Name: Mairead Willis
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Notre Dame, BA in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Irish Language and Literature
Postgraduate Program at UCC (and focus if possible!): MA in Creative Writing (For my thesis, I’ll be writing the first fifty pages of a fantasy novel.)
Career Aspirations: I plan to work for a few years as a research assistant in a psychology lab, and then I’m hoping to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
What about this postgraduate experience has been the most rewarding and/or eye-opening for you thus far? The most rewarding part of my experience studying creative writing has been how self-directed it is. I loved studying science, but I had a very regimented schedule. In this program, I’ve been able to choose a lot of my own reading and writing projects, and I’ve become more self-motivated.
What about this postgraduate experience has been the most challenging for you thus far? How did you overcome or how are you working to overcome this challenge? I think the most difficult part of moving anywhere new is building a network of friends and activities. In the first few months, I had a lot to read and write, and soon I had made good friends in my classes, accommodation, and choir.
Beyond your postgraduate experience, in what activities, clubs, societies, etc. are you involved? I am a member of Choral Society, and I’ll be traveling with them for a competition in Budapest in a few weeks’ time!
If you could give future postgraduate students in your program one piece of advice, what would it be? Expect the unexpected! Your experience in Ireland will probably include a lot of surprises, but if you embrace them, you’ll change for the better.