Sometimes the best kind of change is the change you have no choice in. You have no choice but to move forward, up and out of your comfort zone. Finishing my time at the University of Limerick crept up on me out of nowhere, I feel like only yesterday it was January and I had months of being a student stretching ahead of me. But here we are. Yesterday, Thursday the 20th, I had my last lecture as an undergraduate in UL! This post is going to be a long and personal one, sorry!

I've been thinking a lot about the person I was when I first set foot in Limerick. It feels like such a long time ago, I remember that I was reluctant to set foot in a place that had 14,000 people roaming about at any one time and now four years later I am terrified to leave it. It means leaving behind a place I now call home. All the friends I've made here are going to be scattered all over the country, or the world even! It's a scary feeling. I don't really feel ready at all, but can you ever be ready for something like graduation? I didn't know who I was when I left home at eighteen, I had no real sense of self, I didn't really know where I fit into the puzzle, where my niche was. I was just blundering along, I don't think I'd given myself the chance to really explore what the world had to offer.

The first year in UL was such an eye-opener. Many of the friends I made back then in 2014, I still have today. Some I don't talk to anymore, but I've accepted that some people are only meant to be in your life for a short amount of time. I know I started to explore the world of music in ways I never expected to, I veered away from the world of nightclubs completely and decided to go down the road less traveled. I am so glad that I did! I even managed to fall in love in my first year and then get my heart broken in the same year, but now that I can look back on it, I'm glad it happened. I explored so many parts of Limerick city that year, from Moody Cow milkshakes to Arthur's Quay Park and The Hunt Museum. 

Second year was different. I was different. I don't feel embarrassed saying that I was really unhappy for most of my second year in university. I kinda isolated myself a lot from the people who cared about me. I had to figure myself out again, just as I'd thought I'd found my little niche. I suppose life is all about experimenting and by the second semester of second year I found myself the deputy editor of An Focal, the student newspaper and with it a lot of new friends. I visited the Burren so many times and wrote thousands and thousands of words in that semester alone. A lot of people came and went in that semester but I didn't mind, it was all a learning experience.

In the summer of 2016 I found myself on a plane to the USA and I lived there for three WHOLE months. I still pinch myself thinking about it. It was there I started to notice that things weren't so bad after all and I had lots more to discover about the world. It sounds cheesy but I really really started to come out of my shell again. I then moved to Belgium for five months. Walking those streets is where I started to really feel happy again, I used to walk into Ghent city centre and notice all the little things that made me happy. For example, how when the sun comes out the world looks that little bit better and you feel better on the inside too.That brings me to 2017, where I was in my second semester of third year. I found myself a bit lost again, but musically I found myself in the COOLEST of places. I started to go to Pharmacia and it has to be one of my favourite spots to go to on a night out. Costellos will forever have a special place in my heart, sticky floors and all!

In the latter part of 2017, I found myself surrounded by really talented people and I am still in awe of these people, how they all express themselves through art in different ways. Composers, painters, singers, drummers, sound engineers, DJs - you name it, I met them all! I went to so many gigs; listened to some lovely drum and bass, tried my hand at dancing to disco and even hip-hop!

In the last year alone I've met so many new people! Life always brings little surprises too. Some people have come into my life out of nowhere and I've found myself caring a lot more than I expected to. It's completely taken me by surprise. It's one of those things where you meet people and you just know they're going to leave a lasting impact, whatever happens. I'm glad I've met these people because whether they've been male or female, they've made me learn a little more about myself and I'll be forever grateful.

I now know that I'd rather go DIY LK's events than head out to a nightclub because I know that discovering a new band is much more exciting to me than a jam-packed night. But know that it's okay if that's what you like to do.  I own a lot of shirts and 18-year-old Eilís would never have worn them, but that's the beauty of it. I now am part of the cat-loving community and I never ever thought I'd say that, shout out to Little Smalls for changing my mind! I pay more attention to drums within a song, it's something I've picked up along the way. I am vegetarian, who would have thought? So many things have changed and are changing.

I was listening to Ben Howard on Wednesday night when I was cycling around campus. If you're new to UL or haven't taken the time to, please go for a walk through UL at night, it's honestly spectacular. If you're starting UL in September of this year, I am so excited for you! I'll have to admit I had a little cry when I wrote this, it's been both bittersweet and lovely to sit down and think about everything that's happened to me in the last four years. This has probably been my most personal blog post in a very long time but I think this one is important for me to write.

Instead of just leaving you just a thank you (thank you as always though), I'd like to just leave a collection of my favourite photos from my time in UL! I'll add more as time goes on. More so for me so I can look at them, but it's also a way to see UL through my eyes if you're interested in that sort of thing.

UL : 2014 - 2018 !

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