A future

It surprises me, when and how I think of that

Something of just you and me,

 

A future –

 

(so vivid and real)

That it may be even possible

 

I think ahead like always,

Thoughts creep in slow and

Flow all around my head fast and quick,

Trying to escape at first but being trapped, remaining

Setting something up, strong

Without any chance of defeat

 

I hope you can fit and fight on with me

In this tight and rigid space of my mind

For what the future will hold, brings forth fancies and opportunities to rip away set ties,

Unexpected but accepted, in time

 

I hope you’ll be beside me, for the big and the small things
All I can want and dream for you,

Is just to be.

Whatever that might come to mean,

All in good time.

 

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The final year files: October

The final year files: October

Hi again!

Hope you’re feeling spooky on the day that’s in it. Welcome back to the bitter place of Hell that comes in the form of final year at university, brutal I know. Now October was a scary time as the college as monsters decided to come to life as assignments. These fiends were worth a high proportion of the grade and were coming all at once, a little thrilling I must admit. The dreaded and much spoken about week 6 came and went and didn’t take too many victims on its rampage (but it was close, let me tell you). So overall, it’s been a fairly scary time, so much so that Halloween itself was welcomed.

Now I know I started things off positively last month and I don’t want to totally lose that, but I will be brutally honest and say, from the front lines – we’re finding it difficult here. I thought for a short while that it was just me, when my not-so-amazing first grade of final year came back with a bang. But I soon found out that I was not alone in this pit of despair (there’s actually a few pals down in this pit, we’re holding things up pretty well).

So although it’s been stressful, it didn’t result in total failure and even encouraged some unity- that’s a plus yeah?

To change it up, I’ll bring you right back to the end of September, when my fellow students and I arose from the final year pits and attended the March 4 Choice gathering rally in Dublin city centre. An amazing experience, difficult to some up honestly as it was really such a huge thing. It ranged from chants to bants from young people (younger than I) and those a little more mature (much older than I). But it was clear that we were all united collectively for the one cause, something that on the day was tiring yet very rewarding. I’m so happy that we gave up a day to march for those whose days have been destroyed and changed utterly due to our restricting, inhumane and cruel eighth amendment.

On another more positive note, I got to attend the Irish Blog Awards at the start of the month due to this blog being placed in the final of the Personal Politics and Current Affairs Section. This was pretty incredible to be surrounded by the community – another huge one I’ll admit – of those doing something similar to me right now writing like this actively. I was honoured to see the title of this blog to pop up on screen, and although it wasn’t crowned a winner – I’m delighted for the blogs who did triumph. It really encouraged me again to keep this going further, coming back next year stronger.

So I’d like to say that we’ve now really settled into the way of final year with lectures, housemates, friends mostly known well and familiar, assignments, tests and presentations – it’s clear that we are doing things on an individual basis. We’ve faced the wrath of assignments and maybe learned a little bit more about our own capabilities. Things really came into focus when I attended a jobs fair in the college. Seeing the adult world creep closer from all sides, in an all-consuming manner probably should have panicked me. My friends graduating (although delayed slightly by the gal herself Ophelia) should have also but fair enough, it did have affect and made me think of the future ahead.

The future is dividing us as students right now. It appears to me that some have their ideas decided upon, settled and excited to run with. They have their eyes and mind focusing forwards only, not exactly seeing what’s going on either side of them. For me personally, that hasn’t happened yet and honestly, I don’t really want it to. Call me crazy here but I’d rather smell the final year flowers than think of the big company I’ll sign my soul over to or masters course I’ll choose from a hat just to have a plan together.

I know the unknown is a scary place but for me, tackling the monsters of final year right now – the unknown doesn’t seem so bad in comparison.

 

All images are taken from my personal instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

21 blog posts series take twenty one

21 blog posts series take twenty one

Twenty-one: “The final, the future”

So as we draw this blog series to a close together, we come to the number that represents the age I am now. I think birthdays remind us that we’re equal, being celebrated for being born and growing older. Nobody can take your birthday away from you, no matter what age you are. So as we draw the curtain on this series, which I hope you enjoyed or got something out of, I’d like to make this post about the future. I see the future as something positive, with the sense of unknown possibilities to come.

Now this wasn’t always the case for me. I spent my secondary school life waiting and dreading the Leaving Certificate and often I thought about the hassle of final year when I began studying in college. It’s because we know we’ve to face challenges in our future and in the present time, we may not feel ready and so that creates a sense of fear. A good few friends of mine are in final year, preparing for exams and ultimately finishing their undergraduate degrees and for some, being finished with college forever.

Should that create a sense of panic? I guess it depends on how you look at it. But in so many ways, the future is inevitable and really being scared about it proves little purpose. Change is unavoidable and it’s really up to us whether or not we change with the times. But honestly, we probably aren’t being very fair to the idea of progress if we don’t at least try along the way. I’m excited for the future to see how much the world will change in my life time and how I’ll react to that change.

It’s amazing to think of what the future might bring about. Whether that be new friends and family members, relationships, break-ups, jobs, joys and challenges – all aspects that make up a life. I think a weight is lifted once you decide to accept life’s positives and negatives simply as they are. Blame the universe or God or whoever you want, even yourself if there’s an element of fault there but that acceptance of life happening without your complete control is often a hard lesson to learn but one we all must face up to.

The future is ever changing and honestly, exciting enough. All these blog posts I’ve done covering pretty varying topics, I hope will stand the test of time and be carried on into the future. Life doesn’t really change overnight a lot of the time and often we’re too wrapped up our own things to notice the future happening. Age for the most part brings wisdom and we must remember that we are setting examples for the generations to come, whether this be close relatives or even work colleagues – we all have a part to play in this.

I don’t think age matters when it comes to having an independent thought or opinion, having an “established voice” in order to be right about something. That’s not always the case and young people should be encouraged to speak out, with importance placed on their confidence and ability to speak their minds without being deemed “cheeky” or ill mannered. We’re all being educated well and I’d like to think we can form a thought or two, and shouldn’t be afraid to voice it when we have it.

So thinking to a future without fear, may you: reflect, appreciate the ability to travel, attend the events that mean something to you, avoid the pitfalls in relationships, value and appreciate individual friends, understand that loss happens and plays a role, appreciate the lessons of history, know the curse of social media, not apologise for your preferences, learn from mentors and appreciate wisdom, manage your money, respect the responsibility nature demands, appreciate sport and athleticism, question in order to understand politics, be kind to your body and yourself, find common ground within family, recognise change in journalism, know and trust the power of your own voice, expect the unexpected, be welcoming to refugees and finally – understand that the future is not something to be afraid of.

(And if you realised that they are all the titles of these blog posts, well done – I now declare you’re a fan).

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

21 blog posts series ease eleven

21 blog posts series ease eleven

Eleven “Managing your money”

We’re always told about saving for that “rainy day” occurrence. It’s something that’s planted into our minds from an early age from pocket money to cashing in for brithdays or special events. I agree with saving for the rainy day and rightly considering that you might not have an influx of money in the near future. But sometimes, with the money demands that come with being a student, it can feel like it’s constantly overcast and the rainy day is happening constantly, just above our heads.

Never fear, these challenges can be tackled with a small bit of planning and some self control. Before I get into this I will say that it isn’t very good to live your life in fear of spending. What I’ve learned is that with each purchase or investment we make, we must decide on the how worthwhile the action is that we’re taking. Start with devising in your mind whether the thing is a want or a need, like a form of pro or con list. At the end of the day, every time we make a purchase we are making a choice whether something is worth it or not in terms of parting with your money.

However it is you get your income, money comes with responsibility attached. It can easily enough become something scarce when not handled or managed properly. A smart way to go about spending less is to get yourself well set up to deal with the unexpected. There are some great apps out there for money management which are worth a try for sure. But what I’ve found most useful is having two accounts to work off one as a spending and one as a saving account.

It’s not really that much of a hassle, it just divides your funds more fairly so you can attempt to stay on top of things, having something to fall back on if you really need it. I think there’s something built in us to love spending money, I don’t really know of anybody who doesn’t partake in the act. But I think surrounding yourself with people who you know may entice you to spend can sometimes be an act of harm. But this doesn’t have to be a thing you avoid if you put a bit of planning into it.

If you’ve arranged to meet a friend out somewhere, say a café or restaurant – familiarise yourself beforehand with the price range of the place. How much are you willing to spend here? What’s your budget? For me, budgets and weekly expenses can fluctuate. I’ll have more money in if I get more hours at work but I won’t if that doesn’t come together.

So what do I do? Lock myself away from the world if there isn’t a certain amount in my account? No. I would say, always do the thing if at all possible, but think ahead of what you might need to draw in on and make sure you keep your wits to do that. Plan out what the likely expenses will be and see if there are alternatives to these in the situation. This can be applied to any sort of social event when you really give it some thought.

Student life can bring with it huge pressures, from money to exams and really the balance is sometimes impossible to get right. Should you get more hours at work or in the library this week? It’s hard to know. So I’d say if you’re really stuck, don’t be afraid to go for the student loan option, be that from a bank or another source. We all place value on our degrees and if a loan is what you need to get that done, so be it. Grants are great things and should be thoroughly appreciated but when it’s a tough time financially, do what you have to do.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

Turning corners

Bottle the problem,
Capture it

enclose it away
Turn to the bottle, it has the answer

You have to get to the bottom of it
Lock you up

There’s a screw not turning

In a man so focused on fixing
Those around him

Coming down hard

Like the shard of glass
That he probably used that time,

They all do that don’t they?

It’s expected and weirdly accepted
Swept away, like the glass I lose to the floor every time I work in the bar.
We let things go on too far

before we do what we can

We clear it away.

It’s gone, everything is perfect again.
Until the next time.

This inevitable unknown that’s just around the corner,

Comes once you are on the wrong road.
Don’t leave the paths you know,

Don’t branch out and try to live.

Stay set stay put,

It’s the only way.
You may be a misery,

But at least it’s not clinical

Not this time.
I wonder when the next corner will come?

Out of nowhere and send the vehicle overturning, spinning out of control.
The road is never known

A Message Amidst Madness Series: The Final Message.

By Cathy Lee

Everything is finite isn’t it? I mean infinity can’t even be defined.

The duration of your favourite film is set. There could be a sequel, but that has to end as well doesn’t it?

Just like this ‘A Message Amidst Madness’ Series, it has to end sometime.

I realise my last few posts have been rather political, but I can guarantee that this won’t be.

It won’t be political because politics doesn’t matter for what I’m going to talk about.

Last week, suddenly, my gran-aunt died for about fifteen minutes, casually, on Friday morning.

Weird right? She literally was at deaths door, said “no thank you” and made her return on back.

It got me to thinking and kind of put things into perspective a little bit.

I had come home to vote on Friday (I’m sorry I said I wouldn’t mention politics – woops!) and my mother picked me up off the train.

We drove for a little bit and caught up on various things. About twenty minutes in she announced that we had to go eat lunch.

I told her I wasn’t overly hungry, just wanted to go vote and get working on a few assignments due – as I knew that’s how my weekend looked like it would consist of anyway.

There was no protesting, we were going to get lunch.

At the table after just starting to eat my mother told me that we wouldn’t be going home and we’d have to go check in on my gran-aunt.

She then explained the reasoning and what her morning had consisted of.

Ambulances had been called and my extended family members had gathered in the home of my gran-aunt after her housekeeper had noticed her fall particularly ill.

“White as a ghost she was, cold, gone I tell ya” – I was told later on when we arrived to the house.

Now, after a near-death experience everyone is usually you know, shook up or panicked.

But not Theresa.  I swear she got a new lease for life.

When I arrived to the house, some relatives and friends were still lurking around.

They all chattered together, expecting her to take another turn.

I took a seat beside her bed when I arrived. We call to her regularly and it’s usually the same questions or trivia discussed.

Today was different though.

She complimented my ripped jeans and asked me what nightclub we’d go to that night.

I quickly informed her that Saturday nights were better for the night-life and dancing.

We laughed and she asked if she could borrow some of my clothes as a hand-me-down saying she missed being in fashion.

I told her no problem, that I would have loved to have had the opportunity to go to the dances with her. I knew this from stories of herself and my grandmother doing a few jigs up at the community hall in their time.

She said of the morning’s proceedings that she remembers being given some cornflakes and it was a regular morning. Then waking up to ambulance men and relatives in her room.

Her first thought was that there wouldn’t be enough cornflakes for everyone and that she hadn’t realised she was throwing a party.

For some reason I’ve always thought that the young and the old get on better than adults and children or adults and the elderly.

It’s simply because neither group take life too seriously.

I mean myself and Theresa could just laugh about going out on the town while the adults conducting their actions in panic over where Mrs. Keane was going next.

Theresa is 87, she knows what happens to people at that stage of life. It has happened for many friends, relatives and neighbours she knew.

I really think she’s okay with it. When we left her home, she got up out of bed and walked me to the door and waved as we drove away.

My mother couldn’t understand why I was smiling.

That weekend I worked at my essays, but I also took the time to see my dear friends. We had dinner at my best friend’s house and she even basked dessert for us.

I told the friend group of this story, we talked about the elections and we planned for the future of the fun things we’d do together.

I know we won’t have the future forever and may not even have each other either.

But I realised the truth that day, and that is my final message for you:

“Don’t take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway”.

That saying used to freak me to my very core. But seeing Theresa face death and come back with a laugh, I’m inspired.

 

And so this is the end of the series. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.