The first term of my MA is over. I still have one assignment left to hand in but essentially term is over and the Christmas holidays have started. It’s a bit of shock that the first term is over already but to be honest, I was a bit shocked to actually find myself doing the MA way back in September. I remember sitting in the Bank of Ireland theatre at the course induction meeting, hearing about the classes we would be taking throughout the year, and feeling surprised and amazed that I was actually there – I was actually doing this. This was despite, or maybe because of, the months of planning that brought me me there. I spent about nine months thinking about doing the MA before I actually applied. I liked the sound of the course and spent time writing my personal statement and gathering up all my supporting documents. I went through the checklist on Student Finance about six times to make sure that I really would be entitled to a grant, I did my sums wondering if I could afford it. I was amazed I actually made it happen after thinking about it for so long!
Once I got there, I had to get my head around the fact that I was back in college again. I thought it would be easy to get used to – after all, I’d done it before and this time I wasn’t even leaving the country. I was surprised how much I missed my life in Dublin, especially during the first few weeks in Galway. When I headed to London to do my BA, I was unemployed and living at home with my parents and not very happy with my lift. I had more to give up this time. I liked living in Dublin, I worked with people whose company I enjoyed, I had a job where I was liked and respected and where I was earning good money. I had friends in Dublin and my own little flat that I adored. And I turned that comfortable, enjoyable life upside down because I liked the idea of studying theatre again! There were times during those first few weeks when I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake! It’s hard to get used to not having any money (to be honest, I still struggle with that one some days!) and getting used to living in a house share is tricky too! Being forced to manage your own time after three years as an office drone isn’t easy; neither is trying to remember how to write essays and what is expected of you. To anyone thinking about returning to study, I would recommend writing out a list of all the reasons why you are doing it and what you hope to get out of it – it will be useful on the dark days when you wonder what the hell you were thinking and why you ever thought this was a good idea in the first place!
Thankfully, the risk paid off. I am really enjoying the course – I had great classes this year, I loved being back in a physical drama class again and devising little pieces of theatre, I liked reading plays and writing plays and talking about theatre, and going to see shows and discussing them afterwards with my classmates. I am also enjoying being a student again – I think it suits me! I have wonderful classmates who I am going to miss over the Christmas break and I’m looking forward to next term already. I have another physical drama class and I’m also doing a class in reviewing which means going to see something in the Town Hall Theatre every week and then writing! The class will be a writing workshop where everybody reads everyone else’s work and offers their opinions on it! Scary but useful, I think. I may throw a few of the reviews up here if they’re any good! So it’s worked out. I like my course, I like my classmates, I’m getting used to being a broke student again and I’m starting to like my life in Galway. Most days I love it and feel lucky and privileges and happy with the way my life is going. If nothing else the course has confirmed for me that working in the theatre is what I want to do.