It’s The Journey That Counts
Horse sale at Goffs
There is one lesson to remember in life, it’s the journey that counts.
I graduated from Árd Scoil in 1998. Yes I know, I’m old.
Upon completion of my leaving certificate I continued my studies at the University of Limerick and completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Equine Science; graduating in 2002.
University opened many doors; there was the obvious educational advantage of studying a subject I loved but what most people tend to gloss over: the ample opportunities provided.
While in Limerick, I worked for one of the leading flat racing trainers in Ireland. My role was tending to the racehorses needs, mucking out, grooming, tacking up, caring for bumps and bruises and cuts and scrapes. I was almost like a nurse at times! I travelled to various race meetings, prepared the horses for the race, led them up in the parade ring and met some fantastic people, people who are still in my life to this day.
I also spent some time abroad, working in Kentucky on a stud farm, I worked with broodmares, helped foal down, prepared top class yearlings for sales and also worked with two stallions in the breeding shed along with recuperating racehorses, returning them to a life of racing after injury. During my time in Kentucky I spent three days working the Keenland September horse sales, which in horse terms is like working New York Fashion week! (One of the yearlings I prepared sold for 1.25 million dollars).
While I worked hard in Kentucky I also took the opportunity to travel and spent a few weekends in New York City, time in Chicago and I also travelled with friends from New York to Montreal in Canada to watch the Formula One grand prix.
On graduation day I left my studies behind but not the friends I had made, friends who are still an integral part of my life.
Life since college brought be back to Kentucky for a time, I then spent some years working for a national hunt trainer in Ireland, where I had another fantastic opportunity, travelling to Cheltenham with a racehorse for the Cheltenham festival.
I took six weeks out from work having saved some money and travelled with a college friend across Eastern Europe. We inter railed and hoped from countries such as Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Serbia to name but a few, seeing first hand various UNESCO protected sites and places of historic interest such as Auschwitz in Poland.
My work then moved me to Galway and my job gifted me the chance to work the September Goffs sales.
As per my opening line, life is about the journey, not the destination and so my journey took me away from the horse industry. I decided to move into business in my mid-twenties, I needed another challenge; I needed to try something new!
So, I used my degree to get me in the door of an IT company and worked an administration job, before returning to college on a part time basis, while working full time, completing an Accounting Technician course.
This qualification led me to another Irish company, I was based in Galway but my work was actually for our American subsidiary, in Florida. I looked after accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchasing, liaised with our accountant, dealt with employee queries, organised visas and my role brought me to Florida for a week.
This job then led me to a multinational company where I took a role as an accounts payable associate.
As you can see, I started out on one path and ended up on an entirely different one, my degree is science yet my field of work is business. Never say never, no matter what path you are on, always be open to change, there is no such thing as planning life, to do so would be stifling. Of course you can set yourself goals and a path to get there, but if the path twists or bumps don’t fret, enjoy the bump.
At present, my life is pot holed, I was diagnosed with ME twenty months ago and have had to step out of the workforce and away from the hobbies I loved. I used to enjoy horse riding, yoga and running in my spare time (I even ran a marathon!) but at the moment my body isn’t capable of any of these things and I have had to accept the limitations.
It’s a new challenge for me but one in which I will persevere and you know what, I never let a day pass me by while healthy and although I am sick, I never let a day pass me now. If you wish to see a little more about my current journey here is a link to my blog.
Use your days wisely, don’t pass up opportunities, challenge yourselves and most of all, enjoy life!
Is mise le meas
Marie H Curran O’Connor
Class of 1998