Sneha Jheetay’s entertaining first vlog was all about how to stay motivated in lockdown.  In her second piece for the Ambassador programme, however, she gets a bit more philosophical.  Here the Law student from UCC talks about her crazy journey to study in Ireland.  It all began with disappointment, moved quickly into adaption to Ireland and to Covid, and has concluded with her feeling grateful for what she has learned about herself during the pandemic.

The year 2020 was a tough ride for everyone. Most of us were hanging on to the belief that this was our year and when we heard the news of the outbreak for the first time, no one could imagine that it would affect millions at such speed. 

I am no stranger to anxiety and uncertainty but in 2020 I saw a new side to myself. Like many, I took a break from my hectic life; slept, ate, watched Netflix, read books, caught up with some old friends and family over calls and spent hours scrolling on social media. Since I’d already applied to universities in Ireland and was sure to head out in August, I had nothing to worry about, that is, until the cases began to escalate and universities everywhere began to suggest online teaching and even deferring course admissions to 2021. 

Facing tough competition

I realised I could not afford my education. Nothing was working out. Scholarship was my only option, but there weren’t many for law students as such. I could only rely on one, the GOI-IES Scholarship Program, which was granted to 60 students across the globe for all higher education courses in all the Universities in Ireland. That is some tough competition!

I still gave it a shot, the only one I had. When the first list came out, my name wasn’t on it. I was disheartened and felt like a failure. After the first week of announcements, I went back to Delhi to wrap things up and move back with my parents permanently. Delhi was in bad shape to say the least, and with no income I couldn’t afford the rent. My dreams of Ireland blurred before me and I had to face reality at this point. Yet, just when I decided to be ‘melodramatic of the year’, a mail from the GOI-IES team snapped me right out of it! I was one of the awardees and I was to leave for Ireland in two months!!

The UCC campus (photo:

Endless possibilities

I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am here, how I felt like I had come home when I landed in Cork to begin my studies at University College Cork.  And even though we are in another lockdown, I don’t feel trapped. The possibilities seem endless and the positivity around me is boundless. 

Getting to know yourself better

But that’s not what this post is about. It’s funny how we shift from self-love to self-doubt so quickly and then back again depending on external factors, based on whether or not we achieve our goals. We are not fair on ourselves and don’t think twice before punishing ourselves for the mistakes we make. I learnt more about myself in those few months than I did in the previous 27 years.

Gratitude: just grateful to be me (photo: shutterstock)

Most importantly, I learnt that, just like everyone else, I am only human and while I may not be the smartest person in the room, I am grateful for the life that I have.  I am grateful to be me.