The Beginning of Something Extraordinary

By:  Laila Shwaiki who starts the MSc. in Food Microbiology this September

It wasn’t that long ago that I was attending my last few months of lectures as an undergraduate at, what was at the time, my current university. As soon as I applied for the postgraduate course in UCC, I knew things were going to change. As the months went by and my final exams were completed, I knew I had done my very best to try and get the grades required to be accepted into a place that could possibly be my life for the next year. As the summer months flew by, so did my desire for Cork and all its opportunities it had waiting for me. Once I knew my destination for the next 12 months, my next step was looking for a place to live. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity of searching for accommodation will agree with me when I say that it is one of the many unpleasant struggles of becoming a new student in a completely new environment. For me, it was a battle that I proudly conquered after many months of searching.

Many people have questioned my decision of choosing UCC as my next step for my studies; and all of the people that wondered this were never given the chance to experience the profundity and history that leached through the walls of the buildings and onto the rich grounds of the campus that preserves the culture that surrounds UCC. Other people who know UCC understood immediately why I chose a city so far from my comfort zone. I attended NUIG for four long and unforgettable years and got to explore every inch of its campus. UCC, to me, gave off that same intensity that I got from my first visit at NUIG. The history, the culture, the elegance of the buildings and the old but modernised feel that the whole campus was able to give me instantly won me over.

Two weeks before the big move and the next step in my journey was deciding what to bring with me to this new city. Like any person, personal belongings are a must in any big move; but what type of emotional baggage was I going to be bringing with me and what should stay behind? As a 21-year-old woman moving away from all her friends and family, what type of mentality should I have as I embrace the city life alone? Will my current mental state that has allowed me to get through the first part of my life be enough? As my new path for a new beginning edges closer, I’m finally beginning to understand that maybe there’s nothing extraordinary that I need to be bringing with me, because I know that UCC is going to give me everything I really need. And maybe more.