Michael J. Geary

Professor of Modern History
Teaching and education
BA (Hons) in History and English
M.LITT. (Research) in History

I think there were so many. Getting elected as Finance Officer of the SU when I began my third year of the BA was one; it was a fun but exhausting campaign. Student politics is not for the faint-hearted! Handing in my completed 100,000 word M.LITT. history thesis in 2004 was another. Meeting and making lifelong friends.

I was the first elected Finance Office of the NUIM Students Union in 2002-03 after the role was newly developed. I also served as the student representative for the English undergraduate students.

I loved being able to study History, English and Biology, my three passions, in the first year of the BA (I subsequently majored in History and English in years 2 and 3). That was unique at the time. The quality and depth of the supervision and feedback I got during my research masters made me a better researcher and in later years has made me a better supervisor. The campus is one of the unique selling points. There is a calm tranquility about it that helps during exam season yet Maynooth is so well connected. I liked that contrast.

I developed a passion for literature studying English and I frequently add English lit. to my readings lists in the history courses, like Doris Lessing's work. History and English is the perfect combination especially in providing me with an interdisciplinary perspective on issues like decolonization. In the History Department, I was given the tools to be a professional researcher, to use archives, think critically, and to be more analytical. Seeing how other lecturers lectured, I found myself in later years using them as role models especially in how to be a very good research supervisor myself.

Just do it. For me, studying at MU was an affirming experience. I had excellent lecturers in the History and English Departments and even though I did Biology for the first year of my BA (it was my third subject), I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of scientific staff and their ability not only to lecture but also with critically engaging with us as students. It is also one of my favourite university campuses. I think I did so well at MU largely because of its location that gave me the space to focus on my studies. I also met the best friends; some really lovely people. It was my first choice on my CAO form and if I had to do it all over again, it would still be.