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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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“.

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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

I started waking up at 4am, it was interesting…

I know, some of the people that are reading this title will either be already doing something very similar or the opposite end of the spectrum, people that will think this is ridiculous. However let me explain.

 

Let’s be clear, I LOVE MY BED, way too much in fact. Ever since I gained the name in my household as a sloth and lazy it has latched on to my ankles like a ball and chain ever since, struggling to shake the ever-lasting name of LAZY that burdens me within my family to this day. Society has always pinned early risers as winners of life, people who are automatically successful, heck there is even sayings such as “The Early Bird Catches the worm”, you don’t hear people say “The late bird gets the worm” it just doesn’t happen. People whom like their bed not as much.  Image result for waking up early memes

 

So I decided once and for all to end the association of laziness with myself. I strolled into the kitchen and announced I am going to start getting up at 4am, 2 hours before my dad. To put it lightly it was laughed off, me? 4am, no way. But yes way, they just didn’t realise it yet.

 

So on the Monday it began, my alarm went off at 4am, it was a rainy morning as I could hear the rain bouncing of the window and I got that warm feeling when your just toasty in the bed, my head softly supported by the pillow life was good, but I knew I had to, I had to do it at least once? Surely? So I did.

 

I walked through the house into kitchen where I was met by my dog who was still asleep and woke to see me, I’m pretty sure he thought it was morning as he didn’t even think I would be awake at this time, but I was. I made myself tea and sat down at the computer to sort out emails for work. I worked away not really passing any remarks on the time. It was just the dog, the rain and I.

 

I heard the door open slowly, it was dad he nearly dropped when he seen me, I told him I have been awake since 4. I showed him the work that I had done and while showing him what I had done it hit me. I had done everything for that day. I had sent every email, sent out every order and organised my week. It was almost as if I had found a cheat code in life. I had done my work before the world woke up. The day was less stressful, I somehow felt less tired, and I could think more clearly and had more time in the evenings. I felt like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Elon Musk.

 

I think what I’m trying to say is that although it seems outrageous to begin with, and in all honesty stupid. It somehow manages to hack life, I can get work done before work is done, and before anyone else starts his or her day I have half of the work done for my day. It a life hack, I’m not saying this can work for anyone, but If I can gather myself from my bed in the early hours of the mornings. Anyone Can, Literally anyone can.

Stephen Daly is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. 

The good, the bad and the ugly of student life.

From the moment I decided that I wanted to go to university in 6th year, I suppose you could say it was all I could think about. The independence, partying and of course the student loan. Coming to the end of my uni experience I decided now is the perfect time to reminisce on the good memories and of course the bad… I suppose those preparing for University and those that have just started are wondering what the downside of this life could possibly be. In my experience, I did only have good memories of student life minus the landlords I have encountered with over the past three years.

From the moment you first get that student loan into your bank you feel like you’re the richest person on this planet, until its 4 months down the line and you’re ringing your bank begging for an overdraft. If I was to give one piece of advice when it comes to your loan, it would be pay your rent up front and then you won’t feel as half as rich anymore. However, in saying that I don’t think I ever learnt from my own mistakes, so don’t feel bad if you’re only a month into your loan and you have half of it spent already.

When it comes it choosing the house that you’re going to live in for most of the year, do it wisely. My experience when it comes to student houses hasn’t been great, from the ceiling near caving in in my first-year house to my bedroom ceiling actually caving in in my second-year house. The luxury house that we viewed at the start turned into a living nightmare was the only way to sum up this house. We thought it was the best house within the holylands until we had realised a month in and we were living in an Ikea showroom and not a real house.

From the moment it had click with us that this house only looked nice but didn’t perform like the way you expect a house to, that’s whenever it went downhill for us. When you realise the house that you’re meant to live in is the worst place in the world, what else do you think of doing as a student apart from using it as a house for drinking. The house slowly dwindled in condition which eventually when it came to May time we couldn’t even bare the smell of the amount of drink that had been split over our living room. In fact, the living room was a complete and utter eyesore.

However, another reason for turning what was meant to be our home into an eyesore was the landlord. The experience that we had with our landlord was the worst encounter you would ever wish to have. Our house was falling apart, and they wouldn’t answer the phone to us, the only ever contact we would have with them was whenever it was the first of the month and they were looking their £250. There was actually one time whenever they eventually came to fix a leak that we had for about a month and the ‘builders’ were throwing bricks off our roof and we were told “do not go out your back or you will die”. I’m not too sure but I don’t think it was in anyway safe or legal what they were doing. Anyone we had told about our landlord, knew of him and knew what he was like, so if you ever go to rent a house in the holylands, I would advise you to use a legal property agent.

In saying all this, I can’t recommend student life enough so enjoy it while you can but just don’t pick the worst house and landlord in the holylands.

Kacie O’Connor is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @kacieoconnor 

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.

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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.

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  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.

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  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

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.

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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?)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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/