My top 5 tips of what NOT to do in your first semester of final year!

As my last ever first semester of being a student slowly comes to an end this month, I decided to reflect on how quick the semester flew by (because it was non-stop hectic) and what I have learnt from this semester.

You always hear warnings from other people about how much more intense and busy final year is compared to your first and second year at university. Majority of the time you simply brush off these comments and don’t think about them until the time comes. Next thing you know you’re a final year student, it’s week one and you are being bombarded with assignment deadlines, dissertation classes, weekly seminar work and academic reading that you cannot get away with not reading, unlike most of us students did in first and second year.

From reflecting on the above and the past 12 weeks of university I have decided to share my top 5 tips of what NOT to do in your first semester of final year.

(Note: some of these may or may not apply to me)

  1. Don’t leave assignments to the last minute

Bit of an obvious one but one that is almost impossible to get away with in final year. In final year you have to up your game meaning more references, analysis, examples, attention to detail and paraphrasing! Personally, I’m quite an organised person but I panic a-lot so I always leave myself a good amount of time to start assignments. My biggest downfall is that I’m slow at everything and it probably takes me twice the amount of time to do the same assignment as any other normal person. If you are also that person … start early!

Don’t be like this boy below:


  1. Don’t take that after university nap!!

A-lot of us are probably guilty of this and if I’m being honest, I fully support daytime napping and sometimes even naps before bed. Although what I would have to strongly protest is that you don’t be like this guy:


Especially when it’s a week or two before you have a few upcoming deadlines and you tell yourself ‘It’s fine I still have plenty of time’ … no you do not have plenty of time so sacrifice those naps!

  1. Don’t waste your time in the library – be productive!

If like myself, you feel you work better in the library then use your time wisely when you are there. For the first time, this semester since I started university I have spent days/evenings in the quiet part of Jordanstown library until it closes in an attempt to get as much of my assignments done as possible.

Although on more than one occasion I have found myself staring into space, scrolling through my phone, taking ‘study breaks’ when I’ve barely started, until the inside of my brain looks like this:

By procrastinating through doing all of the above I manage to waste a good 5/6 hours and achieve nothing. For future library visits and to avoid procrastination in the library try switching off your phone, bring cold bottled water to stay alert, and work towards a personal target next time.

  1. Don’t sit through a lecture and not take notes

Note-taking is extremely important in final year simply because repeating your lecturer’s notes in an assignment or exam is a thing of the past for final year students and is no longer enough to get you a high grade. If you struggle like me (because I’m slow at doing anything) to write at a speed that keeps up with what the lecturer is saying, then you will find that using your laptop to take detailed notes is so much easier than annotating around printed lecture slides.

  1. Do not watch 3 hours of YouTube to “Get you in the zone” before starting an assignment

Avoid YouTube at all costs when deadlines are looming! You think that watching a 30 minute ‘Vlogmas’ video is acceptable before you begin an assignment, but the next thing you know your 5 hours into a series of ‘Vlogmas’ videos and you soon realise you have wasted yet another day of attempting university assignments … don’t be that guy!


Nicole Hanna is a final year BSc student in Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at or on Twitter @NicoleHanna101

My Placement Year (and a half) with Loud Mouth Media!

Just over a year and a half ago now I started my placement year with Loud Mouth Media. From back in my school days I have never been certain about what I wanted to be when I grew up and now I am “technically” a grown up I’m still not entirely sure what my calling in life is. I guess that’s why I chose a degree in Public Relations because I love how diverse the course is. It offers various modules in Communication, Public Relations, Marketing, and Advertising. A degree in PR isn’t like your typical traditional degree in the sense that it’s not necessarily something they teach you at school, but the lessons and skills you learn within a PR degree couldn’t be more relevant and in demand today.

If you would have asked me 5 years ago “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?”, just as I was about to begin my A-levels I never would have imagined that I would be where I am today. The idea of applying for a placement job within a company and having to sit a-lot of interviews seemed quite daunting at first, but the independence and experience I gained in doing so has been invaluable and boosted my confidence. I applied for Loud Mouth Media around May 2016, I was delighted to be shortlisted for an interview. I then received a phone call later that day to say that I was successful and they wanted me to join the Loud Mouths!


Fast forward a year and a half and I’m still working alongside the Loud Mouth team as I was fortunate enough to be offered to stay on part time alongside my final year studies.

You’re probably wondering…who are Loud Mouth Media?

Well, Loud Mouth Media is a Digital Advertising Agency specialising in Pay Per Click (PPC) and provides a fully managed service across AdWords, Bing and Social Media Advertising. We are currently a small enough team of 13 but continue to grow every year!

My role as Digital Marketing Assistant includes; working alongside my colleagues to conduct client research; develop campaign proposals; build and manage client social accounts; analyse campaign performance; and create content for our website and blog. There is no such thing as a quiet day in the Loud Mouth Media office, we are always busy with client work or developing our knowledge within the digital industry. As we are a Google Premier Partner agency we regularly receive training from Google about the latest Google AdWords updates and products. This helps us to stay ahead of the game.

I started my placement at Loud Mouth Media with little to no knowledge about the world of digital marketing/advertising and now I feel like I have learnt so much and I continue to learn every day. Along with the rest of the team, I am fully Google AdWords certified across Search, Display, Shopping, Mobile and Video. To celebrate achievements like this we often have team lunches from Deliveroo… and who doesn’t love a Deliveroo for lunch?!


We also love any excuse at all to have cake/sweet treats in the office 24/7 including birthdays!


One of my favourite memories at Loud Mouth Media so far was when our boss Mark, offered us all an extra day of annual leave if the PPC Team could head pass the ball to one another without dropping it and they did it on their first attempt!! After that they tried at least another 5 attempts and couldn’t get it once. You can admire that particular video below. (Please excuse my LOUD laugh at the end).

My placement has given me many opportunities including; being given the opportunity to write a blog article for NI Job Finder, as well as attend Digital DNA in 2016 and 2017 as part of team Loud Mouth Media. Being able to attend events like this gave me the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, help promote Loud Mouth Media as a brand and develop my knowledge of the digital industry all while having fun doing so.


From my time with Loud Mouth Media so far, I have watched the company go from strength to strength. Just back in April 2017 the entire team attended the DANI Awards, which celebrate and reward the talent, expertise and achievements of the digital, creative and tech industries across Northern Ireland. Loud Mouth Media were ecstatic to be recognised in four of the categories, the main one being the winners of Best Digital Advertising Campaign!


Most recently on the 30th November, some of the Loud Mouth Team attended the Prestigious UK Search Awards in London that were being presented by none other than Jimmy Carr!! I was frantically checking the UK Search Awards Twitter feed that evening for updates and much to the entire teams delight we were awarded ‘Best Small PPC Agency’… in the entire UK! To win such a hugely competitive award is a massive achievement and representative of the hard work the LMM team have put in over the years. I am so thankful that I have got to be a small part of all the success the past year and half and am excited to see what new challenges and opportunities 2018 brings for the team.



Nicole Hanna is a final year BSc student in Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at or on Twitter @NicoleHanna101


How To Increase Your PR Job Prospects In Northern Ireland



When considering a career in the Public Relations industry I believe there is a few important questions you must ask yourself before diving into a career in PR. Due to the fast paced, forever changing, and high-pressure environment you will be working in you must have an acquired skill set, hold a great level of determination and drive to prosper within the industry.


The first question I would ask myself is…

 What is PR?

Well much to the dismay of many people it does not involve being responsible for promoting nightclubs across social media nor is it attending lavish events and living this glamorous lifestyle that the media portray a job in Public Relations to be.

One of my favourite definitions of Public Relations is one from the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) which states “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Public Relations is essentially all about reputation and relationships which is something we touched on in our lecture about PR, Rhetoric and Persuasion in week 2.


Am I interested in what is going on in the world around me?

Having an interest in current affairs and reading about what is happening in the environment around you is a very important aspect of a PR practitioners job as they regularly analyse trends and brainstorm campaign ideas with various clients daily. Therefore, being informed and knowledgeable about what is happening in the world around you will set you apart from others.


What does a job in PR involve?

A job in PR can be quite varied and diverse depending on the company you work in so it’s hard to specify, although the ability to be a flexible, highly organised individual with the ability to work under pressure and possess excellent written and communication skills is a must.


So, with the above questions in mind. How do you go about increasing your chances of employment in this field? I thought I’d share some of my own personal top tips to help anyone that is considering a career in Public Relations!


CIPR membership

For an excellent discounted rate of £35 annually for students the Chartered Institute of Public Relations will provide you with endless opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge of PR to help you climb further up your career ladder through providing courses to attend, achieve chartered status and hosting events with likeminded individuals who you will have the opportunity to network with.


Follow Key PR Influencers/Blogs

Getting involved in the world of online blogging by reading, commenting and sharing PR related blogs online. Check out PR Week, PR Daily, PR News Online and follow key influencers on Twitter for example @CIPR_UK, @PRstudies, @BobPickard and @pracademy to stay abreast of the latest news!


 Work Experience

Get your foot in the door – offer yourself up for paid/unpaid internships in local agencies to get real life experience of the job because when you start a career in PR you will automatically be expected to know how to write a press release, develop a campaign strategy, plan an event, liaise effectively with journalists and so on. This is also a great way to determine whether the job is for you or identify areas in which you would like to specialise.


Public Relations Courses

Enhance your CV with a PR qualification – there are plenty to choose from both online and face to face through the PR Academy. These CIPR accredited courses will provide you with working examples to give you a more thorough understanding of the industry.


Be Passionate

The ever-changing nature of the PR industry means passion is key to success. Stay abreast of latest news, get involved and prepare to be forever learning!


Nicole Hanna is a final year BSc student in Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at or on Twitter @NicoleHanna101