reflections on college | university experience

Going to college was, surprisingly, not something I thought about too much when I was younger. I loved to imagine what job I would have in the future, where I would live, the people I would meet – but never what I would study at university. In retrospect, I believe this was an early sign that third level education would not be the formative experience it constitutes for so many. To say that it would have no impact on my life would be an understatement, but it was not to be a period of transformation.

As time went on I became more aware that change was imminent. Having said this, it wasn’t until I was about 15 that I had made (what I thought was) a firm decision regarding what I wanted to pursue in college. I was convinced that I wanted to study psychology, given my fascination with the human mind. My outlook shifted when I thought more pragmatically; i.e. what I excelled in at school versus what made me cry on a regular basis. The latter being anything maths and science related, I veered away from psychology and chose to do a bachelor of arts in languages. Fast forward through exams, results and college offers, I have a place on my course and I’m ready to go.

This is when things go downhill. Sort of. My experience in college has been odd in the sense that I haven’t hated it, but I definitely haven’t loved it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so indifferent towards something. Academically speaking it’s all been fine, but to this day I feel utterly unstimulated. This combination of indifference and lack of stimulation has not been a good experience. I cannot count the number of times I’ve mentally destroyed myself with regret, agonising over what could have been if I’d chosen a course I was genuinely interested in. Normally this doesn’t last any longer than a day, and I have ploughed on through the very worst of essays and assignments.

The social element of college has also been a mixed bag. I’ve met some wonderful friends over the years, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Many of the people I have crossed paths with in college have restored my faith in humanity, in stark contrast to my experience in secondary school. Having said all of this, the way in which I view socialising has changed quite a lot. If you read my previous post on what constitutes fun, you will know that I’m not really one for parties or going out. Much of the social scene in college revolves around parties, drinking, etc etc. As you can imagine this isn’t something that sits well with me, but it’s no big deal. You can navigate your way around it quite easily.

I would love to say that going to college has been a worthwhile experience, but I’m honestly unsure if I would stretch that far. What I will say is that I have a far healthier relationship with how I view educational institutions; secondary school was downright hellish at times, but I feel as though many of my wounds have healed and I am ready to move on. This wouldn’t have been possible without learning that I could be happy in a school-like setting – i.e. I would still feel terrible if I hadn’t chosen to go to college.

I’ve re-written the end of this piece about six times, but I can’t figure out what the most effective conclusion would be. I don’t even know if there is a conclusion to all of this. If I don’t stop writing here i’ll just end up rambling (because that isn’t what I’ve been doing for this entire piece), so here are a few things I’ve learned from my experience in university. Some ‘reflections’, if you will.

  • I hate working in groups; always have, probably always will. I tried to get involved with society work (we have clubs and societies in most Irish third level institutions), but… it’s a no from me.
  • You are your single biggest priority.
  • Education is important, but it comes in many many forms. Living in this world is an education in and of itself.
  • People can change, for better or for worse.
  • Facing fears is important, but you don’t have to like what it is you once feared. I don’t fear travelling for long periods of time anymore, but I still don’t like it.
  • Routine is essential; much and all as you may dream of days off and lie-ins on a week day while you’re at school, a lack of structure can create all sorts of practical and emotional problems.
  • Disillusionment is worse than hatred. It’s better to feel something than nothing at all. I would honestly say that my worst maths classes were better than some days I’ve spent in college feeling lifeless.
  • It may be true that quitters never win, but quitters also have a chance to move on and try news things. Giving up is not a sign of weakness. So, maybe quitters do win from time to time.
  • The whole ‘you’re only young once’ thing is true, but you can adapt it to your own wants and needs. I may not go out at night all that often, but that doesn’t mean I’m not experimenting with new things.

If you’ve reached the end of this and thought ‘why the f*ck did I read this whole thing when I could have just scrolled to that list at the end’ – you could have, but a lot of the above wouldn’t have made sense. I hope I set the scene appropriately, and that you don’t feel like I did in maths class all those years ago.

If you’re about to start college, or if you’re already wrist-deep into your degree, I wish you the very best of luck in the future. The present is not forever, realistically we’re all gonna be just fine. Or so we hope. It’s all to play for.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

four hundred of you | mini update

Today we hit 400 followers on The Electric Oracle – as always, THANK YOU for following! I appreciate it more than you could ever imagine.

I know that I was meant to post something a little longer + more substantial by the end of this week, but I promise it’ll be up by Wednesday of this coming week. It’s going to be related to my experience in college / university so far, should that tickle your fancy.

We’re also relatively close to hitting 5,000 views on here which is wild, by my standards. When we hit 10,000 views I might do a kind of ‘get to know me’ post, or possibly a Q & A. Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

I wish you all the very best of health and happiness for the coming week; thank you for being here. ❤

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

you cannot replace the present with the past | embrace the grey

Incomplete. Unfulfilled. Something is missing.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve experienced the above in my life so far. A sense that nothing is coming together as it should. It often seems to occur in the middle of something rather than at the start or end of a project or phase. You’re stuck in a grey hue of dissatisfaction, with seemingly no end in sight.

It is so easy at this point to look back on your life so far and pinpoint things that made you happy. Things that brought a sense of fulfillment and energy into your being. You may then attempt to re-introduce whatever it was that once completed you back into the present day, hoping that you will feel as alive as you know you are capable of feeling.

This is where we encounter an issue; what once completed you cannot possibly complete you again, as you are already complete in this regard. The action has served its purpose. To try and re-instate it will only bring you back to what is familiar, thus inhibiting growth of any kind.

This in and of itself may seem depressing, but it really isn’t. The fact that you feel a sense of distance from what once made you happy simply means that you are already growing, whether you realise it or not. Eventually you will grow into a new phase, one where you will feel as though you are living again. Embrace the grey hue, be aware of it, and take steps to flourish. It can seem like an impossible task when you are so deeply unsure of what life has in store for you, but you will ultimately look back on the grey parts of your life wishing you had moved forwards rather than backwards into familiar.

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I realise this post was a bit haphazard, but I’m still readjusting after my week away! I hope you’re all as healthy and happy as can be. I’ll have a longer post up later in the week.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

moulding emotion | look at a feeling, let it pass

It starts in your gut. You feel your stomach churn, and soon your mind starts spinning. These cogs turn together, forcing your mouth into action so that, before you know it, you’ve said something you’ll live to regret. All because of a feeling that spun out of control.

This is an all-too-familiar experience for the majority of the human race. Someone says something, we take it personally and bam! the insecurities tumble out at record speed. It is phenomenal how any issue we have with the person facing us can be compressed into a little package of hate within seconds of a misinterpreted remark.

The same thing can happen when we are faced with unpleasant circumstances. Combine this with a lack of control over said circumstances and you have enough fuel to keep the cogs whirring until you’re engulfed in nothing but feeling. All rationality goes out the window, leaving you at the mercy of your primal instincts.

While you can’t necessarily stop a feeling from emerging, you can stop it from developing. All you have to do is acknowledge its presence, and let it pass. Don’t act on it. If that means staying silent for a second, or pausing for breath, don’t hesitate to do so. Just be aware that you’re feeling angry or hurt, even unloved, and allow this awareness to give you a heightened level of understanding. It is with this understanding that we can grow both internally and externally; our relationships with ourselves and others improve, and we ultimately live better lives.

This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way as I’ve grown up (I use the term ‘grow up’ pretty loosely as I still have an awful lot of growing up to do!). So many arguments and bad feelings could have been prevented if I’d just held myself back for a moment. When I did eventually figure all of this out – roughly when I was about 18 –  it was as if I’d been given a new power. I sincerely hope I’ve passed on this power by writing this post!

The next time an unwanted feeling starts growing inside of you, be aware that you do not have to give in to it. Look at it, and let it pass.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

just say it | saying everything says nothing

It’s incredibly easy to go overboard when writing. There is, however, a lot to be said for just saying something. No frills. Just get to the point.

We try so hard at times to add depth to something by making it more complex. We hurl in adjectives with all our might, hoping we will strike a more powerful chord as a result. Does it work? In my opinion, not really. It results in nothing but confusion for whoever your message is intended for.

I also believe that an overuse of words conveys fear. A fear of committing to what you are saying, to just spitting it out for the world to hear. For your world to hear; maybe even for you to hear. 

Don’t worry about saying everything. Just say it. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself.  

finding shapes in the fog is what shapes you

Everything is shrouded in fog today. My head, my surroundings, even these words I’m writing. I can’t quite remember when things started to feel like this; possibly when I was in Paris two weeks ago. Foreign travel always does strange things to me – I’ve never really clicked with it.

Disconnected days like these are when we must create solid ground for ourselves. Not only must we create solid ground, but we must believe that we are capable of doing so. Fog doesn’t linger forever.

Once we feel grounded again, we can adapt to the fog and become more capable as a result. If you can live clearly through fog you can live through anything.

After all, finding shapes in the fog is what shapes you.

I realise this was a relatively short post, but I hope it helps someone out there. You can tackle whatever is facing you today, I believe in you!

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

when I’m ready | just do it

You are never completely ready for anything, ever. Never ever. A curveball can hit you square in the face at any given moment, so there is never a ‘right time’ to get things started. Particularly when you feel something in your gut, a stirring that could become something great; it takes courage to pounce on this and just do it.

The art of ‘just doing’ is, in my opinion, a skill that can be honed. Some people are born with it – a little to much of it, at that – and some people need that extra little push to get things moving. Either way, you can always improve on your ability to do rather than think.

There will always be a reason not to do something. For me, my main challenge is getting past the initial stages of a project. I know exactly how it feels to ‘click’ with something, that feeling of not wanting to stop no matter what comes your way. It’s a great feeling, but it doesn’t always come about. There are times when you need to find your groove. Or maybe there isn’t even a groove to begin with, and you have to carve one out with your own two hands. In ways the latter can be even more beneficial; you end up establishing a niche for yourself without even realising. A niche you would never have found if you hadn’t stepped up and done something.

If by some fluke you are reading this, do not be afraid to do. Go for it. Even if you fail spectacularly, you’ll live to tell the tale. I wish I could think of an ending to this post that was a little less cheesy, but a cheesy ending isn’t always a bad ending.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X

(P.S. This post was not sponsored by Nike, I promise! But still. Just do it.)

humble beginnings

I was sorely tempted to start this with an inspirational quote, but I’ll refrain. If you’re reading this you *probably* came over from Twitter, so you already know that I’m Clodagh bla bla bla bla bla. If you didn’t come from Twitter, hello! I’m glad you’re here. You can read a little more about me on, unsurprisingly, the ‘about’ section of this page.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, but I could never figure out how to execute it properly. To be honest I still don’t know what I’m doing, but (a) who the hell does and (b) this means I have plenty to write about. Happy days.

So what do we have so far? Inspirational quotes (or a lack thererof), uncertainty and ‘happy days’ – I think that serves as quite a good summary for all that this page stands for. It’s a blog in the sense that I’m using a blogging platform, but it’s not a blog in that it’s going to be a strange mixture of things. In short: idk.

Do stick around.

Love and luck,

Clodagh X