No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
John Donne, 1624
When John Donne wrote these lines back in 1624, he was expressing our common humanity, the fact that we are all connected to one another.
Unfortunately, back in those days language was a bit sexist which is why he only seems to be talking about men. But really, he means no person is an island (at least I hope he does!).
Despite how long ago it was written, this poem has something important to say to DIFC students as they go through their academic journeys. Often, this journey seems like a very individual one – when you’re sitting in the library trying to write your lab reports, you’re on your own; when you’re at home trying to figure out quadratics, it’s just you and your calculator; and when it comes to squeezing organic chemistry into your brain, nobody else can do it for you.
But to do well on your journey, to be successful on the Foundation programme (and beyond), you will need a lot of support. You have already had a ton of support to get here – from your families, your friends, your former teachers. In DIFC, our job is to carry on from there; to give you a supportive environment so you can fulfil your potential on the foundation programme. All of us do this in different ways.
A supportive Course Leader keeps a careful eye on you throughout the course, looking out for the obstacles and opportunities in your path. A supportive teacher is someone who understands what you are capable of and helps you get there. A supportive tutor is someone who listens, someone who cares about you and your dreams. A supportive student services officer knows all the complex details involved in visas, bank accounts and immigration and helps you deal with the less glamorous aspects of living in a different country.
Aside from the academic side of things, the really big challenge this year is University applications. Application forms, personal statements, interviews, deadlines – it can be very daunting. At DIFC, you can expect full support from us in this area. Your tutor will help with applications, personal statements and choosing Universities to apply to. We organise University visits and counselling fairs so you can talk face to face with the university of your choice. And Padraig, our University Placement guru, is on the phone (and email – he is the fastest typist you will ever see!) every day to Universities around the world making sure that all of your applications run smoothly.
But even with all that support from us here at DIFC, you’ll also need other supports to keep you going. A good friend is worth their weight in gold. Someone who’ll listen when you want to complain about how cold it is or how much study you have to do. Someone who knows when to distract you with a pizza and a movie or someone who knows when to tell you to stop eating pizza and watching movies and go back to studying.
Your induction into life at DIFC and in Ireland will give you the opportunity to meet other students from all over the world – these people will all be experiencing exactly the same excitement and anxiety as you will be. They will also become some of the closest friends you will ever make and are the start of your International network of contacts. You will support each other and understand the deadlines and study needs you are all going through.
None of us are islands. So, when looking for a Foundation programme that is going to help you to succeed on your path, choose a programme you are confident will offer all the support you need.
Find out what courses are available for DIFC’s September 2017 Intake.