I can’t believe it’s been a year and seven months since my most recent blog post. Thank you to my friends who have urged me to get writing again. Anxiety laden, I’m beginning today, and hope to write at least one blog a week from now on.
It’s so lovely to have readers, they’re really important, but I’ve begun to realise it’s also vital I de-clutter my head by writing down some of my thoughts.
I was really nervous as I opened my blog folder on my lap top just now. I’ve called the file ‘Thank You Maeve’ and my first blog is ‘We’ll miss you Maeve.’ I wrote it following the death of Maeve Binchy in August 2012. She inspired me. I loved her writing as a teenager, and her chat made me laugh as an adult. Every time I heard her voice on the radio my spirits lifted. http://bit.ly/1B1RogB
Checking back on the date of my last blog, (19th June 2013), I cringe as I realise my first task is to insert a missing word in the very first line…now how did I miss that?!
I stopped writing for pleasure in September 2013 when I began a full-time masters in Irish Literature and Culture at NUI Maynooth. I thought my experience as a mature student would be perfect blogging material, but instead everything I wrote sounded worthy.
It was the print version of the earnest, and annoying, radio ads churned out every autumn, extoling the virtues of becoming a mature student. Being a mature student is fantastic… it’s fun, exhilarating and stressful…and a privilege of course to be able to grasp a second chance at education…but those incessant ads grate on my nerves.
My life as a mature student began aged 37, when I got a place on the UCD access course (based in Pobalscoil Neasáin, Baldoyle) in September 2002 studying English and Politics. It was brilliant, I loved every minute of it.
My friend Gemma was the catalyst for this. Having completed my leaving cert in Malahide Community School in 1982, along with about forty other students I did really badly in English, a subject I was passionate about.
There were two great English teachers in our school with very different teaching styles, but the results from both classes were awful. Back in touch with my own teacher Catherine Kilbride, she told me recently that memories of that results day in August 1982 still haunt her. She left the school soon afterwards becoming principal of the now closed Miss Meredith’s school in Baggot Street…where Maeve Binchy taught too for a time. The other teacher, the late Ann Colville, had a letter she wrote complaining of the ‘closing of ranks’ within the Department of Education published in The Irish Times. At that time there was no recourse for teachers or students but thankfully that has changed.
Anyway…sick of listening to me talking about repeating the English exam, Gemma urged me to move on, complete the ‘return to learning’ course and do an English degree instead. I really wasn’t sure I’d be able for it.
That famous D was the impetus for my further studies. Over the next few weeks I hope I’ll have a bit more to say about my three years from 2004-2007 as a mature student in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra…described by my husband as ‘the Carlsberg of degrees’…and my recent year in NUI, Maynooth where I was totally absorbed, challenged and stressed out.