I loved my time at Maynooth. I had great relationships with staff and fellow students. I remember with particular fondness the long afternoons discussing matters academic and non-academic at the university canteen and the students union.
I was the recipient of the Cardinal Mercier prize for the highest grade in the Bachelor’s in Philosophy. I received the Faculties stipend for further study at Maynooth the same year. This award financed my Master’s degree. I was awarded the NUI Travelling Studentship (1997-2000) and the Flemish Community scholarship for study abroad and in Flanders respectively, the following year. These awards were based on my work at Maynooth and went a long way to financing my doctoral studies.
Maynooth is a great place to study. It manages to be a big University on a small campus. The proximity to Dublin makes it very central, while the relatively small number of staff and students provides an intimacy that is not always achievable in bigger metropolitan areas.
Maynooth was formative for me both as a student and as an employee. As a student, I learned the discipline of Philosophy along with its attendant skills (critical thinking, text reading, debate and discussions skills). As an employee, the most important lesson was the crucial role of collegiality for a successful place of work.
The University sector has undergone major changes in recent years with regard to the management of its educational practice and the funding of research. Not all of these changes have been for the better. Nevertheless, the basics of the job remain relatively unchanged. The most rewarding parts of the job are working with students in their pursuit of knowledge and independent thinking and with colleagues in the development and execution of research projects.