Being an English and Psychology student at the University of Limerick, I had initially envisioned myself spending my five/six months of placement in the Psychology department of the University itself, sitting at a computer or indeed spending my time reading novel after novel and writing pieces. However, with a small push in the right direction from the very influential, Richard Lynch, I found myself at the Learning Hub Limerick. And as it turns out this push was exactly what I needed. With very little knowledge of the Learning Hub and what it had to offer, I could not have imagined what the next few months of my college experience had in store for me.
It is only in these last few months that I have come to realise that “the Castletroy bubble” is, very much so, in existence. I had no real reason to leave this imaginary “bubble” and coming from such a sheltered county like Roscommon, it is fair to say that if it wasn’t for my time at the Learning Hub, I would not have discovered the very diverse aspects of Limerick City.
With a keen interest in music, it never crossed my mind that this could be incorporated with an English or Psychology based placement but with the Learning Hub of course this was possible. From having very little time to even pick up a guitar, to being given the opportunity to give guitar lessons and spend time in a fully equipped recording studio, it is but the makings of every music-loving, college student’s dream. Not every Co-Op placement offers students the liberty of pursuing their own personal interests, however this is a key aspect of the Learning Hub. Whether your interests be sport, music, science, art, writing… the possibilities are endless.
Although the Learning Hub did direct me in the line of my interests, I also found myself getting involved with, and more importantly, thoroughly enjoying various other activities and tasks. From developing my very, very poor photography skills to a now more acceptable mediocre standard, and trying my hand at kickboxing and science experiments, each day at the Hub brought something new – both challenging and exciting. Meeting all kinds of children from all kinds of backgrounds most definitely opened my eyes to the wider world. The special bonds I have made with these children is without a doubt one of the more positive aspects I will take from my time here.
While it is very difficult for me to pin-point my favourite memory of the most gratifying, action-packed five to six months, I will probably not be the only one in saying being involved in Limerick City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is right up there. Not every student can say they paraded down the main street of Limerick City in front of thousands of people dressed up as an alien, holding a planet as part of their Co-Op placement. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is a memory that will be extremely tough to forget.
I can’t but say that I am very lucky to have had the chance to work alongside such an amazing team of staff and volunteers at the Hub. Where I have developed many skills through pursuing my own interests and also delving into other challenges I have come to realise that You Are, in fact, What You Learn.