10th October, 2018

The 10th October 2018, the day I realised a whole lot more than I originally thought I knew, the day I believe I can say confidently now that a lot more people than just myself came to a great amount of realisation and had their eyes opened. The day that was World Mental Health Day.

CK5

This is a topic I have never really spoken to anyone about in great detail, maybe because I didn’t think it was particularly relevant to my life or due to a lack of complete understanding of the topic even though obviously I was always aware of it. On this day, I realised how important the topic of mental health really is, from scrolling through all social media platforms, my phone was covered with the hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay2018. It amazed me to see how many people were confident enough to come out about their struggles with mental health, no matter how big or how small these struggles were.

I think it really hit me the most and made it so real to me when I read a very brave post written by someone very close to me. I couldn’t help but feel slight guilt however, when I was reading it. I was always aware that this person had their struggles but never did I fully understand the extent of them and how much they affected her life. If you were to ask my friend group, or anyone that knows and loves this person what their personality traits were, you would’ve got answers such as care free, laid back, doesn’t give a s***, cool as a cucumber, easy-going, cheerful, enthusiastic, upbeat, I could go on all day but I’m sure you get the idea! This person was so good at hiding how she was really feeling and telling you that she’s OK and making sure that everyone else around her is OK.CK6

You never truly know what’s going on behind closed doors, this is why it is so important that we be kind every day, ask your friends, your family, your dog, your granny, anyone if they’re OK. A simple chat is all they might need to let them know you’re there.

This amazingly selfless person who has been my inspiration behind this blog, took the brave step on the 10th October 2018 to post about her struggles, not for attention, but for anyone else going through problems or issues similar to hers to let them know that it is absolutely OK to ask for help and to not try to battle your demons on your own. CK8

Our generation needs to stop letting social media platforms take over our lives in negative ways. Don’t get me wrong, I believe social media is so powerful and great for topics such as this to raise awareness and try to bring about change. I love how this year especially, I think that the stigma that comes along with mental health has been broken down that bit further due to the help of social media. However, unfortunately, as I said before, it can cause so many negative effects and has the potential to be so poisonous, especially on young adults and teenagers.

All of the famous bloggers and instagrammers with thousands of followers and seem to have the perfect life through these platforms that we all wish we could be like? FAKE NEWS!! People aren’t going to post the bad things that happen in their day to day lives, that’s why their instagrams, facebooks, snapchats etc look so perfect. They get to literally put a filter on their life.

CK7

We need to start trying to teach ourselves to stop comparing our lives and our looks to other people who we don’t even know. I need to take my own advice here because I am so guilty of doing this sometimes and letting it affect my mood, which I’m sure majority people reading this blog might be guilty of this also.

Let’s continue to break the stigma, live our own lives, stop living behind smartphone screens, be kind to everyone around us, realise that nobody is perfect and know that it is absolutely OK to not be OK.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post!

 

Claire Kearney is a final year student at Ulster University studying Communication Management and Public Relations. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-kearney-835a68165/Instagram – @claire_kearney ; Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/claire.kearney.98?ref=bookmarksTwitter – @Claire_Kearney  

Hasta Luego, Jago…

I’m currently studying Communication Management and Public Relations BSc (Hons) and have just approached week 8 of the dreaded final year, a stage that I never thought I could successfully (ish) reach and now plan and hope to successfully *touch wood* complete.

CK1

Throughout my whole university career I always said that I was 100% going to complete a placement year before going in to final year because it seemed to be the ‘norm’ thing to do, even though in CMPR it is optional whether you complete one or not. As I got further into second year I began to hear the words ‘placement’, ‘job adds’, ‘CVs’, ‘cover letters’ and so on more and more as well as hearing my friends and others around me talking about where they had applied to and what interviews they had coming up and subtly I ignored it all until exam season approached out of nowhere and that’s when panic struck, hard. I didn’t even know where to begin getting organised or where to start looking.

CK3

I ended up getting in contact with the company Jago Communications, a PR agency in Belfast City Centre. I went for an interview meeting with the company’s Managing Director Shona Jago and Communications Manager Fiona Hanna. Fiona presented a PowerPoint in one of our lectures in second year about the company and what they had to offer (so go to your guest lectures folks, the can actually be very useful!). I was then offered a month long internship in Jago, I started in June after my exams and didn’t look back, I loved it and all of a sudden 1 month turned into 4 and I continued to work with them until the bitter end and I had to go back to uni and start final year, hitting the ground running.

When working with Jago I was threw into the working world of PR and was trusted to do jobs I didn’t think I was ready for or never thought or expected to be doing. People hear the word ‘Internship’ and think ‘oh that’s just making tea and coffee or printing things out all day..’ it’s absolutely not (as long as you get in with the right company that care about the future of PR and upcoming graduates and want to provide you with the necessary experience you’ll need once you graduate). My summer internship gave me the opportunity to be able to see what working hands on in PR is actually like, giving me the chance to explore and figure out if I really enjoy that field of work which involved things such as being able to produce actual press releases that were then published in newspapers.

The internship allowed me to take part in jobs, produce work, and experience different opportunities that I would’ve also experienced if I had taken a placement year. I even got my own company headshot (check me out, big girl now), that’s when you know you’re getting old and will soon have to let go of your fresher like university ways that you’ve been living for the past 3-4 years :-(.

CK2

It allowed me to network and connect with other professionals and clients of the company which will be hugely useful for me in the future. Being involved with the hardworking, fast paced and positive team that is Jago, and being able to see actual success and results from that hard work has just made me more determined and eager to work in a team and field like that in the future (hence the title of this blog, hopefully).

Anyway, moral of the story here is that you absolutely do not and should not follow the crowd or do what all of your friends are doing or worry about not graduating with your friends, one worry which I dwelled on far too much. Do what you think will be best for you and you might find yourself in a position you never thought you would be in and one that worked out for the better!

After all, here I am starting final year without a placement year but still holding proper experience, knowing what to expect for the big bad working world ahead of me. Wish me luck! I’ll need it..

Claire.

Claire Kearney is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/claire-kearney-835a68165 ; Instagram @claire_kearney ; Twitter @Claire_Kearney ; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/claire.kearney.98