One of the heart-warming positives of such events is to see solid evidence of Irish multiculturalism. This manifests as black teenagers speaking perfect idiomatic, locally accented, hiberno-english; and why not? they were born here, schooled here and GAAed here. Not so much when my friend and work-mate Aspinas came with his family from Zimbabwe 15 years ago. His boy was A God on the GAA pitch in Tullamore but his accent retained a southern lilt until he left school a tuthree years later. The other evidence is the make up of pal-clutches: these are typically 2 or 3 in number and often come in a palette of colours. Maybe the current teenagers are not only down-with-the-gays but also colour-blind.
Having concluded that the brochures had no information that was of any use to a 16 y.o would-be student, I decided to play an empathy game. If I, even silverback crotchetty me, can come across as interested and engaged, or even interesting and engaging then it might shift the scales so that a bright, curious student falls into our clutches in 2020. My standard patter was to tell anyone who would stand still long enough:
- For god's sake take a year out after school! If you go to Perth or Perth Amboy or Prague for a visit you may never come back to Carrick-on-Suir and then you won't need to worry about which college to go to . . . you can skip that whole schtick.
- Don't over-think the decision. Our [generic] Bioscience degree is no better, no worse, than the equivalents in other colleges. The vital details in teaching quality are not captured on the brochure. In any case the most significant variable (and probably the source of your life-time Significant Other) is the group of kids whom you meet in your first week in college. Their composition is completely beyond your control.
- Never go to any college in order to get a job! Imagine trudging through four years of your life getting marks but marking time, to get a job that will have been Taiwanised or robotised 5 years from now.