenging and terrifying year but one of the images from the video was true.....

I thought I would make a little collage of some quotes that I have learned this year. I hope my story and the message of these quotes show any of you who feel like your life sucks at the minute that things do get better, nothing lasts forever, be brave, you are good enough.

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Dib-Dab-Debs said...

It's amazing just how much one year can change you as a person. I'm glad to hear that you are more confident in yourself and have a lovely group of friends. Well done getting through uni!
Debi x

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean; so much has changed for me too since going to college two years ago and even just in the last year. Lovely post and congratulations on finishing university!

Madeline Rose

Anna said...

awwww Sinead, you are so lovely! I can really like feel you as a person when I read your blog. Like I've just said on Skype to you, my heart was aching & I was awwwing at the beginning & now I'm smiling & filled with happiness at how far you've come :) keep on going Sinead! :) <3 xxxx


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