First year of college is officially over! I can’t believe how quickly it went; sometimes it feels like I was in Texas yesterday and sometimes it feels like I haven’t been back in years. But I will officially be back tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got a long day of traveling ahead, but it will be nice to come home and see my family. I’m going to miss Dublin, though, and I can’t wait to come back late August.
It’ll be nice to be home and relax, because this past week has been so hectic getting ready to leave. I had my final French exam on Monday, which went well. I had an article to read and answer following questions, and then I had to write an essay on how the digital age could affect future democracy. It was only a two hour exam so it went by rather quickly. Sadly, the end of exams did not mean the end of things that needed to be done. Figuring out how to pack all of my stuff took a lot more effort than I thought it would at first. At first I was trying to find a storage company and figure out how many and what size boxes were required like most students do, but two of my roommates volunteered to store my stuff and Frenchy’s stuff over the summer. We couldn’t have been happier! They deserve a huge thank you, because I am saving a ton of money and I got to use bags and any other packing things I wanted and not storage box requirements.
Other than packing, there was so much cleaning to do before we left the apartment. We got an email of a huge list of things that had to be done, and the amount of fines that we could get if something was not clean or broken. The kitchen in particular took a long time, especially when you have to deep clean all the appliances and scrub the floors and walls. My roommates and I have also been to a lot of apartment and house showings. We’re trying to find a place to live next year, but with a housing crisis going on in Dublin right now, it is proving very difficult to find a place. We constantly keep looking and sending out emails, and hopefully we’ll find a place this summer or early this next semester.
But my final week hasn’t been just work. On Tuesday one of my Trinity friends and I took the train to Boyle, in county Roscommon, to go see one of our other friends. Roscommon is in the west of Ireland, so the train ride was about two and a half hours. Our friend lives in the country, so we got to see a lot of sheep, cows, and green countryside. We spent a couple of days at her place, enjoying the sunshine and making a bunch of food. Her brothers tried to teach me how to play GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) which is what they call Gaelic football (soccer). Needless to say, sports is not my forte, and that lesson was rather short. But it was still good craic. 🙂 We also went to a neighboring town to go to the cinema, and that evening I could not believe how silent it was at night. Usually back home you hear crickets or some type of bug, but if no one was making any noise, there was absolutely no sound. I thought it was kind of creepy, but the noise was made up for in the morning when we were woken up early by the loud cuckoo birds.
Last night after more cleaning my roommate (the only one that was left) and I decided to go into the city one last time. We got some ice cream and walked around, enjoying the lights and doing some exploring. I finally walked across the harp bridge, which is a famous bridge in Dublin shaped like a harp. I can’t believe I’ve been here for about nine months and had not walked across it. But now I can say I have.
Today, sadly, was my last day. I checked out of Halls and moved my stuff to a hostel for the final night (today was check out day). My roommates had all gone home, but a couple of my friends had come down to say goodbye to me, so we decided to take a quick trip to Malahide, which is a town north of the city. We walked around the castle and greens there, and spent some time at the beach. It was a fun last day, and now I’m exhausted and ready to get a lot of sleep!
I’m really glad I chose to go to Trinity; I think it’s the perfect school for me and for what I’m passionate about. I get to study my favourite subjects, and the people here are so diverse and have all sorts of different cultural backgrounds. I’ve made friends with people all over the world, and I feel like I’ve learned so much more about not only about Europe, but other places where my friends are from. The city also is another great perk for living here. It’s a large enough city to have some of the top companies worldwide and all the conveniences of a capital city. But it’s also small enough to not be overwhelming to live in, and it’s surrounded by mountains, beaches, fields, and all sorts of nature. (Also loving the fact that it is very cheap to fly to other European countries from Dublin).
I love that I didn’t live and eat on campus. Leaving in an apartment in the suburbs, making my own food (or other people making food for me a lot of the time) and then going to college being just another part of my life makes me feel like I’m really leading my own life. I didn’t have the experience of going to an American school, but I feel like going to a typical American university would kind of feel like boarding school. Living in the dorms, eating the cafeterias, and only a short walk to my classes would feel kind of strange to me. I’m sure not all universities are like that, but I do love my setup here in Dublin.
Finally, I’m really going to miss my roommates, as we kept getting closer as the year went on. It was a little intimidating at first being the only American amongst four Irish girls and a French girl, but we really bonded over different things throughout the year. Of course we make fun of each other’s cultural habits and differences, but we’ve also learned a lot from each other as well. I’m very fortunate to live with girls who really look out for one another. If we go out, we make sure we are all together and no one gets lost. If we’re studying (aka they think I’m studying too much), they’ll take my books from me and make me food and remind me that everything will be grand. We’ve made sure everyone’s birthdays got a huge celebration, and we would have the best Mario Kart competitions on our old Nintendo Ds’s.
But now it’s time to say au revoir. Dublin, it’s been grand, and I’m going to miss your weather (I don’t remember the last time I was in above 75 degree heat). I’ve learned a lot this year, and I am so excited to come back keep learning some more. I hope you all have enjoyed my updates; it has been a great way for me to share with my friends and family back home what I’ve been up to. Have a wonderfully summer, and I can’t wait to see you all soon!