I took a few ‘giant leaps’ this summer, but two really stand out for me!! I went to the Gaeltacht in Galway for two weeks, entirely by myself. Knowing no one at all, with the exception of one “friend of a friend”. For me it was an important step to take as it was going to be my first real time away from home, alone. The course was two weeks in duration and all 350 attendees were aged between 16-18.
My main thoughts going were: “It’ll be easy to make friends when I’m by myself because I’ve no obligations to anyone, no clingy friend, or group/clique that I won’t be able to stray from”. This, I found, was somewhat easier said than done: given that most other people were there in groups/cliques that they didn’t want to stray from!!
Nevertheless, I was outgoing and sociable, friendly and enthusiastic with everyone I talked to. I ended up knowing more faces than names, but always having someone to talk to. However it became increasingly difficult to be there alone. I found that at times I’d go to turn to someone and say “oh, remember that time….” and think ‘they don’t remember, they don’t know me properly’. This was probably the hardest thing I had to deal with over the two weeks: out of 350 people, I knew no one properly and so had no one I could turn to for advice or a chat, that knew the me properly!!
I didn’t feel homesick at all. I didn’t miss my room, house, or town. I just missed being around people who knew me!
I loved the independence of it all, and fully intend on going back next summer. At the end of the two weeks I was most proud of myself for being so ‘brave’, if you can call it bravery!!! But it really helped me be more outgoing and confident!
My second ‘giant leap’ during the summer also occurred in Galway. Inspired by my ‘bravery’ at coming alone, I decided to enter the talent show. I am involved in stage and drama here at home but for some reason, when I hear of talent shows in school, I steer clear! But this was different. I thought to myself ‘why not? I don’t know anyone; I know I can sing reasonably well. Why not?’ So I spent up to an hour translating James Morrison’s ‘Broken Strings’ into Irish, and put my name down for the talent show that night. I was going to sing it completely unaccompanied – no guitar, piano or backing track. Just my voice, my words and me. I went out, my heart beating like a drum, I took a deep breath and started to sing. By the end of the song, I was really into it; the mantra running though my head was “enjoy yourself and it will come across better” so I did. When I was finished, people came up to me saying ‘when I first realised you were singing a capella, I thought ‘oooh’ but WOW well done’. I was absolutely chuffed with myself – I felt so confident and proud of myself. And I don’t fell big headed saying I was proud of myself, because I think everyone should feel proud of themselves sometimes.
And the biggest benefit of my bravery that night… I was approached by one of the leaders on the course and told I’d be going to the recording studio in Galway to record that song before the end of the course!!!
So I went, recorded my song to a fantastic backing track and now all 350 students from the course have a copy of my song on CD! Hopefully, something bigger will come of it, but I am still ecstatically happy with what I gained so far!! Fingers crossed some day I’ll be famous and retelling this blog as I receive my MTV award or something!!!! Lol