“Getting to study at UCD has been the opportunity of a lifetime. I can honestly say that studying here has shaped me into a much more confident and well-rounded person. I have had the opportunity to gain experience through internships and study trips abroad, and work with some of the leading researchers in my field. I have also been fully able to immerse myself in student life here, making friends that I will hopefully have for a lifetime.
I could not have done this without this scholarship. It has given me the breathing room I needed to focus completely on my studies, instead of spending long hours working and budgeting. Before I knew I would receive this scholarship, I was working 40-50 hours a week, on top of a full-time degree program, just to be able to afford my rent and fees. These financial worries could easily have led me to leaving my degree. Thanks to this support, I have been able to make the most of my time at UCD and have been able to make lasting memories and friendships.
People from my area do not typically attend college, and I am only the second person in my extended family to go to a traditional university. Aside from the financial undertaking, I struggled a lot with imposter syndrome. I often felt like I did not deserve my space in the program and that I did not fit into a university like UCD. Even with the support of this scholarship, I still struggled to juggle work with my studies. While I was working less hours, I still found it difficult to concentrate on submitting assignments and studying for papers when I was also worrying about my financial situation and trying to find a way to fit in more shifts to my schedule.
This scholarship money helped me afford the day-to-day living expenses that come with going to college. I put the money towards essentials like fees, rent, groceries, and bills. I think that without this scholarship, my college experience would have been dedicated to study and work – college 9-5 and work from 5-11, if not later. I would have struggled far more to make ends meet, keep food in the fridge, and maintain any semblance of a social life. There is no way I would have had the freedom to be as active in student life as I have been. I have been an active member of UCD Musical Society, and even served for two years on its committee. I have also been a peer mentor, a student leader, and joined various other societies, like Dance Soc and Drama Soc. None of this would have been possible had I not had the support of this scholarship. Next year, I plan to campaign to be the full-time Welfare Officer of the SU and I want to use that experience and salary to fund a full-time graduate program.”