Sometimes it takes heartache and disappointment to discover your true identity

As a 3rd Year University student of Physical Education with Geography, I have looked back on my time studying over seas and wondered what would have happened if I had never left.

About three years ago, when I was finishing my final year of school, my target was to become a Secondary P.E teacher. I knew that it was what I wanted to do, but deep down I had a feeling that I would not be able to achieve the necessary points.

As a result, I looked to other universities outside of Ireland for guidance. One of my team mates had moved to Liverpool the two years previous and I was intrigued by the numerous possibilities that moving away from the motherland would bring.

By meeting up with the school learning advisor once a week, it allowed me to draft ideas of my next academic destination at home or abroad. Strawberry Hill teaching College, or St. Mary’s University Twickenham, which is what it is known as today, was highlighted as the best fit; resulting in the sending of an application form so that the waiting game could commence. 

The morning of my results day had come along quickly and my family and friends showed their support, for me whatever the result. From what I remember, all of my friends had achieved to the best of their abilities, which was nice to hear, however not everyone was content.

That experience was the most vivid and upsetting of my life so far, as I felt as if I had lost my identity. Many questions were going through my head when I did not receive the offer that I was expecting from Ireland, such as what were people going to think of me and what was I going to do with my life?

Over the next few days my mother consolidated me and tried to bring some motivation back in to my life. She used the expression everything happens in life for a reason but I was not one bit impressed.

However, after a few days had passed, I had just returned from my job as a waiter in the local cafe, when the post man arrived at the door. Tearing open one of the letters revealed a note of acceptance to St. Mary’s, Twickenham.

At first, I didn’t know what to think. I knew it would be expensive to study in London, but I felt that it was a challenge that I was willing to accept.

This event will stay close to me for the rest of my years. Not because my mother was correct, but because God had chosen a different pathway for me to go down, where my transition from Ireland to London would allow me to discover my true identity as an Irish teacher living in the United Kingdom.