Career Path Overload…

Why Does a Career in Public Relations Interest Me?

Choosing a Career

At the age of 6 I wanted to be a fire fighter, 9 a forensic scientist, 15 a journalist and now at the age of 21 I feel I can now answer that dreaded question- “what do you want to be when you grow up”? after years of uncertainty it took 21 years of ruling many different jobs out in order to find the place where I feel most me. After experiencing numerous work environments and feeling like a lost sheep in most of them, I was totally filled with dread that I would have to settle for a job that I didn’t find purpose or fulfilment in. It took 21 years of life experiences and 3 years of university to finally find a role where I can be the best version of me. From a young age, I have always been pushed towards higher education. My parents saw it as the only option for me, they saw it as an opportunity to make something of myself. Neither of my parents continued with their education after the age of 17 and always say how it is one of their biggest regrets in their lives. My father has had every job under the sun, you name it he’s done it, he has never felt a proper sense of security in any of his jobs and if I’m being totally honest, that scares me. I’ve seen struggle first hand which has prompted me to get to where I am today. My aim from a very young age was to obtain a career that want to get out of bed for every morning, have financial security and to achieve a sense of comfort and purpose in my chosen career path.  the big question for me for so long was, ‘what career will it be’? I can happily say after one of the hardest years of my life, I’ve finally found it.

 

Why public relations?

There are many reasons why anyone would want to work in public relations. Whether it be Endless variety, the not so shabby salary or the chance to become a globe trotter doing what you love for a living. Public relations is seen as a very desirable job, one I was oblivious too for a long time.Before I chose a university course I done a test online to find the ‘perfect job for me’ it asked me various questions about my likes, dislikes and wants in a job- the result was unanimous, Public relations. from here I began to research what all was involved in the role of a public relations professional and I couldn’t have been more enthralled.it all just seemed too good to be true, so what were the main points that initially attracted me to PR? Media-I like discovery and experimenting with new media tools such as social media as it was one of the reasons I discovered public relations. Another is the variety that comes with a public relation role. In the words of Jane Johnston and Clara Zawawi, there are over 20 potential roles and areas that you can specialise in the PR industry (Johnston & Zawawi 2004, p. 8). Finding something I was passionate about was an important factor when choosing a degree, the variety component instantly led me to CMPR.  And lastly communication, I am a very people- driven person, being in a job that gave me countless opportunities to build relationships was a huge driving factor, I loved the idea of creating a positive impact on my community and thought through public relations I could achieve this goal.

 

A career in Public Relations

Incorporating Public relations into my chosen career path will be an attractive feature that not many other candidates in the teaching world will obtain and I will use it to my full advantage. as you may have gathered my chosen career path is to teach. Preferably in a secondary school as a business studies teacher.For the past two years, I’ve worked in my local secondary school as a learning support assistant and it has been the best two years of my life, before this I’ve never considered teaching as a career. I then went on to consider if my degree and teaching could go hand in hand with each other and discovered the skills I’ve gained over my past three years of university could be transferred into my life as a teacher. So, how do public relations relate to teaching? Now that we are in the 21st century and the Age of Information, a school district needs a communications professional to manage communication strategies that are proactive for a school district, instead of reactive. School districts must make a choice to be an active player in their community, not a passive one of the past. (Marsha Chappelow, Ph.D.https://www.nspra.org/getting_started,. ) As a public relation graduate I could provide support and a professional insight into how to Communicate with internal and external publics, help as a Community relations liaison and take different actions to ensure the schools continued success. I would do this with the help of Public relations research such as polls and surveys, I could also conduct research that will help determine the publics opinion on the school itself as a base to set an action plan in place. I will use all components of my degree to help in and out of the classroom.

 

Incorporating public relations into the school environment

From my time in university I’ve become familiar with the use of SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This would help evaluate the internal and external factors of the school. I would then highlight in on certain factors, these factors could be used on multiple publics. I would also use them in the classroom environment as public relations is a huge component of the business studies course.

 Attract the customer– Firstly recognise who the customer is, in this environment it is the school employees, the students and their parents and the members of the community. Each customer requires different needs for example school employees need to feel valued, the better an employee is treated, the better they will perform, also to ensure a high level of employee retention.

Ensuring school website is “with the times”– never judge a book by its cover, right? Well in this case, this is exactly what potential students and their parents will do. By ensuring the content is of high quality and up to date, this is a high potential selling point for the school if done correctly. You are trying to sell the school to potential customers and If a website isn’t attractive, those customers may make the decision to go elsewhere, based on appearance alone.

Stories:I know you’re probably thinking, story telling seriously. From my own experience story telling has been a factor of public relations that immediately grabs my attention every time. This is because People want to hear success stories to help ensure they are making the right decision. Stories move people. A good story can convince parents that entrusting their children into your hands is a smart choice—or that spending their resources, both time and money, on the school will be an investment in their child’s future. As Terry Tempest Williams wrote “story telling is the oldest form of education.” (Terry Tempest Williams (1984). “Pieces of White Shell: A Journey to Navajoland”, p.4, UNM Press). Just recently I was asked by the principal of the secondary school I used to attend if I would write a short article for the newspaper as it was the schools 60thanniversary. She simply wanted my thoughts on the school and my most fond memories of my time there. This is a great example of how public relations is being used to its highest accord. Getting past pupils to share their fondest memories in a 6-page spread, will highlight to potential students/parents, the surrounding the community and competitors of their continued success.

Social media-I am a strong believer that social media sells. Years ago, it may have been difficult to measure your public relations success. Social media is unique in the sense that you can adequately assess your relationships with your key audiences by measuring the number of shares, comments and likes to see what they enjoy seeing most and using that to provide your audience with content that is of interest to them. The social media platform also allows you to measure the number of people who are viewing each post. These are useful tools to ensure that you can measure the amount of recognition the school is receiving from the targeted publics. All these components are indicators of how good public relations can build strong relationships through good communication.

 

Conclusion

To conclude I believe that public relations has been a detrimental factor in my chosen career path. As you can see from above I’ve already began to plan different techniques of how to improve public relations within the school environment by mentioning some of the approaches I find most effective and interesting. By being equipped with my knowledge of public relations and clear goals of what I aim to achieve I hope this will set me aside from other competitors. I hope to implement these both within the classroom itself and throughout the school community. Public relations has shaped a huge part of the way I think and see things, it has allowed me to think outside of the box, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

 

Rachel Magee is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmagee98 and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-magee-52328016b/

Defying the Stereotype!

In today’s society, people are told they can be who they want to be, but is this true? Growing up, like every little girl I wanted to be a princess, then a doctor or vet; but when it came time to decide what I wanted to do with my life I didn’t know. So, I thought about what I enjoyed doing. When I thought about it, I realised that I wasn’t the typical “girly girl”, I like building things, looking at cars and fixing them, going to lorry shows and car shows. This led me to think, why not become a builder but this was not normal for a girl to do so I was told to pick a more practical career goal. This was probably the right decision to make and stick to a career I could fit into, but I decide not to just fit in. 

When choosing my GCSE subjects, I chose to go with technology and design and then again at A-Level I chose construction and ICT. These decisions were questioned by both my family and by my teachers as I was the only female in these classes. I worked hard to prove them wrong, that girls were able to fit into the construction world. After the 4 years of building, designing, creating and even learning the laws around building and development I came top in my class with an A* and two marks off getting 100%. I was the first student at my school to every receive this grade. At the age of 18 receiving this grade I was smug and proud to be proving everyone wrong. 

Following into my university stage, I applied for Engineering Management. I studied this for a year only to realise that it would result in staying in an office working through paperwork and not becoming a practical job. It was also extremely difficult, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be who I wanted to be. I gave up. I questioned whether the stereotype was right and only men belonged in this world. I wasn’t ready to give on a career though. So, before finishing with the engineering course I thought about what else I was interested in. 

 I found myself always interested in how social media influencers promoted products through their Instagram. They would be sent products to wear and use and then have to post pictures or create short videos in their stories and review the products. This grabbed my attention even more as it grew more popular. This is when I decided to apply for the Communication Management and Public Relations (CMPR) course. 

Throughout this course i have learned a lot about how the marketing world works. I have also learned a lot about how this world works and how society is changing. Women are more expected now to do things out of the ordinary. There was a time when even advertising showed that women couldn’t buy a snickers bar through their television adverts. Women are now taking on more “masculin” roles in society. They have now abandoned the stereotype and strived to do what they want. More women are becoming CEO’s of companies, building their own companies, becoming lorries drivers and other male dominated job roles. This has taught me to do what makes me happy and leave the stereotype behind. 

Although, this also applies to men. Men can be nurses, hairdressers and stay-at-home dads. These aren’t simply female job roles anymore. We are turning our back on a stereotypical job role and not turning away the opposite sex simply for not being the “correct gender” for the role that they have applied for. 

This has encouraged me to continue with pursuing what I want to do with my career. The drive and mindset that other women have has encourage me to be who I want to be and not conform to what certain parts of society think a woman should be doing. Once I finish my degree in CMPR, I have decided to complete and mechanicing course and possibly obtain my HGV license. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I will continue on to do so. We are all equal, which means we can all do equal jobs. 

We must continue to be true to ourselves and defy the stereotype. That is why I would encourage everyone to be who they want to be and not listen to the judgement that we go through when we are striving to become who we want to be. 

 Hollie Walls is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollie-walls-565716198/ and Instagram – @holliewallss

How I chose to Study CMPR

Throwing it back to May 2016, when I was awaiting my Nursing application to change to a conditional offer on my UCAS page … which never came. Instead, I was greeted with the lovely sight of all 5 of my nursing applications being rejected following my interview. I knew that nursing was a very hard course to get into and was told to prepare for not getting in on the first year and having to wait till the next year to reapply. However, once I was rejected, I could feel that that was not the path for me at that time in my life. I was not ready for the commitment that a nursing course requires, and decided that maybe sometime later in my life, if I still wanted, I could always go back and do a nursing degree, but now was not the time.

So when results day came (which was on my birthday I must add), and I seen that I got the results I would have need for the nursing course, it was a bitter sweet moment. 

However, I had just recently discovered that a girl from my town had a blog, which I started to read and realised that she was blogging about the course she was doing at university in Liverpool, which was a PR related course. I was so fascinated with her blogs and began to get very interested in the topics she was talking about. So this was my first introduction to the world of PR, and I was heavily interested in it. I began to look up similar courses in universities at home as I did not want to go away for uni, and I found the Communication Management and Public Relations course at Ulster University. However, I hadn’t applied for this course within my first 5 choices, so I was stuck on what to do now. 

I had the results necessary to get in to this course, so on results day I thought I would have a look at the ‘clearing’ option on UCAS. But unfortunately for me, this course was not on clearing. But I wasn’t giving up that fast! I rang the course director and basically begged for a place. 

I had to wait a few days to find out if I was going to be offered a place on the course…these days were the longest, most stressful days ever. But finally I got the notification offering me a place on the course, to which I confirmed. 

I am now in final year and I can definitely say that I made the right choice for my career. I am so happy that I picked this course, I have been so interested in the topics I have been studying over the years and can see how this career path will be suited to me. 

 

Siobhan McKerr is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @Siobhan_mckerr, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/siobhan-mckerr and Instagram: @Siobhan_mckerr.

When One Door Closes, Another Door…Closes??

That’s what it felt like for a few years anyway. Things just weren’t what I anticipated when I left school and threw myself into University life, that I was sceptical of going to in the first place (I’ll get to that in a bit).

‘What’s for you won’t go past you,’ as my ma liked to remind me every so often, when something went wrong or didn’t work out the way I wanted… Usually to my own accord mind you. Being too laid back, going with the flow and thinking everything would work out eventually. Or, was I just being too lazy and not taking life into my own hands? Lazy probably being the obvious answer.

They say things happen for a reason, and everybody is on a different path in life. Perhaps my path was just a little different than usual? I’ve often asked myself this question. Quite simply, I’ve learned a lot from my experiences and journey so far. It has allowed me to become more mature (very debatable) and understand ‘me’ a little better. So here it is.

In school, my degree of choice, at that time, was available to study at either Ulster University Coleraine or Queens Belfast. Queens being the more desirable choice of the two as I was enticed by the reputation of being a ‘Queens student’ but, I didn’t get the grades; Shock…

After multiple meetings with the VP of our school, he convinced me to take on the challenge of going somewhere other than Belfast and the Rose & Crown, thinking it would be the best for me. For me, a gap year was off the cards. Even if it was Coleraine, I just wanted to get to Uni and experience the student lifestyle. So I bought into it.

I had it all planned out in my head, new adventure, living away from home, house parties, maybe go to class the odd time, go for runs on the beach on my days off and hopefully in the end of it all get my degree. Absolutely, none of these things happened. After a month into the course I realised I hated it. I was staying in halls, living with two other lads that were, to say the least, not the most social of people; so the house parties were soon knocked on the head. Living away from home was not great, as I soon came to realise. Living on microwavable meals every day, it was fair to say I missed my mas cooking. And for the runs on the beach, it was f*@King freezing. The picture I had in my head, Uni life turned out to be everything but that.

To no surprise, shortly after February I dropped out. From then I took on my first full-time job. Having no degree or trade, my choices were limited. It’s true what they say, beggars really can’t be choosers. But could factory work really be that bad? The full-time pay did sound good after all. The following March, I started on the factory floor. A normal day-to-day in the factory consisted of; packaging eggs, standing at the same spot looking at the same assembly line and the same people for 10 hours a day, 6 sometimes 7 days a week. Before swiftly getting ‘pRoMoTeD’ to dispatch. Here was just a slight upgrade from hell, were I loaded deliveries onto Lorries to be distributed to local supermarkets. As EGGxiting as this all sounds, it wasn’t.

I spent 9 months there, before getting fed up with the long hours and I can assure you, my hate for eggs was very REAL. I don’t think I ate an egg for a month or 2 after I quit, the bad memories just weren’t worth it.

My next move didn’t get much better. I went and done sparking for a few months travelling throughout the UK spending a lot of my time away from home, working 12 days at a time. I was 19, homesick and had hated the thought of missing out with the lads, the craic back home and feeling the football season just passing me by. Life just wasn’t the same. Yet another job that wasn’t what I wanted or could picture myself doing all my life.

Lo and behold the prodigal son has returned!!!

Yes, I was back in the egg business, something I thought I’d never see again (never say never). People need their eggs, and no better man to get the job done and provide that service than myself. . . . . However, I knew this wasn’t my path. At least I hoped not.

I lasted another 6 months before getting a job in engineering which I actually liked, but I think that was more to do with the craic with the men more so the work. I wasn’t getting a break with the right jobs. It really did feel like once one door closed, the right door was firmly closed shut and wasn’t for opening anytime soon. The only doors I seemed to unlock were dead end jobs.

As they like to remind us, mums are always right. This is leading me onto ‘what’s for you won’t go past you’ paragraph. At work, the men would have kindly nominated myself to do the weekly run to the local deli to get them a fry on a Friday morning. A treat for us at the end of a hard weeks work – few of them could definitely have done with a salad instead, which I liked to remind them of. One morning, I bumped into an old teacher of mine. As we got chatting, I told him I had an idea of going back to university but had no idea what field to go down. Without hesitation, he arranged a date for us to meet up. I agreed to go, in hope for inspiration and to start a new path in life. A clean slate.

Finally, a door worth opening.

There’s a silver lining to every story, including this one. Who knew a run in with my old teacher would give me the push I needed to make another attempt at Uni. This time it was different, I knew this because of what I had come through in comparison to when I started in Coleraine, 3 years previous. Here I am, in my final year studies writing my first blog. Who would have guessed with my track record? So if you’re struggling like I was, keep banging on them doors, hoping the right one will open and if not, put it through.

Shea Hamill is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shea-hamill-66026a180/

Eat, Pray, Love PR.

Pursuing a degree in PR was not at the top of my list when going through the University prospectuses. In fact, I was so sure I was going to be a psychologist or at least something related to that industry and that was it. Fast forward to results day and what seemed to be my dreams of a psychologist shattered to pieces was only a blessing in disguise. Reflecting back, I realise now I hadn’t even taken the time to do proper research of psychology careers or any industry for that matter. Whether that be down to my school not being overly eager on help or my own fault, I’ll not point any fingers.

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It was on my year out that I learned to become more independent, gaining a full time job which taught me to understand people, anticipate needs, adjust to my audience, and toughen up for rough feedback-attributes I now know will be extremely useful for the PR world. I got involved in social activities and took more time for myself to do the things I enjoyed. I also focused on properly researching careers that I was interested in and that’s when PR stuck out for me. Having started to pay more attention to the news and using social media in a more constructive way that’s when I saw the brilliance behind PR campaigns. This is when I thought “here is something I want to be involved in”. Being able to share your creativity and inspirations with others where they will have such a huge impact, I thought that was amazing.

Over the past three years my knowledge and interest of PR has only strengthened, realising that PR is one of the most misunderstood professions. You can find PR in every industry there is yet it still remains a unique management function. Amongst the many competing definitions of Public Relations, Grunig and Hunt (1984) suggest it is ‘the management of communication between an organisation and its publics’. This tells us that PR is not limited, although many people outside of the industry would believe that PR is all about updating social media sites, handing out flyers and getting you onto nightclubs guest lists. As fun as that part is, there’s more to the career that interests me.

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PR interests me as it is a wealth of a career known to have a wide range of versatile and exciting opportunities which only matches my motivation. For a person who gets bored easily I know it is the right path as no day will ever be the same in the fast paced environment. It remains fresh and exciting as there is a great variety of what can spark your interests. From promotion to campaigns, advertising and media releases it makes the path of PR a lot more exciting. It gives you the chance to fixate on an area that you would prefer to specialise in. My focus at the minute is the role of a PR Specialist and with my enthusiastic nature I know that long workdays aren’t going to be a problem nor the possibility of having to do overtime. Sometimes in this role you may be expected to travel and for me that would be a perk of the job. Why wouldn’t I want to do something that I am really interested in?

Public Relations is known to be part of the creative industry and in this ever changing media environment the need for improved and engaging creative work is important. A lot of PR involves creating engaging content: writing blog posts, creating social media posts and developing written pieces. I got to do this more actively on my placement year and it was one aspect of the job I thoroughly enjoyed doing.

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From a young age I always loved having the opportunity to share my creativity with others. Throughout school there were chances to create short stories and poems for competitions which contributed to developing my writing skills – an essential for working in PR. I went on to study English Literature at A-Level which not only strengthened my skills but allowed for a deeper analysis of any work I had to study; looking at written pieces from different points of view. This will be useful in the future when dealing with publics and ensuring a fair and balanced opinion is provided.

Modern day PR is so much more than just crafting press releases, pitching journalists, and getting media hits. Today, in order to ‘win’, the best PR pros I’ve seen are willing to… ask themselves: ‘Who do we want to reach…and how do we measure success?’ This train of thought is a highly creative process. It’s not a one size fits all approach.” (Fowlie (1), 2016). I am fascinated by the surge of creativity that a PR path entails and believe that as more people understand the industry the more diverse, creative tasks PR professionals will have to take on.

I love that the industry is so fundamentally social and networking is a core essential in the PR world. The idea of continually meeting new people is exciting and a great way of portraying your personal brand. Networking provides multiple opportunities and is not confined to happen in a particular environment. Building relationships with key stakeholders, journalists and other PR professionals can occur at the likes of an industry event, seminars and online. I see this as a great prospect in learning from others and a good time to build my own personal social networking skills, any opportunity for learning is only going to help me grow and this is what draws me to pursuing this career.

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I have learned that there will be a lot of ‘Uh-oh!’ moments throughout my career. I got insight to this on my placement as I was asked to develop and manage an event. Suddenly the stress bells were ringing and the sudden panic of realising that this was the opportunity to make a good impression to my boss, of course I needed it to be a success. These are the pressures you can face in your job, but the ending satisfaction of being able to organise such high prestige and successful events for others to enjoy and avail of is one you cannot beat. To be honest, being thrown in at the deep end is not completely insane, I found it was a very effective way of learning on my own and a key time to use my common sense wisely. It also taught me that it is normal to not know everything and a great time to develop my understanding and not be afraid to ask questions.

Many skills are required for being successful in PR. Good verbal and written communication, decision making, teamwork and time management are a few. I do find myself having acquired and developed these skills proficiently throughout my years of work and education which will be extremely useful when dealing with publics and other professionals. As a goal getter, having these skills will not only help with attaining a job but contribute to working my way up the corporate ladder. There are a complex set of factors and patterns that are important for success, including communication skills; diverse experiences and assignments; a proactive nature; and relationship-building, networking, and interpersonal skills. Such talent will always remain vital in an industry that is ever changing.

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PR over the past number of years has been on the rise and the main reason is for its need to influence and create change. Organisations today need brand awareness, engagement with publics and media coverage and due to the majority of companies looking to achieve these necessities, PR will remain to play a key part to keep up with these current trends. The role of Public Relations continues to fascinate me and is only evolving; a 2017 USC Annenberg Global Communications study shows that 87% of professionals believe the term “public relations” will not describe the work they do in five years. Additionally, 60% of marketing executives believe PR and marketing will become dramatically more aligned in the near future. I am heavily influenced by PR and unknowingly implement the subject in different aspects of my life. The possibilities are endless and the opportunities to display my own personality in my job are what pique my interest in the industry.

Fionnuala Hegarty is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @fionnualaheg,  LinkedIn –Fionnuala Hegarty, and Instagram – fionnualahegarty

How The Tables Have Turned…

No turning back now, here we go, first of many. I’d like to start by apologising in advance as this might be the biggest load of rubbish you’ll ever read in your life but it’s my first blog and if I’m being honest I don’t really know what I’m doing or where this is going, so go easy on me.

So, let’s begin. Hi my names Rachel Magee and I’m currently studying Communications Management and Public relations. Along with my degree I also work part time in the secondary school which I used to attend.

Let’s turn the clock back to September 2018, I just started back into my final year of university, I thought right head down get the degree and get out. My plans took a quick change when a placement I applied to a month previous got back to me offering me a job. I was ecstatic, but me being me I left it to the very last minute to start applying for placements so the idea that id actually get one was never really a thought, so I jumped at the first opportunity, silly Rachel.

As you can probably tell from the end of the lat paragraph my placement year went down like a lead balloon. I lasted two months. Don’t get me wrong there was no issue with the company it just wasn’t quite what I expected, and to be 100% honest I’m the only one to blame. I was so excited that a company had actually offered me a job, you can only imagine how gutted I was when two months in I had to call it quits, I felt like an absolute failure. From here I found myself taking a year out of university and unemployed. Not a great start to the year.  Back to square one, the job-hunt began. I decided in the off chance to ring my old principal to see if there were any job availabilities within the school. From there everything fell perfectly into place.

So, here we again new job take 2. I was offered a job as a learning support assistant in the first-year class and that suited me down to a tee, I was in my element. I have always loved children but never thought I’d be back in my old school working with them. Seeing all the familiar faces from when I was at school and not being able to shake the habit of calling the teachers miss or sir has gotten me a brave bit of slagging. I can honestly say, in my 21 years of life I’ve never had a job that I actually wanted to get out of bed for, until now.

It’s just over 5 years ago since I was a pupil here myself, and now there were people calling me ‘miss’! sorry what? Talk about roles reversed. Being able to see how things work when the tables are turned from the viewpoint of a member of staff is shocking. This was a real eye opener for me, the amount of time and effort the teachers invest into each pupil. Even though they may not appreciate it at the time.; speaking from experience here.

 

To be brutally honest this year had its ups and downs but more so a blessing in disguise. My year working in the school has pushed me in a career path that was not my initial intention,. My time here has yet again reshaped me in the best way possible. So, to finish I’d like to give a big shout out to my once principal and now boss for answering the phone and giving me the opportunity.     

 

Rachel Magee is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmagee98 and LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-magee-52328016b/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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