Saturday, 29 September 2012
There are certain questions I am often asked which can be answered fairly simply. "Can I have a cup of tea?" Yes. "How much is the bus to town?" €2.65. "Do you know Jedward?" No. But recently, while representing my college - St Patrick's Pontifical College, Maynooth - at the Higher Options* fair in the RDS, I realised that there is one question I am asked a lot which I have never properly answered: "Why did you study Theology?".
The only way I can really answer this is by taking you back 4 years ago to when I was still in secondary school. My friends can tell you that I was extremely fussy about a lot of things; food, films, books, clothes. So naturally, I was fussy about what I wanted to study after school, and boy, I was a nightmare for my career guidance teacher. Each time I went to see her she would ask me, "So, Lisa, what are you're interests?". At that time, my list of interests included things like chocolate, Pokémon and collecting postcards, so as I'm sure you can imagine...I was a difficult case. Her solution was always simply, "Do an arts degree." and that was cool with me. NUI Maynooth. Bring it.
After a while though, as I looked at my friends at what their course choices were, I realised that I wanted more than just an arts degree. So I bulked up my CAO list with courses like Event Management and Culinary Arts. And then, one day I met my friend Sarah coming out of the office. She had been having the exact same problem as me...and of course she too had been recommended an arts degree.
She showed me the prospectus she had been given (...and I gotta say, it was one super-fly prospectus**) Multicoloured tabs, fancy photos, glossy finish. Sarah had been told that at this college she could do a Theology and Arts degree in Maynooth. "What's Theology?" I asked. "I donno..." she replyed "I think it's like Religion". She said I could keep the prospectus, so that night I brought it home and did some research on wikipedia.
By the next morning I knew what I was going to do and I decided to return to the office with my new plan. "Theology?" she said. "Yes." "You know that's about Religion right? You kinda need to be holy". Not true. After my night on wikipedia, I knew there was a lot more to it than that, but I nodded anyway. She was slightly surprised at my decision, but she was happy I finally knew what I was doing.
That year, I ended up being the only one from the school doing a degree in Theology, but I'm not surprised really, most of my year probably didn't even know what Theology was. And how could they? It was never really mentioned to us.
So the answer to that question is simply, I studied Theology because I wanted to know more about it and with the added arts element to the course, it meant I was able to study English as well. I chose Maynooth because of it's campus and it's people. It has a brilliant atmosphere and the lecturers are enthusiastic and always willing to help if you need it. In my three years in Maynooth, I had a fantastic time! So, if somebody turns to you and says "You know Theology is only for people who are holy....or who believe in God...or blah blah blah" don't listen to them because they're idiots. Theology is an engaging and inspiring field of study that is open to anyone. So why not give it a shot? You won't be disappointed!
* The Higher Options Fair is basically where colleges from around the country set up stalls and a load of 6th year students come in and try to figure out what courses they'll like to do after school. Between collecting an assortment of sweets, pens and prospectuses they get the opportunity to meet people from each college and ask questions about their future.
** seriously...check it. http://www.maynoothcollege.ie/prospective/documents/Prospectus2013_000.pdf