Recently I've been thinking quite a bit about where I want to go in life. The problem with doing a two suject moderatorship and adoring both subjects is that I have no idea where to specialise. I've also been thinking about little dreams I've had throughout my life, little things I've wanted to experience. So now, a month and a half before I turn nineteen, I think I'll jot down my aspirations and give myself a focus.
& Have Dr. as a prefix to my name. I adore education, learning and understanding and have always assumed that I will get myself a phD. It would be my equivalent of releasing an album, or designing & showcasing a first collection. I don't know what I'd do it on yet, though, if I go into psychology it will probably be something related to gender. I'd especially like to study for it abroad, in England, France or the U.S.
How to achieve: Keep working hard in college. Be competitive.
& As regards a 'serious career', I have no idea as of yet mostly because I have no idea whether I'll take my degree in literature or psychology. Either way, lecturing and researching would be my first choice because it's not a monotonous job, it's something I'm passionate about and I can see it being very fulfilling.
How to achieve: See above.
& Get consistent firsts as end of year grades. Don't slip below 2.1 for coursework grades.
How to achieve: Study. Read. Work hard. Be original. Think.
& Play keyboards and all kinds of percussion in a gothy electro band and dress like a character out of a Gibson novel at each gig.
How to achieve: make myself available to musicians with similar dystopian dreams.
& Be part of a little guitar-and-piano acoustic duo. Smile often. Hum as a backup singer. Perform a lot of lovesongs and wink at the pretty boys in the audience.
How to achieve: find a kindred musical soul who can write sweet melodies that entwine prettily with my lyrics. Keep smiling. Be charming.
& Finish the standard RAD grades (up to 8). Get the first few vocational grades - the ones for the people who don't want to be professional ballerinas but still want to dance well.
How to achieve: Keep dancing. Stay in shape. Make time.
& Get my diploma for teaching piano.
How to achieve: Keep playing. Get grades 7 and 8 done. Make time.
& Travel lots. I want to go inter-railing in Eastern Europe, see most of the major cities in Western Europe and visit the Scandinavian countries. I want to see San Francisco, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Montreal, Moscow. I want to backpack in South America and Australia, see India and live in Paris for a while.
How to achieve: Save money. Volunteer where I'm needed. Find travelling partners.
& Shun the standard cinema, club or pub trips every now and again for something unusual. Go to the theatre, go to art shows, go hiking.
How to achieve: Already working on it. I have friends who are interested too, and I live in a city full of new things. I have no excuse!
& Teach people abroad who might otherwise be left without education. Spread my love of learning. Work for UNESCO.
How to achieve: Volunteer time and energy. Get in touch with the old school for their connections in Zambia and Peru. Be prepared to make sacrifices.
& Keep on working with my university's access program. Try to share the opportunities I've had with the people who haven't had my luck in life.
How to achieve: Go for the parallel program again next year. Help Rosie with the special needs program and if that's full go for the standard voluntary tuition program. Be enthusiastic. Go for parallel co-ordinator in 3rd or 4th year.
& Be a good friend.
How to achieve: Do things with friends. Listen, advise, be a shoulder. Laugh, scream, be a partner in crime. Love.
& Meet new people.
How to achieve: Say hello. Strike up conversations with people in the queue, on the bus, beside you. Go out with friends' friends, be chatty, be open. Smile.
The Big Dream
& I want to make a living out of writing. I've been writing for a long time, since I was in primary school, or even before then. I have a little wooden picture book my dad got for me in Germany when I was barely finished learning the physical act of writing. I made a little story to accompany it, writing on the blank block backs beside each picture. At 14, I read Jack Kerouac for the first time. I fell in love with his insight, his conflict, his prose style. He was not me, and yet his writing really, truly spoke to me. It managed to mould itself into my life, despite being from a completely different era and different part of the world. I started dreaming about sharing my writing with others, having them connect with it in the way I connected with Kerouac's. I regarded it as a pipe dream, until my English teacher told me that I had the talent. This year has been tough; I am in a course with some fantastic writers and sometimes it seems as though I won't succeed - that I'm not good enough - that my stories are bland and my poetry too internal. However, just because someone else succeeds doesn't mean I can't. My favourite joke is "What's the closest thing to an Irish literary movement?" "Two writers on speaking terms with each other" - but I'm sick of that stereotype. One person's success, in literature at least - doesn't detract from another's. However, this year has been good as well because I was published for the very first time. That is the first step and I have made it. The ladder is tall but I will keep climbing.
How to achieve:
- Don't lose faith, ever. Remember that you do this for fun, any gain in finance or publicity is merely a benefit.
- Write constantly. Never take a day off. Write through the blocks, don't let them defeat you.
- Fire things into every competition, every publication possible. You have no excuse not to. You won't get anywhere if you don't.
- Remember that not winning/getting published doesn't mean that you suck; literature is a subjective thing. What one person may love, another could hate.
- Keep going with the poetry and short stories, but try a novel. Make a short film - you have people at hand to help. Write a play, give it to the Players society. Write e-mails, letter and diaries often.
- Experience life, think. Have something to share or something to say. You live in the land of the seanchaí and the melancholic. Even though you don't like identifying yourself as part of a particular nation, accept your heritage and your geographical situation as inspirations you're lucky to have. Experience life, think, share.
- Write. Succeed. Be happy.