In all honesty, if you would have asked me at the beginning of 2019 what Maynooth was I would just look at you funny. It wasn’t something that I had fully thought out, but I just decided to take a chance. I always thought I did not have anything to lose by applying. The reason I ended up picking Maynooth was honestly the campus. After researching about DCU and Trinity, I just felt like it was not the right fit for me. Maynooth University just has a quirky feel to it, and as a past art school student, it felt cozier in a way. The international staff was very supportive, and I can’t express enough how much of a help they were.
As a mature student, it was sort of fun shocking my fellow classmates with my real age. Interestingly I have not noticeably aged for the past ten years. The lectures were engaging as well, and I was a big fan of most of them. I started using the gym too, it was nice to start weightlifting once again. The key is to go at times when it is not crowded.
Studying in a different country, was not a far-fetched concept to me. At nineteen, I had moved to Madrid, Spain to study postproduction at film school. I spent three years there, and it changed me immensely. So, moving to Ireland was less of a culture shock at twenty-four, as I was already accustomed to living abroad. I was already familiar with the culture, as there are many Irish folks in New York, and my partner is also Irish. That doesn’t mean it was easy for me to understand certain slang such as if I fancied a “cuppa”. A cuppa what!? It also fascinated how many roundabouts there are too. Another good thing about living in Ireland is that the beer is class. The pubs are an integral part of the Irish culture and economy, so you’re right to assume that I wrote my local pub a stellar review.
When coronavirus eventually did hit, it did put a damper on future travel plans to Belgium and Croatia. It also made it harder to go visit my family back in the States, but it was the absolute least I could do in a pandemic. Education moved to remote learning, which has made things more uncertain. Although, now I’m starting to use more tools to benefit my learning experience.
All in all, I do miss Maynooth Campus, as I did find it amusing seeing a kid dressed up in an inflatable t-rex suit. In my opinion, that is the physical embodiment of what Maynooth represents. It’s a place where you go to earn a higher-level education, and yet you also end up joining unexplainable loving community. A place where you can be whoever you want to be without any judgment. If you’re deciding what university to go to in Ireland, Maynooth should be the first one on your list if you want to leave this island nation with a memorable experience.