College year drawing to a close

In her column 'The Good Life', Gemma Good got a bit of an unexpected surprise from a kind stranger on a night out with friends...

Did anyone ever do something for you that was completely unnecessary, other than to make you smile? A stranger made our night on Thursday in the best way possible.

After putting up with each other for a full college year, the Brookfield girls decided we needed a night out to celebrate. We may not all be together again until our final year with placement, Erasmus and the chances of eight people getting a house together in the current accommodation crisis. This, we decided, called for a mad one. The clock didn’t take us through Thursday but word counts did. Fifteen hundred words left, one thousand, five hundred, a hefty conclusion and finally – the essays were complete.

After a quick stroll up to Groody carryout, it was time to get the make-up on. Pre-drinking is essential when you are in college. It’s cheaper and you really can't beat blaring music, drinking and chatting with the girls while getting ready. I’m really going to miss this next year. I won't be in Limerick at all with work placement for the first semester and then Erasmus for the second.

It’s crazy how well you can get to know people within a year. Living with strangers is an experience I would certainly recommend. Yes you go through the awkward family, get to know me questions, the silences and their traits that irritate the living hell out fo you. But the other side of it is completely worth it. You have friends from all over the country and the world, you learn different ways of living, new hobbies, experiences, everything. I hate cheesy sayings (so excuse me for saying this) but you do create a whole new family circle for yourself. You become friends based on similar interests, connections and just a liking of being in their presence, not just because you happened to be born in the same area. Anyway, on Thursday night, we had all of this to celebrate.

Off we went into the city, thinking it would be wedged. With study this week and exams next week, we thought students would be enjoying a quick break before the pressure. We got dropped off at The Red Hen on Patrick Street. The bar is renowned for its cocktails and good vibes, we thought this would be the perfect way to start the night before heading elsewhere until the morning. It is over 20s and a few of us (including myself) are still 19. We said we’d chance our arm. We were tactical about it though, we put a 21-year-old first, then myself who will soon be turning twenty. He refused me, but a bit of mouthing got me in. I just informed him that, in less than a month, I will be twenty. I was admitted with an eyeroll. Two in, five to go. A complete breakdown in communication saw our game plan spiral. Three of our 19s showed their IDs after. Third time luck did not work in our favour, the bouncer told us all to leave. In my opinion, this is ridiculous. Eighteen is the legal age to drink in Ireland. Why should bars and clubs make up their own rules on this? When I come of age, my opinion will probably change but, for now, the fury of being refused is still raw.

We went on to another pub, The Old Quarter, which also does cocktails. With mojitos and martinis finally in hand, heaters above us and a fire beside us, we were happy out. College life is hard, I swear. I was driving back to Cavan early enough the next morning, so I was taking it quite handy with the cocktails. Working in a bar, you get accustomed to watching people become progressively drunker and it can be enjoyable. Each time a round came to the table, the girls got louder. It was absolutely hilarious, but I did feel bad for the people next to us. They were speaking a different language, but their eyes were on us quite a bit. Although I couldn’t read them, I can only imagine they were telling us to pipe down. One of the girls who was sitting closer copped that the man at the table was staring and then seemed to be writing something in a notebook. This started to freak me out. We were talking about everything and anything - mentioning where we would be going next and how we planned on getting home to Brookfield. It’s scary how much you could learn about somebody by just sitting and listening. This continued for the duration of the night. I wanted to ask the waiters if we could move away but, at the same time, I didn't want to make a scene.

Finally, the couple began gathering themselves to leave. I was relieved but still a little anxious about what was in that notepad. As the man walked past our table, he placed a brown page on the table. It was a drawing of the six of us, laughing and drinking. We couldn’t believe it, the drawing was unreal. Before we even had time to thank the man, he was gone. A message on the back read 'Hope you’re having an unforgettable evening! Cheers from, Brazil! It also had details of his Instagram page, @sr.rabisqueiro. The man’s name is Matheus Schmidt, an artist and designer who I can only assume is from Brazil, due to his message and the presence of a Brazilian flag in his bio. It was such a kind thing to do and something that we will keep forever. A massive thank you to Matheus from all the Brookfield girls, you really made our last night together an unforgettable one.

* Gemma Good is from Killeshandra and a second year journalism student in University of Limerick.


Tip of the day: Don’t gamble!