Insure to be sure

First of all, many of you probably could think of nothing worse than wasting a few precious minutes reading a blog about insurance because most of you are probably not concerned about insuring anything. Maybe your car, but after that insurance is like a foreign language to most simply because you’re not at that stage in your life. However, in a few years time when you have a mortgage, are married and have kids, this will be a completely different story. Just like when you couldn’t drive, you wouldn’t have been thinking about car insurance and rightly so, there was no need. But would you consider driving around without insurance now? No because, 1) it’s illegal and 2) you probably don’t have the spare cash to replace your car tomorrow if you had to.  On the same note, if your parents don’t have life insurance and died tomorrow, you would be left paying the mortgage. How do you feel now?

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Nothing in this life is guaranteed other than death. Not your health. Not your family. Not Tomorrow. If tragedy strikes without proper insurance in place, life can become financially uncomfortable very quick. But with insurance in place, you can help ensure these situations will be made easier if and when they do occur. And because life happens and we can’t control it we need to be prepared for the adverse affects which it can bring.

Ok, rewind…

1) What even is insurance? Insurance is basically a form of risk management, a way of hedging risk in the event of the worst case scenario happening. It’s an agreement between the policy holder and the insurance company to provide financial compensation in unfortunate circumstances. Insurance comes in different forms such as Life Insurance, Critical Illness and Income Protection.

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2) What exactly does it do? It will provide financial security in the event of death, critical illness and many other situations, depending on the policy, which will help you and your family deal financially with the circumstance.

3) When do you need it? Insurance types will vary but for basic life insurance it’s a good idea when you have people depending on you financially such as kids, a partner or parents or have a mortgage.

According to the Health, Wealth and Happiness Report 2017: More than two thirds of the UK adult population either hasn’t purchased any life insurance (57 per cent) or doesn’t know whether they have or not (11 per cent). Many people don’t have insurance for various reasons but mostly because; a) don’t understand it or b) they think they can’t afford it. However, this is certainly not the case. With a good financial adviser it is very simple to get a plan that suit individual needs and budgets.

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What are the benefits of insurance?

There are many different types of insurance and each serves it’s own purpose and benefits. People might have a few different types of insurance to cover the adverse affects of different situtations.

– Life Insurance can clear your mortgage on death leaving your family without the worry.

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– Critical Illness Insurance does away with the need to fundraise and ‘Just Giving‘ pages should you or one of your family suffer from a critical illness.

– Income Protection Insurance does away with the worry about how your family will cope financially if you’re unable to work.

– Insurance provides financial security when you need it most.

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Call your agent! 

 

Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/

Eat, Sleep, Rave, REPEAT!

If you’re a young, wild & free, hungry partier in search of paradise then look no further, Tomorrowland will have you sorted! If you’ve ever been to Tomorrowland you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say it’s ‘out of this world!’ However, with 200,000 tickets up for grabs, it can be a pretty scary place for a couple of girls. To make things even scarier, we didn’t know anyone who had been before so we were really ‘wingin’ it! Nevertheless, eager to go and failing to pull together a crowd, we thought ‘frig it’- two will do.

Deciding to go only weeks before the festival was due to take place obviously meant we couldn’t get tickets from the Tomorrowland website itself so we got them on Viagogo. Before purchasing we had read many bad reviews about Viagogo and so were a bit nervous that we were about to purchase fake tickets but we were willing to take the risk. Just short of £1,200 later, we were the proud owners of two Tomorrowland tickets. Real or fake? – We didn’t know. We booked the flights to Brussels and we were good-to-go!

With very little thought put into the trip, before we knew it, we were on our way! As we sipped on our ‘Sex on the Beach’ cocktails in the airport, we had no idea what was ahead of us. So here you have it, tip 1: leave all your worries behind, they don’t belong where you’re going.

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It’s all fun and games until you find out your tent isn’t included so tip 2: find out if your camping equipment is included before you arrive, unless you want to buy an overpriced tent or run the risk of them being out of stalk. PS. ‘Full Madness Pass WITH Camping’ does not include camping equipment! I repeat, does not include camping equipment!

We arrived to the campsite, Dreamville, where we finally found out our tickets were legit, (much to our relief) got our passes and scanned through. It was like a direct pass to paradise. We made our way along the wooden boardwalk, amidst 40,000 people trying to get settled in, it was a bit overwhelming. Tip 3: get there early to allow enough time to get organised and prepare for the Gathering Party, it’s well worth it and gives you a taster of what Tomorrowland has in store.

Woken by the sound of music much too early when severely hungover, we got up and spent some time exploring Dreamville and all it’s magical creations. So tip 4: bring earplugs if you’re not a morning person. With tons to see and do we weren’t long passing a few hours. All kinds of entertainment was on offer including their own newspaper, radio station, supermarket, tattoo parlour, Mac makeup shop and a hairdressers. We honestly couldn’t get our heads around this place, surprisingly though, it took very little time to settle in and it soon felt like home.

As we made our way from Dreamville into Tomorrowland it became very clear that the incredible line up of EDM DJ’s wasn’t the only reason people travel from every country across the globe to unite together at Tomorrowland. With so much more to offer than the music and in many ways very over-the-top, it’s so incredibly unique. We wandered through what I can only describe as a ‘fantasy land,’ attempting to comprehend what exactly it was we were experiencing. Everything was so finely carved and crafted to suit the magical theme, with surprises around every corner, it was hard to take it all in. Tip 5: explore every inch.

We made our way to the main stage for the opening act, the immense crowd put us off going anywhere near the front of the stage so we opted for the hill at the back which gave the best view and room to dance – double win! The main acts that night were Tiësto, Axwell & Ingrosso and Steve Aoki. As floods of people gathered and the stage lit up, I’ll never be able to put what I was feeling and seeing into words. It’s true that the main stage gives the best atmosphere and it really is the life and soul of the party’ but, tip 6: make sure to visit all of the stages, there are 16 and they all have new experiences to offer with their own unique theme and vibe.

Tip 7, and one from your mum: stick together (and be good!) Festivals are so much fun but they can also be dangerous so it’s important to have a meeting point because with 200,000 people around it’s so easy to get separated. Managing to somehow lose my phone twice in three days meant we relied heavily on meeting points.

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Unfortunately though, all good things come to an end with Tomorrowland being no exception. Monday comes around quick and before you know it, it’s time leave the fantasy land and all the people of Tomorrowland and head back to reality! People say there’s no place like home, but really, there’s no place like Tomorrowland! It exceeded all of my expectations and I will be back. Tip 8: book a day or two off work – you’re going to need it!

‘Live today, love tomorrow, unite forever’ – Tomorrowland.

Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/

Losing a Limb Taught Me a Lesson

Breaking a bone wouldn’t usually be a big deal or something I’d call a life changing experience’, but after 24 weeks in cast, two surgeries and countless appointments filled with disappointing news, I’m not the same person I was.

Despite the fact I have on-going issues with my ankle and it limits me at times, there are many reasons why breaking my ankle changed my life for the better.

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When I somersaulted from the saddle, the several snaps I heard were like alarm bells in my head. Hitting the ground my first thought was; ‘thank god it wasn’t my neck.’ This is where my first point comes in: things can always be worse and life can always be crueler. However, I am aware that you can still be upset about something despite others having it worse. Nonetheless, this was the overall lesson for me; it could always be worse.

Sent home in cast and crutches to recover and discover all the joys that come with being one limb down inevitably resulted in me spending a lot of time by myself which got me thinking about how my life was going, where it was going and was it going the way I wanted it to. I realised a few changes which were essential, dealt with them and I have never looked back. My point here is, sometimes we are so busy settling into a life we don’t really want. It’s convenient to settle and unfortunately many of us don’t take the time out of our busy lives to re-assess, thankfully though, finding the time was easy for me. Remember: it’s okay to change direction if it’s for the right reasons.

It wasn’t all doom & gloom either, like everything in life; there are positives in every situation if you look hard enough. I mean, who doesn’t love breakfast in bed everyday, a personal chauffeur and endless movie marathons? It gets old real quick though, sometimes all you want is your independence back. Luckily for me, my mum turned into my full time nurse and I honestly couldn’t have got through it all without her.

It taught me that pain is temporary and this lesson proves valuable in every aspect of my life these days. With the initial break and two separate surgeries, I went through a lot of pain, the worst pain I’ve ever had to go through and no matter how sore it was at the time, the only thing that often comforted me was the thought that ‘this is temporary.’ So next time you’re going through something that’s painful, from a deathly hangover to a never ending assignment, just keep in mind, it’s not a permanent situation.

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Being in a somewhat vulnerable situation, life as an invalid made me a more grateful person. Crutches taught me to never take my legs for granted. It’s true that you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone. Life is truly about the simple things for example, not having to drink your tea by the kettle when you’re home alone.

They say that time heals and this is true; the pain decreased as time went on, I got more mobile on the crutches and life less-active ended up being not that bad after all.

The beauty in your life is not about what you go through but often how you perceive what you go through. Experiences shape our lives and therefore make us into the people we are meant to be. People get so hung up on whether their glass is half full or half empty and maybe sometimes we should just be thankful that there is something in the glass.

Hardship is not something to be bitter and question ‘why’ but often; ‘thank-god I went through that.’ Being grateful is so important, so if you take nothing from this blog and you think ‘what is she on about?’ (which I’m sure some of you are) just remember; dance while you can, make the most of everything because it’s true, we never know what’s coming next. Life is full of challenges and opportunities and it’s important to make them matter. So stretch yourself while you have the chance, work a little harder, run a little further and be a little kinder and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something because you can do whatever you want to!

 

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Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/

Choose PR

Before heading back to uni in September I had to choose which modules I would like to undertake as part of my final year degree. The choice was between; Communication and Organisation or Critical Perspectives of PR. Being a Communication, Advertising and Marketing student made me think the communication module would go more in line with the title of my degree. However, aware of the fact that in previous years I found the communication modules to be lifeless and a bit ‘dull’, I opted for the PR module and quite frankly, I’m so glad I did.

If you had asked me at the beginning of the semester, ‘whats PR?’ I would have responded with some sort of amateur answer like ‘free advertising’. But with a little more milage under my belt it’s clear to say, that’s certainly not the case.

At the start of the semester I was a bit overwhelmed, the lectures seemed to be made up of a string of riddles and the weekly readings left my head in a ‘spin’ and I was starting to rethinking my choice of a module in PR. However, I found that, after the weekly seminar, if I re-read the reading, it all made a little bit more sense. Sometimes it just takes you to look twice at something to comprehend what it’s trying to say.

 

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As the weeks rolled in, the lectures and seminars left me with many questions and wondering what was actually said but, I started to realise that this was the aim and therefore got me thinking about what the lecture meant and forming my own opinions.

The more I came to terms with PR, the more I found the classes fulfilling. PR is endlessly interesting due to it’s highly creative nature. It allow you to express your own opinion about what you believe to be right and wrong. With creativity and writing being such fundamental players in PR; it’s so satisfying when you finally think you’ve ‘hit the nail on the head’ with a creative idea to fit the job at hand. With consumers responding to emotions more than sales pitches now more than ever before and storytelling being a vital component of PR today, how could it be boring?

Throughout the module I have realised the importance of PR in business. In order for businesses to compete, constant human interaction and communication are central functions.  We live in a world where it’s easier to criticise now more than ever, with social media and the internet we can ruin reputations with the click of a button. Failing to acknowledge PR can increase the risk of the public assuming the worst if something does go wrong and ultimately, destroying the reputation of the business. Having a PR employee will mean that you can combat these risks and divert public attention, saving the name of the business before things get out of hand. With consumers expectations on the rise along with ease of criticism, PR is an essential part of success today.

PR is a mix of everything and definitely not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ subject. PR involves writing, pitching, researching and strategising which means you’ll rarely be doing the same thing for too long. Being such a broad subject helps to keep up the momentum and excitement, keeping you on your toes. One minute you’re writing a press release and the next working on promoting a product; so being able to adapt quickly is a must! Being such a fast-paced industry that is constantly changing and evolving, it’s great for those who like a variety and get bored easily.

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PR is an excellent skill to have and in many ways is totally invaluable. The world is not decreasing in problems anytime soon, only increasing so there will never be a shortage of PR jobs. It’s true that people usually do not get employed solely based on what they have learnt, but often on what it is they can add to the future of a company and PR gives you the ability to add value to any business.

Jessica Patterson is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @JessPatterson16 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-patterson-79a755113/