After adjusting to a new time zone, registering for classes, and signing up for clubs, I thought the rearranging of my schedule would be over. I didn’t, however, prepare to completely reconstruct my schedule of living.
At Georgetown, students use weekdays to complete their academic work and reserve the weekends for socializing and exploration. At NUI Galway, however, this schedule is completely flipped: students heavily socialize on the weekdays and use the weekends to catch up on homework and to rejuvenate. In fact, the majority of Irish students stay on campus from Sunday night through Friday morning and travel home to their families on the weekends. Initially, I thought Irish parents coddled their children on the weekends, and students weren’t actually “on their own.” I realized, however, that going home on the weekends creates an incredibly strong sense of family rather than a sense of dependency. This schedule has also allowed me to explore different parts of Ireland over the weekend without missing time with my new Irish friends.
In addition to having a different week structure, the Irish also have a different day-to-day structure of life. At Georgetown, if you walked into Lauinger Library, you will find more people studying at 11:00PM than at 11:00AM. Irish students again flip this around: you will find most students studying throughout the day, and the library closes past 10:00PM. This attitude allows students to complete their academic work in the morning and use the evenings for sports, clubs, and “good craic” (which is Irish for “good fun”).
My Georgetown perspective wanted to reject this daily schedule: If you weren’t in the library pulling an all-nighter, you couldn’t be working hard, right? I found this to be completely inaccurate. Doing work in the morning frees up the afternoon for socializing, allowing my Irish classmates to grow their social and personal lives alongside their academic careers. By adopting this new schedule, I have been able to join the Rugby and Sailing team at NUIG where I have already met incredible friends. With this extra time in the evening, I have also been able to read a book a week, allowing me to explore texts beyond the classroom. This lifestyle is truly holistic, and I cannot wait to develop different parts of myself throughout this semester.