For someone who did journalism, you'd think writing about the thing would be easy? But, Murphy’s law, it's not.
After spending four long years hiding up in Trinity FM, Trinity's radio station, and attending the odd lecture here and there, (enough to get me my degree), the time had come for me to seek pastures new. Fondly bidding farewell to my beloved Arts Block, the cobblestones and the radio station that became my lecture hall for four years, it was time to go.
Go where, you ask? Ah, a mere stone’s throw up Grafton street, to the chic, retro area of Camden street, famed for Karma, The Bald Barista and DIT Aungier street. That was to be home for the next year or so. After four years of the university experience, it was time to try something new. It's like, deciding, after years drinking vodka, you want something stronger, whiskey perhaps?
I can safely say that my DIT experience was a world away from my Trinity one. I was never a terrible student in Trinity, I was just in the wrong course and therefore, sitting through nearly an hour of Irish Grammar while my lecturer lost all hope with me, is slightly soul-destroying. Sitting through two hours composing headlines for tabloid newspapers, as your lectures sighs in despair but secretly laughs because you're so outlandish instead? I'll take the latter.
Journalism was an obvious choice, and ironically, for someone who went in there, a die-hard radio nut, I've reverted back to my roots and thrown myself into writing and creating again, realising that while radio was fun, it was not a career where I could seek fulfillment. The course never taught me that, but it taught me to write, and helped me to think again. It's not called a Masters for no reason.
For the first time in a long time, I looked forward to going into college, and for the right reasons. I was there at my 9am lectures, usually a few minutes early. Who was this girl?? I was used to small classes from Trinity, very few did Early and Modern Irish, so I was in my comfort zone to an extent in DIT. Small classes, lectures who cared, it seemed pretty perfect, and for the most part it was. I finally understood what it was like to go to college, enjoy a course and actually be decent at it. It's something everyone needs to do at some point and realise what you're good at. We're all good at something, it took me till I was 23 till I truly knew, and came to this wonderful contented place that I was right where I needed to be.
The course was full of long days, and a lot of work. Some subjects I had zero interest in, and didn't hugely see the point of them, but as with everything there's always an aspect you dislike. You just make the best of it and mould them how you see fit. It's filled with assignments, and my advice is to avoid letting them pile up! The end of the year is exhausting enough without sitting at a computer trying to edit a Lily Allen song, that did actually happen, she'd be proud I'm sure
Radio was a huge part of my life, and the course gave me some amazing opportunities, or provided the catalyst for them. Interviewing Minister Ruairi Quinn about the future of DIT was a personal highlight. I'm so proud of that interview, and how myself and my friend Ciaran Clarke went about achieving it. Another highlight was writing a radio speech, or a radio-type play. It was inspired by Trinity, and when your lecturer says she nearly cried reading it, you know you're kind of doing something right.
Writing for the college paper was such a highlight too, sitting there on Budget day 2012, late night typing trying to get it finished with bags under my eyes from staring at the screen. As well as writing for the paper, I undertook a weight-loss challenge and allowed myself to be publicly scrutinised by my colleagues in the paper. So now, I wasn't just trying to get my Masters, I was also losing weight for all to see. It was nearly like a social-experiment, but something I'd do again: Anything for your craft.
There's no work experience offered as part of the course, which some may see as a downside, but I suppose to me, it means you work harder. You don't want to be a student after your degree, and being honest after five years of this whole 'student' thing I was growing tired of it by the end. Lets not forget, after a year of multiple of assignments, there's still the minor issue of a dissertation/thesis/pain in the arse… Or whatever you want to call it, to be submitted by early September. To say I was knackered was an understatement. Having done a thesis as Gaeilge, it should've been as easy as making your bed. Genius here decided to do something obscure enough. Ask me anything about the prison system now-I'm a pro. Obviously, I'm also hooked on Orange is The New Black.
For the record, I adored Trinity, and I still do, I'm honored that I spent four amazing years there, but I was trapped in a course that hated me and I hated it. I remember my lecture telling me when I was entering my final year, to 'give up the radio stuff'. That 'radio stuff' allowed me to get high grades for the first time in my life and allowed me to finally feel like I was an intelligent human being. I've walked away from it slightly, re-prioritised things, focused myself a bit more, I used to think I was a better speaker than writer, but lately, it seems I can convey myself far better over the keyboard. I still use notebooks and pens and never leave home without one. In my belief though, you're only as good as your last article.
To anyone contemplating journalism, it's a lot of hard work, and it's a long slog. Volunteer like hell, work for free, get your work out there, blog. Write about anything and everything, but usually, if you can, what you know. It's nearly 7 years later and I've nearly got my hands on a paid job, which is enough in my field that I can be satisfied there and see my creativity in production. If you've a flair for writing or enjoy any aspect of journalism and the media, it's the course for you. But don't get too downhearted if things don't quite go the way you figured.
Soak it up: Work your ass off and enjoy it. You can never have enough knowledge.