By Fergal Smiddy, Byline Editor
And just like that, another academic year – arguably the strangest one to date – saunters itself towards a bittersweet close.
They say that the years of our lives tend to go by quicker as they pass, and as I grow older I find this old adage harder and harder to circumvent. Primary school felt like a feverish lifetime, Secondary – although at times a slog – slipped by sneakily in its own unassuming way. As for the College years – well, they still hardly seem to have begun at all, yet somehow I am sat here having to confront the fact that they too are nearing an end.
As my time in UCC fades to black, so too does another year of University Express and student media at large – the constant which has been the defining feature of my College experience. I first got involved with the Express as a fresher, stumbling into the role of Deputy Features Editor, as unsure of myself as I was excited. From there came the big-boy position of Features Editor and from there again came Byline. If not for very good reason, I wouldn’t have remained involved, and I feel immensely gracious for the powerfully formative experience that student media – including all the friends made along the way – has been in my life so far.
Speaking of friends, it’s only right that I give a special mention to the team of students that has been single-handedly responsible for publishing a quality fortnightly publication amid circumstances that often seemed determined in outdoing us. Every team needs a great leader, and Fiona Keeley, you managed to be just that while balancing the delirium of final-year on one hand and the trainwreck of an entirely new learning system on the other – all while the world continued to blaze around us. You often said that the paper was nothing without the team, but I think it’s also fair to say that the team would have been nothing without you – so on behalf of all of us, thank you.
To the Byline Editorial team, staff writers and contributors – a massive thanks is also due to you. The standard of your work has been something to behold, and despite feeling an admitted sense of relief now that the final deadline day is behind us, I will miss the sense of pride and inspiration that your words unfailingly gave me.
And finally to you, the reader. If you have afforded any bit of your time to reading the work that we’ve been putting out over this academic year, I want to thank you sincerely. Student media is about giving an opportunity to students to apply and express themselves in a peer-led environment. It’s about representing the student experience truthfully, holding the institutions which oversee that experience to account and, above all, giving students a voice. Without your readership, student media ceases to be.
Thank you all for allowing and ensuring student media’s continued existence. I’m going to go and indulge my nostalgia on a windows-down drive while belting out the titular Abba tune: “Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run. There’s no hurry any more when all is said and done”.