Last semester was a chaotic one revolving around the hectic scramble to find a co-op placement. Among the madness one e-mail from the placement office describing the Learning Hub Limerick ignited my interest. It involved working with children, which I had previously experienced with great enjoyment. I was particularly intrigued by a programme called “Story Hub”, which was a creative writing project. Last semester I had no idea what career path to wander down. All I knew was I had a passion for writing and no qualms about working with young people. With anticipation I signed up for an interview and subsequently secured my placement with Learning Hub Limerick.
One moment from my interview really resonates with me. James, the project co-ordinator, warned me that no two days would be the same in the Hub. One day I would be helping children write stories. The next I could be holding a Kickboxing pad or playing beekeeper and tending to the bee hives that lie on the Learning Hub grounds. Looking back on those words, there is no way I could have predicted how accurate they were! Though my time at Learning Hub Limerick has been void of gym equipment and buzzing insects, it has been dominated by unexpected yet brilliant experiences.
I’ve had wonderful opportunities since starting my placement in January. I interviewed a member of the kickboxing classes that run here at the Hub. This member has lost two and a half stone and is a local inspiration who was a pleasure to talk to. Along with some of my co-workers, I traveled to Shannon Airport to be a part of the ITLG Young Innovators Exhibition. This was a massive brainstorming session for the young people of Ireland, who were tasked with imagining the technology that will be available to us in the year 2066. It was an eye-opening day that showcased how innovative the young people of Ireland are.
I can’t discuss the highlights of my co-op placement without mentioning St.Patricks Day. Along with a busload of buzzing children and equally excited volunteers I marched in the Limerick City Parade. Dressed as an alien to match our space themed float and swinging a planet constructed from a giant helium balloon. A vast difference to my usual St.Patricks Day celebrations! I have to admit, it was genuinely the most fun I’ve had in a long time. The atmosphere was electric and I was beyond proud to march as part of the Learning Hub Limerick family. What other co-op student can say they’ve had an experience even vaguely similar to this?
Overall my time at the Learning Hub has been more enjoyable than I could ever have envisioned. I adored my time in the Story Hub and Art Hub programmes. The wonderful people I’ve worked with are an endless source of enthusiasm and go above and beyond to accommodate each child that walks through the door. The children themselves are vibrant, vivacious and I hope they achieve all they deserve. My own skills have improved immensely – especially my writing. With the approval of my co-workers, I have blogged and written about much of my time here. I am now seriously considering a career in media. I may never have reached this conclusion had I not walked through the doors of Learning Hub Limerick. I am so grateful for this, and for all the incomparable experiences I have had here. Learning Hub Limerick is an amazing place and I am honored to have been a part of it.