School Daze: 'Be bold, and do not fear failure'

School Daze: 'Be bold, and do not fear failure'

I have a lot of really fond memories from primary school, but one of the memories that sticks out the most for me would be the school play — I always remember those evenings so vividly. It was terrifying for me to get up in front of an audience, but even as a child, I remember the buzz after it.

My most vivid memory of my first day of secondary school is the morning of putting on the uniforms and being really nervous. I remember how my best friend Lucy arrived at our house as we were travelling to school together. I have an identical twin, therefore, I always had someone with me to navigate these new experiences with, so with Kate and Lucy by my side, we had comfort and security together as we walked through the gates of St Angela’s on Patrick’s Hill.

I was a really sporty child and always doing something, either being active or creative. I have two sisters and we always have adventures together. We grew up around horses at home so we were always out with them, horse-riding, cleaning and caring for them. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to grow up with ponies, it teaches you great responsibility at a young age.

My sisters and I have great childhood memories because of the horses and it was such a privilege. Both my sisters and I are all creative, I remember my parents would give us anything Crayola and we would be captivated for hours.

I was good at subjects if things made sense to me and more factual-based like biology, geography and business I loved these subjects in secondary school. I struggled with languages: I found Irish and French tough, languages do not come naturally to me.

As for lessons I learned during my school years that apply to my life today: I think it is really important to be physical and move your body both for your mental and physical health. I played hockey all the way through school and university and I have friends from the hockey team that I still am close with today. I think it is an important lesson to work together as part of a team, to try hard both for yourself and others and to always try your best.

If I were to meet the child I was today, I would say: Be bold and do not be afraid of failure. Hard work is not just about achieving something it also is about building your own confidence and belief in yourself. I would say that if you really want something then just go for it, be fearless, work hard and give it your all.

I did have a lot of friends and I am still friends with most of them today. I met my friend Lucy in playschool and we were in the same class for all of the playschool, primary and secondary school and we are still really good friends today.

The best advice I have been given is to be true to your word, to both yourself and others. I think it’s important to have integrity, be honest and if you say you will do something you do it.

I think it’s about commitment too, that if you say something to yourself or others, it’s also a commitment and an intention. That is why I called my architecture practice Fíor Studios, which means “true” in Irish.

I moved to Bruce College for fifth and sixth year and the teacher that influenced me the most was my Business teacher there. I took up Business in sixth year and she really stuck with me to help me get the timing right in my answers and worked with me to catch me up, it was a gamble switching subjects but it paid off thanks to her.

My first disco was in Garyduff Sports Centre, I remember getting ready with my friends, we were all in first year in St Angela’s and we felt this ecstatic mix of nervous and excited!

I always knew I wanted to end up in something creative and architecture was always something I was interested in.

I think creativity and design are a great way for children to stretch their imaginations and explore new and exciting worlds — being creative allows children to express themselves and find a way to cope with their strange new reality. What I would say to parents in these strange times is this: You are amazing and keep it up.

Amy McKeogh is an architect who founded the practice Fíor Studios. She is the creative director of Cork design and food festival Design Pop, which takes place from August 28-30 and brings together six Irish designers to create pop-up installation structures across the city. Each designer is paired with a Cork-based food or drink producer to create a bespoke space which the public is invited to explore, www.designpop.ie

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