How did I get here and where do I go next?

Hi, my name is Jamie Doran. I am a final year communication management and public relations student and any fifty shades of grey jokes will not be tolerated.

In all honesty, I’ve struggleJD5d to settle on something to talk about. I’ve read a good few blogs now with topic’s varying, which have been written by students in my year. I’ve decided to talk about some of my experiences before and during university and discuss where I want to go from here. In all honestly, I’m only writing this blog because I am required to, I’m a more keep myself to myself kind of guy. I know that the whole point of a blog is that people read it however, the thought that my peers may read my post sends my anxiety levels sky high. If you haven’t worked it out by now I’ll tell you the obvious, I have never written a blog. Taking this into account, please have patience as I try to write a post that makes sense and doesn’t waffle about nothing for the next six to seven hundred words.

Having completed art and design, religious education and travel and tourism for my A-Levels I didn’t really expect to be in the final year of this degree. Infact, when I left school in 2015 I thought I was the new Seth MacFarlane or Matt Groening and began an animation degree in Ulster University Belfast campus beforeswitching to communication management and public relations the following year.I have always been very keen to demonstrate creativity in whatever job I find myself in, animation seemed like a good idea at the time but after spending a full semester on this course I realised I am tremendously average at drawing, (I have included a drawing below so that you can judge yourself).JD4This sudden realisation was a slap in the face, I had always seen myself designing and creating and I believed at the time that this was the only route to follow. I decided to reapply through UCAS to Ulster University in January 2016, on this occasion I decided that artistic creativity may not be the best choice and I searched for another platform from which I could develop my own ideas and plans, CMPR was by the the best option.

My first two years in Communication management and public relations don’t count towards my final grade which I cannot be more thankful for as the most valuable piece of information I picked up over this time was tuck your wing mirrors in when parking in the Holylands… Ok so that’s not entirely true, I have learned so much in my first two years in CMPR which I plan to put to use throughout final year and of course carry these new skills on into my JD3future career. When I say my career though, I have no idea what I’m talking about, in my own head I still feel like a first year, I still have no clue what I want to do with my life and I don’t feel like I’m getting any closer to an answer. At this point I can’t see myself jumping straight into a graduate job. I still have relatively no idea what the world is really like outside this Northern Irish bubble, therefore I do not want to commit myself to staying here whenever I have no idea what the rest of the world has to offer.

I’m not scared of maturing so don’t let the last paragraph fool you. I didn’t complete work experience between second year and final year; however, I have had several positions within large organisations. In the past number of years, during my breaks from university I have had full time positions working for RBS bank, Vodafone, Cisco, the Library board and the Northern Ireland Civil Service. These experiences have proved to be extremely valuable because this semester I am completing a module called ‘organisational communication’. Having experienced working life in so many organisations, I have been able to closely examine how they operate internally – using this module alongside my experiences should prove very effective when completing my coursework. All of the positions that I have mentioned have required me to speak to both customers and other members of staff throughout my shifts, helping to educate me in how to correctly present myself in a professional workplace.

Without taking up too much more of your day, I’ll just let you know what I plan to do in order to find the correct career path for me. Personally, I believe that travJD1eling the world for a few months or years would be as much of a benefit to me as a work placement is for others. My hope is that I will be able to find that one ‘life calling’ and using the skills that I have picked throughout my years in Ulster University, base a career around it.

Some people want a good career for the money, others want it for the lifestyle, I want my career to be fulfilling and fun.

5 days a week for the next 52 years is a long time to not enjoy something, so I’m going to make sure I pick the correct path and take my time in doing so!

Jamie Doran is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram – @jamiedoran96

A Quickie in Barcelona

Two days in Barcelona is short but sweet. In June 2019 my girlfriend and I took a short, tightly budgeted, 2-day trip to Barcelona. By planning our stay well and sticking to our budget we really made the most of the Catalonian capital. Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular cities and for me it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re there for a chilled out, laidback week or a quick city break it’s the ideal place to escape reality. With only 2 days in Barcelona, we made sure to fit in some of the main sites including Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia and, of course some beach time, whilst sticking to a budget and having time for a little relaxation.

This is how we spent our 48 hours in Barcelona.


We decided to kick off our Barcelona adventJD10ure with a tour of a couple of famous architect Gaudi’s most famous structures. By tour, I mean we followed a walking tour for free, allowing us to find the buildings easier. Casa Batllo was just a 10 minute walk from our Air B&B, while another of Gaudi’s buildings, Casa Mila was a further 10 minutes along. Both of these buildings are clear Gaudi designs, with the classic curved edges style that the architect is famed for. Tourists can pay to enter both buildings, if you have the time and budget it’s worth it. However, if you’re on a tight budget it’s best to save your pennies for a wander around Parc Guell or Sagrada Familia instead.

Arc du Triomph & Ciutadella  PARK

The Arc du Triomph in Paris may get more attention, but Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf is surrounded by palm trees, sunny blue skies and 30 degree heat, making it arguably even more beautiful. The arc was built as a gateway to the Universal Exhibition held in Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park in 1888, and since then it’s become one of the city’s iconic landmarks. Following our visit ot the Arc de Triomf, we decided we should have lunch outside in the sun


Ciutadella Park is just at the end of the palm-lined street leading to the Arc de Triomf, and home to one of the city’s most iconic photo spots. The Cascada Monumental is a huge fountain surrounded by shrubbery and topped with a golden sculpture. While we ate, there were a few buskers in the park one playing guitar, the other playing a violin creating a fantastic atmosphere, giving me fantastic holiday vibes.


Parc Guell is an unusual yet an enchanting masterpiece, one of Barcelona’s most jaw-dropping destinations. We walked around the outer area for no admission fee before deciding it would be worth the money to enter. To get the real Parc Guell experience we were advised by a tour guide to book a slot for access to the Monumental Zone. We booked well in advance to avoid missing out on one of the most classic Instagram opportunities in Barcelona. Once inside, we took photos from a curved, tiled bench which allowed us to take in the breath-taking views of Parc Guell.JD12

While I’m abroad I love to get a feel for how the locals live. To do this we wandered aimlessly for 2 hours through the narrow, cobbled streets, looking up at the charming buildings, often colourful and decorated with colourful plants and shrubbery. The Gothic Quarter is overrun with countless quaint little shops, restaurants and cafes that allowed us to take a break from the constant walking a grab a cold drink. It seems impossible if you’ve ever been to Barcelona, but we actually accidentally stumbled across the Barcelona 14th century Gothic Cathedral while walking through this area. This part of Barcelona is full of hidden secrets and low prices making it and one of my favourite areas of the city.

For anyone that wants to get a feel for local living or just loves food, a stop at Mercat de la Boqueria is essential. Serving all things Catalan from colourful fruits and juices to baked goods, meats and fresh seafood, the market is huge and you certainly won’t leave here hungry. We grabbed fresh juice from one of the many stalls for just a euro and picked up a few items for breakfast the next morning. We found a nice, green grassy area to sit at, allowing us to watch and absorb the culture and happenings of the market.


No trip to Barcelona is complete without seeing Gaudi’s main masterpiece and the city’s most famous attraction up close. Work began to build the structure in 1882 and is still uncompleted. The Sagrada Familia is one of the most imprJD13essive pieces of architecture that I have ever seen. From the moment you leave the metro station at the Sagrada Familia stop, you see the immense structure emerge from the escalator. We made our way into the little park in front of the church for the best view from between the trees and across a small green lake. To get inside the church we had to book tickets, we booked the tickets before we went on the trip to ensure we got inside.


In the dying hours of the second day we decided that a relaxing few hours on Barceloneta beach was needed. We hopped on the metro which stops about a 10-minute walk down the road to the seafront. Barceloneta is the city’s main beach, and in the height of summer it gets seriously packed but in the evening numbers decrease. Spending our final few hours in the sunlight with a few beers from a local shop was the ideal end to the trip before heading back to dreary, cold home.JD14

Barcelona is an amazing city with a lot more to offer than what I’ve just talked about! Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to do all the activities that we wanted, so we have decided to return soon for a longer stay!



Jamie Doran is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram – @jamiedoran96