Going for One, Plastic Bags & Counterculture

Going for One, Plastic Bags & Counterculture

Who’s to Blame in the Inebriation Game?

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Ireland and the UK has a destructive drinking culture. And in an all but amicable fashion, I admit that I might have to include myself and many of my friends in this category, if only for a brief spell in life called University. I realise that such a statement could be potentially detrimental, but I’m ready to fight my corner. Additionally, if ten current university students in Belfast were to read this, my train of thought would be far from unique. What causes us to act and think in this way? Is it innate? Or possibly a byproduct of culture, influencers, support systems and media? As I sit and critique our drinking culture, I don’t want to come across as a hypocrite. Many times, I’ve met a housemate on their way to class, him strolling into Monday morning as I stumble my way out of Sunday night. Him shouting Pancake Tuesday at me and me hearing Sheffield Wednesday; most of us have been there or thereabouts. But this isn’t quite the problem. Long gone are the days of “Guinness is Good for You” but a culture where “FOMO” (or fear of missing out) is normalised to the point that we use it as an excuse to binge when we have more pressing things to consider, who’s to blame for our nonchalant attitude towards a significant societal issue?

alcoholic, alone, beer

It’s often satirized that “sure we’ll go for one” is the biggest lie you and your mates will ever tell yourselves #SureWhatAmILike. While this may be true, the truth just might not be so funny. We as a culture, particularly the student culture, make light of our inability to limit ourselves to one pint at the pub, a solitary glass of wine or single measure for a change. Within popular culture and assisted by various social media platforms, this standpoint on how we drink is almost desirable. Interestingly, and something that students know all about, this has undergone a bit of a syntactical change in recent years. For some, “going for one” refers to the act of one single drink and returning home, often as there is something more important to deal with. That’s the gist at least- personal experiences may vary. But for many, going for one is a financial decision as the gradual ascent of the price of pints means many can’t participate for more than a round or two in their local. This may sound like this would be a step in the right direction for our drinking problem, but it’s not quite as simple as this- but more on that later. Returning to our initial definition of the phrase; Who causes us to view these actions in such a way? And is anyone talking about how much of a problem it is? Could it possibly be the same people?

As my Dad (The philosopher and king of the lightweights that he is) often reminds me “Your age can go nowhere without having a drink. You even drink before going drinking. I remember when we used to batter each other with sticks ’til some gave up. We lost the same amount of brain cells, but at least we were getting some fresh air!” Lost brain cells might explain a bit, but I feel there is more to this. Many of us feel lost for inspiration for things to do in the evenings or the weekends that doesn’t involve a drink. This is not the case for all, but I know many of you will have experienced the struggle at times. Returning to my earlier gripe, the problem with not being financially stable to go to a pub, I think my Dad has hit the nail on the head. Youth today drink to go drinking, and less affordable pubs means the notion of sitting and drinking in houses, often consuming much more at a quicker rate and occasionally enraging some neighbours, without even the silver lining of generating much for the economy (say the way they might at, a pub) has a genuine, unfaltering appeal. This reality mixed with the romanticised notion of pure inebriation in our culture can result in a downward spiral that many feel the effects of on an existential level.

Image result for lenny drinking time

From an outside perspective, fingers are often pointed in the same directions. The popular Facebook page Humans of the Sesh is often criticized for promoting ideologies that are nothing more than fuel to fire of our mass consumption of alcohol. After all, the boys behind the notorious “Big Bag of Cans” craic are surely responsible for many livers looking like a punched jambon. This over-the-top machoism and love for mangling one’s self, unfortunately, seems to be taken a bit literally for some, but I feel it’s a tad naïve to pin such a societal issue on the satirical content of a few young guys caught up in the counterculture. Another common target is Blindboy from the infamous comedy duo The Rubber Bandits who found out that singing songs about fighting your father and claiming to be on drugs on live TV doesn’t necessarily provide job security as a lecturer in University of Limerick, nor does wearing a bag on your face all the time conceal your identity, apparently. Don’t worry about Blindboy though, he’s raking in 150,000 listeners a week with The Blindboy Podcast where he seems to articulate the ramblings of the common people time and time again, often touching on issues like the state of the modern economy, mental health and his own struggles. Yet interestingly, no Irish brands seem to show any interest in promoting his insights.

So where do we stand in all of this finger pointing? Are we so emotionally inaccessible that arguably our biggest public speaker about mental health in youth comes from a satire artist with a bag for a face? Concerning, when you consider that our generation is thought to be significantly more in tune with our emotions than previous generations, and even more so when you consider that the average teenager today reports more anxiety than the average child in a psychiatric unit in the 1950’s. When 56% of teenagers in the country believe that anyone their age diagnosed with a mental illness would be treated differently, is it really so unusual to identify with the social outcast with the bag on his head? Long may his off-kilter delivery of the truth continue. Yes, I’ll take a bag for life, please.

Image result for BLINDBOY

My interest really sparked when coming across a current campaign to Save the Local spearheaded by Havas. Upon watching the attached advert, it’s fair to say I felt quite upbeat, with emotionally persuasive phrases like “Our culture, our identity, the life of the village” really galvanising the idea of the pub. That’s where this thought began. What was the true purpose of this campaign? For an innocent minute, I considered that in a culture where our issues are often swept under the rug, an effort to help facilitate less excessive pre-drinking may be the purpose. Soon later, I landed on the charmless reality that this is no more than a gentle sales booster. More pints, more money, no real progress. The nine million pounds campaign over three years to help save “the local” comes as a result of the stats that three pubs a day close permanently across the UK. Unfortunately, asking for money that people don’t have doesn’t necessarily mean that people won’t hand it over, either. The campaign mentions that pubs are under “increasing tax pressures“. Sorry to tell you pubs, you’re not alone on that one.

ED1

So, we’ve looked at our culture, we’ve considered our influencers and we’ve heard what the media has to say. Where else can we turn in search of an answer? How about the support that those in trouble really receive? To be frank, it’s nothing short of ridiculous to consider that increasing the price of cheap alcohol by a few cents is really going to help to irradiate a drinking problem. Here we have thousands of cases of people who have let go of their careers, their family, their lives all relinquished due to their issues with alcohol. Any notion that a pound more per tin might be the point of no return for these unfortunate cases is genuinely ludicrous. We as a society are taking a drinking problem and adding on a financial problem.  Lambasted by our aforementioned influencers, Humans of the Sesh, they summarize; “Unfortunately, the real reason people go on mad drinking sessions is that they probably feel unfulfilled in a society where it’s harder and harder to even get on the first rung of the ladder of what we culturally consider to be a success“.

Image result for this buds for you advert HD

My argument is beginning to resonate with Homer Simpson’s “Alcohol; the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems” and being linked to the GOAT of animated Television is fine with me. I think a lot of us, students in particular, are stuck somewhere between “eat drink and be merry” and wondering if the drink takes more out of us than we take from it, and both are natural, healthy states of mind to have. The truth is, alcohol has the power to be a wonderful central convention. Be that a pint with the boys, wine night with the girls, or a hot whiskey with your significant other when they’re under the weather. It can evoke moments of unadulterated truth, accompany some of the finer times in life, and even open floodgates that were probably bursting at the seams for a bit too long. Giving my two cents; Remember to have fun, remember to be responsible and if it seems like somebody at the table isn’t managing either of them, remember to check how they’re really doing. And for all you might be going through; This Bud’s For You.

To good health; Sláinte

Eamon Daly is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: Twitter – @EamonDaly5 ; LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/eamon-daly-608780137

How to be a savvy student

Starting university can be a difficult time for anyone. Whether we’re returning for final year or coming into university for the first time it can be a highly stressful time. Many of us are being faced with new situations we have never dealt with before such as living away from the family home, balancing a social life with studying, and learning how to manage a budget for the first time.

UK research[1] shows that:

  • 60% of students are not aware of their consumer rights;
  • 29% of students experience problems with an energy supplier;
  • 73% of students feel they are taken advantage of by companies; and
  • 66% of students believe that companies make it difficult to complain.

Luckily for us The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland have developed their Student Guide full of handing tips and advice on “How to manage your household bills and get consumer savvy”. While the Student Guide may not solve all the problems we might face at university it is a handy tool to cope with some of the situations we might encounter.

AR2

To make it easier for all of you I’ve read through the guide and picked out my top 10 tips for surviving student life.

  1. When you move into a new property you need to contact the electricity supplier to let hem know they have a new customer at the property. If you do not you may be liable for the previous occupants’ debts on the meter.
  2. Opening a student bank account may provide you with additional benefits such as discounts, vouchers, and free insurance. While a 0% overdraft can be essential for tricky term time finances – it is still a loan and does need to be repaid eventually.
  3. Always ask a retailer if they provide a student card discount. Many places from the cinema, restaurants and online retailers offer student discount, but if you don’t ask you don’t get.

AR3

  1. Students between the ages of 16-23 years old are entitled to a yLink discount card which gives a third off Translink services. If you are over 24 years of age and in full time education the 24+ Student Railcard is valid for the academic year. Both the yLink card and the 24+ Student Railcard are available at a yearly cost of £8.
  2. A TV licence costs £150.50 a year and can be paid in full or the cost can be spread weekly, monthly, or quarterly. You have to have a TV licence to watch or record programmes, including online TV services.
  3. The tenancy deposit scheme requires your landlord to protect your deposit. It ensures you will get your deposit back when you move out if you have looked after the property. Within 28 days of receiving the deposit, landlords must advise you of how it has been protected.
  4. Before choosing where to eat out check online to see where might offer student discount. Many restaurants offer early bird menus which cost a lot less. Eating out doesn’t have to break the bank.

AR1

  1. When buying online you have the right to receive any information about additional charges upfront. If “Free UK Delivery” does not include delivery to Northern Ireland, for example, you must be told upfront.
  2. There are many broadband providers available in Northern Ireland. It is important to check the speed of the providers network in your area before signing any contracts. Ofcom have a free mobile and broadband checker app so you can work out the best network for you.
  3. If you feel you have been treated unfairly by a retailer or service provider, you have the right to complain. If you are not happy with the response you have gotten from your complaint you can contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or, if your issue is in relation to energy, transport, water or postal issues you can contact The Consumer Council.

Starting a new term at university is never easy for anyone no matter what year of university education they’re going into. The Student Guide may not solve every problem that we encounter during our time at university but there are so many helpful tips on how to make life just a little bit easier. If you are struggling with an issue that isn’t covered by the guide Student Support Services at Ulster University are excellent at providing everything from information and advice to counselling services to students.

If you are interested in reading The Consumer Council’s Student Guide you can download a copy from their website here: http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-08/Student_Guide.pdf

For more information about the Student Support Services available to students at Ulster University visit: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/studentsupport/services

Annie-Rose Mulholland is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be contacted on: Instagram – bananiepie / Twitter – @bananiepie / LinkedIn- Annie-Rose Mulholland.

[1] Ombudsman Service, Know Your Rights, 2015

Moody Mondays

It’s a cold, damp Monday morning in the middle of October and I woke up feeling not myself. I know what your thinking he had a “mad one” the night before and is nursing a hangover (shockingly this was not the case this time I assure you all). I’ve never been a Monday person like so many others, it was just me feeling a little unmotivated and maybe because I knew I had the daunting task of writing a blog which I have never done before. The joys of university. More to the point, I was feeling the pressure of meeting the ever-growing amounts of coursework deadlines and to be honest life in general. As the famous saying goes, “when it rains its pours”which it most certainly does. So as any young adult in this technological age, instead of going to someone I went online for some inspiration and came across a powerful motivational speech which has now inspired this blog that you are hopefully still reading. My aim now writing this as you read is to motivate myself and also motivate others who endure their fair share of “Moody Mondays”.

Image result for keep calm and pretend its not monday

The speech I am talking about took place in the University of Texas at Austin, it was a 2014 government address by Admiral William H. McRaven. If you haven’t seen it please watch the video below. This retiring Admiral and Navy Seal trainer delivers one of the most inspiring and uplifting speeches you will ever hear.

 

FAILURE? What do you define as failure? The English dictionary description of failure is, “the state of not meeting a desirable objective.” Sure the dictionary is correct, but for me failure is an ambiguous word with several meanings that any given individual can take from it. For many it can mean the end of the road, an impassible brick wall that can not be broken but for others failure is merely the stepping stone for success, if we don’t fail then how do we know what is feels like to succeed truly?

For the majority of us it is hard-wired into us to judge our success on whether or not we achieved the result we set out to achieve. You will read and you will hear that failure is not an option. That is ridiculous, failure is always an option. Failure is the most readily available option at all times. But it comes down to choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed. Failure in anything whether it is losing in a county championship final or in something so simple like losing a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with your housemate, to which the loser has to clean those dreaded dishes (we have all been there), it can be a hard pill to swallow. For those of you blessed with a dishwasher, I envy you.

Image result for success failure

On a more serious note. Anyone who has achieved anything great, anyone who has changed their life has at some point willingly made a choice to embrace failure instead of fighting it. So when failure smacks you in the face, take a step back, appreciate all that is great in your life. We are in a constant uphill battle living in a society that is driven by results, driven by numbers, driven by what a computer screen tells you, whether you have enough money to squeeze in a “Cheeky Nando’s” or a McDonald’s, its a society driven by us. We are the drivers, so take your foot off that accelerator, slow down and breath. When failure comes knocking (which it probably will), answer, except it and start again. As Thomas Edison famously quoted, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”.

Without ramming too much of this motivational talk down your throats, I hope that this blog has in some shape or form motivated you, even it was just one person then I’ve accomplished what I set out to get from this blog.

The moral of the story is I’m still not a Monday person and may the coffee be strong and the Mondays be short. 

Travis Kelly is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/travis-kelly-509007150/

 

 

How Coffee Shops Saved My (Social) Life

This morning as I was on my way to get my daily coffee before work, my brother said something so outrageous that shocked me to my very core. “There’s too many coffee shops in Belfast.” It pains me to even type the words.

Once I had a chance to gather myself, I replied “Ammm, ain’t no such thing” (I’m very street like that).

He then went on to list some: Caffe Nero, Hotel Chocolat, Tim Horton’s, Bob & Bert’s, Pearl’s, Clements, Costa, Starbucks (all of which I’ve got loyalty cards for) as if that was too many?

It got me thinking, where would I be without all of these coffee shops? A lot better off financially yes. But also a LOT more tired, and a lot less social.

NM20

I’m a placement student, which means that my schedule doesn’t really sync up with any of my friends who are still at uni. They’re free during the day and out at night, I’m in work all day then in bed by 10pm most nights.

But there’s that glimmering, cappuccino coloured window between 5 and 7pm, after I’ve finished work and before they’ve to go home and start preing.

I mean, what can you do at 5pm? No one under the age of around 60 (no offence) has dinner that early, and going for “a drink” isn’t really an option.

Coffee. That’s what you do.

What do you do at 8am, when the shops are all still closed and you can’t exactly sit at your desk for an hour before work?

Coffee. That’s what you do.

After lectures and seminars to procrastinate actually doing uni work?

You guessed it- el caffe. (See how I’m mixing things up?)

six white ceramic mugs
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Don’t get me wrong, I do love coffee. But for me its not about the drink; I go for coffee because I want to go somewhere nice and sit and catch up with my friends. Even those who hate coffee love going for coffee; there’s steamers, tea, weird flavoured lattes and those ridiculous drinks in Starbucks with a mountain of cream on top and another mountain of sugar inside.

I must admit, Belfast doesn’t have much when it comes to nightlife, everything sort of closes in the city centre at around 7pm (except the glorious night that is Thursday). But there’s always a light on in that Starbucks opposite Europa, or Tim Horton’s (yeah, we’ve got one of those now). Well, until 10pm when they close, but you know what I mean.

All of these coffee shops have actually really shaped my (and Belfast’s) social life.  They don’t just provide us with my daily dose of caffeine and free wifi (yay), they give us a place to sit with our friends and catch up on everything going on each other’s lives.

NM21

 

And it’s not just big multi-national chains, it’s wee small independent coffee shops and chains throughout the north of Ireland like Clements and Bob & Bert’s. I always try to go the local shops and give them a turn instead. If you think about, I’m basically a caffeine-fuelled modern-day Robin Hood.

I’m helping support the local high street -which God knows it needs all the help it can get after the Primark fire reduced footfall by 30%. And with amount of money I spend a week on a coffee, I’m probably single-handedly sustaining the local coffee industry.

Coffee shops are so important to Belfast. We need somewhere to sit have a good chat- and God knows we need caffeine. Coffee’s what we drink, it’s what we do, it’s who we are.

NM23

So, I’ll raise my skinny cappuccino and toast to the coffee shops of Belfast, “thank you”.

 

Niamh Murray is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: @_neeev, Facebook: Niamh Ni Mhuirí and LinkedIn: Niamh Murray.

Fears of Final Year

Fears of Final Year

I was told to write a blog, so here I am, writing my blog…

Not having a clue what to write about, I decided to write about what is on my mind most at the moment, FINAL YEAR and the uncertainties that go with it.

As many students would agree, entering final year of University is extremely daunting but yet quite exciting. Now that I’m already four weeks into potentially my last year of education, the doubt is getting the better of the excitement. With workloads starting to build and deadlines looming; the stress levels are beginning to rise. So, for anyone who may be in the same position, reading this may give you some peace of mind.

Now with only eight months left of my life as a CMPR student at Ulster University here are my five fears for final year:

1. Adapting back into the University life

I successfully secured a placement post at Invest Northern Ireland as a Communication Assistant. I spent 12-months there and it was a tremendous experience and I learned so much.

For me I found it quite easy to adjust to the 9-5 life; having a structure; knowing what most days entail; and the bonus of getting paid monthly, I found myself at ease. Although I was still living in the Holylands, and still enjoying the odd Wednesday night in Bot, I had the best of both worlds of having the benefits and of working full time, and still being able to enjoy the student life of living with my friends.

I finished my placement year in August, I then went Island Hopping in Greece for three weeks and was back to University five days after I came home. So, I never really had much time to mentally prepare myself for final year. I just sort of, fell back into it.

Now that I only have class two days week, I find myself with way too much free time and not knowing what to do with it (watching way too much Netflix). However, I don’t think this will be the case in a few weeks’ time when I’m rushing to finish a 3,000-word essay and wishing I used my time more wisely.

RL3

2. Dissertation

The dreaded ‘D’ word! To say I’m dreading writing a dissertation would be an understatement. Apart from it being 10,000 words and worth a huge chunk of my final degree mark, I’m still not that entirely sure what a dissertation is – although my dissertation lectures are starting to make a bit more sense as the weeks go on.

I have a few ideas on what I want to focus my research on (consumer behaviour or influencer marketing), I’m still yet to settle on a topic.

3. What to do after I graduate

This is probably the one I’m fearing the most – what to do next?

After doing my A-Levels and getting accepted into Ulster University, I had the next four years planned out. I don’t have a plan for the next four.

I have a number of options; get a job in Belfast, Dublin or even round home in Fermanagh; Apply to a grad-scheme; Move to somewhere big like London or New York; or just book a one-way flight somewhere exotic and travel for a year.

I’m already getting email notifications that grad-schemes have opened their application process, however this is giving me flashbacks of applying for a placement job and the stress that comes with it, or there is the opinion of applying to an entry level PR job when the right opportunity comes up.

I’ve always seen myself moving to London after I graduate, with my two sisters and my nieces all living there, it makes a lot more sense for me to relocate.

However, the thought of working for the next 60+ years is quite frightening, and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that yet. But whatever happens, happens.

RL1

4. Money Worries

Prior to now, money problems never crossed my mind. I’ve worked part time from the age of 16 and was always able to buy what I liked without asking my parent for help.

Last year I got used to having a full-time wage and I gave up my part time job when I began my placement year. Now than I back in final year, and for the moment living off my student loan – that is rapidly disappearing, and with most of my savings spent on €15 cocktails in Mykonos, money worries are always at the back of my mind.

And with still not knowing what I want to do after I graduate, I need to have some money set aside to pursue whatever I decide to do – whether that be move away, travel or just blow It on another holiday.

5. The end of an era

So, I’ve only eight months left to make the most of (hopefully) my last year in Belfast. Is it time to make the most of it? Or just settle down and hibernate in the library?

For a girl that made (too much) the most of first and second year. My week usually consisted of: Sundays – Hatfield; Monday – the Fly; Tuesday – Thompsons; Wednesday – Bot; and countless all-day rips in the Rose and Crown. It’s quite sad to think that it’s all coming to an end, and after this I won’t be getting many more opportunities to do that again.

However, first and second year didn’t count towards my degree, so…there’s a lot more at stake this year! So, for the next eight months, I plan to put the effort in, while also enjoying regular night out as well.

Wish me Luck x

 

Ruth Leonard is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram – @ruthleonard_ / Twitter – @RuthLeonard_ / LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-leonard-057860129/

Gender Roles Are Changing – So Why Aren’t Ads?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time now, but I’ve barely had a chance to get out of the kitchen to do so.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “here we go again, another feminist rant”. Well, before you roll your eyes (they’ll get stuck up there, you know), hear me out.

NM11

Who is the typical lead role in ads for cleaning products? Kitchen appliances? Childcare products? Yep, that’s right, a woman.

Why is that?

Studies have found that cleaning, housework and childcare duties are typically performed by females. So of course, companies are going to target that demographic; I mean, it would be silly to not target your primary users, right?

If we’re going to picture ourselves using products, the ads need to be relatable, and what other way is there than to be similar to the person using the advertised product?

NM14

 

But, it’s a cycle.

Products are aimed at women because women are the primary users of said products. But women are the primary users because they’re always the demographic shown using the products.

These products are aimed at women, so women buy them. So they continued to be aimed at women, who continue to buy them. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Women will see these ads and think “oh, that’s aimed at me, I should be using that”.

Men will see these ads and think “oh its aimed at women, it’s not relevant to me” and thus not pay attention. And vice versa for male-targeted advertising.

If it’s not aimed at you and it’s not for you, why would you go buy it? I don’t see ads for chainsaws and think “hmmm, must get me one of those.”

NM15

 

Ads don’t just sell products, they sell lifestyles and societal norms too. They create desire. To achieve the ‘desired’ lifestyle shown in the ad you should act how the actors are acting, use what they’re using, behave how they’re behaving. You should picture yourself as them.

It just so happens that the ‘desired’ lifestyle tends to consist of sexist and old-fashioned gender roles. Gender roles which reflect a sexist and old fashioned society.

But, things have changed are changing. More men are helping out around the house and with child care. Women are leaving the kitchen to go out to work and have careers. Men *gasps* make their own sandwiches.

Yes, our society does ~sadly~ tend to follow traditional gender roles – but maybe that’s because that’s all  we see? In a way, these ads reinforce the sexist and old-fashioned gender roles.

NM10

Surely if cleaning and childcare products were targeted at males, then more males would use them? If you show women using home decor products and gardening tools, maybe we’d use them more because we would be able to see ourselves using these products? (I mean I personally wouldn’t but that’s not the point)

My point is, ads should be changing to reflect the changing society that we live in. Not reflecting the society we did live in. Do they not use PESTLE? Please tell me I didn’t sit through 5 years of hearing about PESTLE analysis to find out companies don’t actually use it.

– Brief recap: PESTLE is a ‘fun’ way to remember the components of external market influences; Political, Economic, SOCIAL, Technological, Legal and Environmental. My GCSE Business Studies teacher would be so proud. Basically companies are meant to analyse what’s going on in the world around them and be aware of changes, like yano, women being allowed to work and not being forced to be housewives? Wee things like that.

Companies and advertisers need to respond to these societal changes. I mean, why limit yourself to 50% of the population? Targeting both sexes gives you access to a whole other demographic. Double the potential customers, double the potential sales, double the potential dolla.

NM9

Now, don’t get me wrong, we have come on a bit from the old days of women in aprons baking pies and cleaning while their husbands are busy at work or ignoring their children.

There have of course been ads with women doing DIY, men changing nappies (yes, you can do it too) and cleaning, and- dare I say it, women working. But the sad thing is, these ads aren’t the norm, they’re the rarity.

I think we need to see less distinct gender roles in advertising (and in general, for that matter). After all, how can you expect society to progress if you don’t show what it could and should be like? Equality. Make that the ‘desired’ lifestyle.

NM13

 

If you show multiple genders using the products, then multiple genders will buy and use them. Then you can target multiple genders who will continue to buy and use them.

Like I said, it’s a cycle. But I think advertisers need to start pedalling.

 

Niamh Murray is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: @_neeev, Facebook: Niamh Ni Mhuirí and LinkedIn: Niamh Murray.

An Average Blog – More or Less

So, as you have probably read on several other blogs within this site, the whole my name is ____ I am studying ____ and basically only posting on here because my lecturer told me to do so in order to achieve my grade in his or her module. I don’t think anyone will actually admit that but we are here now, so buckle up.

Image result for buckle up buttercup

Fresh out of a riveting lecture on my dissertation on a chilly Friday morning at Jordanstown campus, unsure of what I actually wanted to write about I thought it would be a good idea to write about myself.

If you are still with me at this point I commend you, I will admit my vocabulary isn’t overly diverse or sophisticated. Having read some other blogs, I think if I use big words I will get a higher mark, photosynthesis.

Image result for black guy pointing at head

Having completed GCSE and A-Level (which seems like an eternity ago) I had the option to part ways with education and work for my father in his shipping company. Making which I would consider decent money for my age and maybe even getting a split of the profits without having to put myself into debt. I did not at the time see this as a very attractive option for some reason, so I opted for a place at university. Thinking back on it I do sit and wonder if I did the right thing, others that were in my class at school went travelling, moved to the other side of the world, had children and some even work in the local cinema. Dreamers.

Image result for guy eating popcorn in cinema

The first two academic years of university are over me and counted for absolutely nothing. All the stress and worry about assignment deadlines and exams seems a bit silly right now because now in final year I suppose I am in “the business end of the season”. Keeping the football analogy going, it’s week 3 and I just conceded a first half penalty, down to 10 men and the referee seems to be against me. If you aren’t into football talk I’m basically saying I am finding it difficult.

Last summer my girlfriend and I traveled around Europe for 16 days, this really opened my eyes to how big the world is. It made me wonder if I had chosen the correct pathway in my life, surely there has to be more to life than sweating out a dissertation or sitting in heavy traffic at 8:30am to arrive in late to a 9:15 lecture that I don’t have a lot of interest in listening to. Maybe there isn’t and I’m just a dreamer, your guess is at good as mine at this point.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, stripes and outdoor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were over half way through our travels, staying in a campsite near Venice when I had received the long-awaited phone call to say I was offered an interview for my optional 3rd year placement. The interview was going to take place the morning after I got home, me being me I wasn’t overly on the ball researching the company for the interview because I was inter railing around Europe “living my best life”, enjoying myself and experiencing new things with someone I care about.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Once I landed in Dublin airport I got the bus back to Belfast and stayed with my granny. My mother had my suit prepared and I researched the company when on the way home as my girlfriend drooled on my shoulder exhausted from endless hours of travelling.

I don’t want to keep you here all day, but I got the placement. I spent six months working for this company in South Belfast as a “Communications and Public Relations Officer”, a very big title for a pretty medium sized guy.

I really enjoyed several aspects of this placement opportunity, however it was a big culture shock going into a professional office environment for the first time. The work load at the start wasn’t really a problem because my colleagues didn’t really expect too much of me.

But soon after I had started I got my “big boy pants” for lack of a better Image result for captain underpantsdescription. I knew the company, traveled around the different offices, met with several directors and managers, attended events and I feel that I grew up a lot in such a short amount of time simply because I had no choice. This is why I feel that doing a placement was absolutely fantastic for me, I got a lot out of it and it helped me think about what I want to do once I graduate.

Yes of course I want to do well in life whatever avenue I decide to go down, but I think it is even more important to be happy with what you are doing. Maybe I will get a very professional job as a Public Relations Practitioner or even a Marketing Executive. Maybe I’ll go on to work in Politics, or maybe at the end of these 90 minutes I’ll take it to extra time try to sneak the win on penalties.Image result for man united win on penalties

 

Eoin Crossan is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eoin-crossan-848a30171/