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My co-op experience: Discovering the ability to surprise myself

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By Anna Parkes

 

At the age of twenty I presumed I had long ago lost the ability to surprise myself. I ignorantly believed I had figured out what in life could ignite my interest, and what I was dispassionate about. However, in the past week at the Learning Hub Limerick I surprised myself. As it transpires, I enjoy Science, a subject I have dedicated little thought to since the hazy days of Leaving Cert Biology.

 

This week, an enthusiastic young group of students from the Northside Family Resource centre were welcome visitors of the Science Hub. I am already two months into my co-op placement, which is slightly terrifying – where did those weeks cheekily disappear to? With the refreshed knowledge that the grains of sand are slipping ever more rapidly through the timer, I decided there was no time like the present to join in with Science Hub. And oh how it was a wise choice to make.

 

Under the watchful eye of Sean, the enthusiastic and encouraging leader of Science Hub, we prepared for the morning ahead. Snapping on some protective goggles and donning a porcelain lab coat had us all riled up for what was to come. The children got involved with various experiments involving food, testing for components such as starch and lipids. The group appeared to embrace their time at the Science Hub, learning a lot while seamlessly incorporating fun into the mix. It is a startling reminder that there actually is pleasure to be derived from learning. What is really crucial is the method of learning. Who amongst us could find stimulation from reading dense paragraphs on nutrition located in an outdated text book? Not me for one.

 

Yet when the children were left to their own devices there was a constant buzz of excitement in the room. The only time the young scientists were not in charge was at the end of the session. Sean displayed an impelling experiment christened “Elephants Toothpaste” to round off the morning in style. The children left with cheerful gratitude and content smiles decorating their faces. Flicking through photos at the end of the day I stumbled across one of myself with a grin wide enough to rival my comrades.

 

That’s not to say English is not still my greatest passion. It always was, and I hope it always will be. I’m not planning on dropping out of my course to embark on a scientific degree anytime soon. Yet, I hope to spend more time in the Science Hub than originally anticipated. What a privilege to discover I have thankfully not yet lost the ability to surprise myself.

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