Reasons I’m Excited to Go Back to Uni

Well, here I am. 9 months into placement. I could’ve had a BABY in that time, like a literal human. Isn’t that scary? Anyway, people always ask me if I’m looking forward to going back to uni next year, so here’s a lil list for you of why I kinda am:

*This is in no particular order, but this first one is the main reason

Clements in Jordanstown:
Low and behold, there is now a Clements in my uni campus. Rejoice and be glad. I reckon UUJ did it on purpose to lure us all back, I’m telling you now the attendance is going to go right up. Pre-lecture coffee date? Post-lecture coffee date? Instead-of-lecture coffee date? Thankin you.

The uni bubble:
Uni is this magical place where the real world doesn’t exist. Adulthood isn’t really a thing until you’re 40, your biggest responsibility is topping up the gas, and the ‘future’ is nothing more than a cheat liar rapper. When you’re in uni, nothing else matters. You get to forget about actually having to figure out what you want to do in life. You can postpone making actual life decisions for a whole other year. How fabulous.

Seeing friends:
I miss seeing my wee group of friends every day (well, three days a week but still). At the minute we’re all spread around the place (shoutout to Rachel for ditching to ENGLAND – and not consulting us first??). I can’t wait to see their lil faces and have a geg with them in the comfy purple seats on campus. And I’m sure they feel the exact same way about me. Deffo do.

Writing notes:
I’m one of those sad people that LOVES pens. My wee 4 coloured bic pen (the pink and green one, not the normal boring one) hasn’t been used all year and I can’t WAIT to do nice pretty coloured writing on notes I’ll keep forever and probably never read 🙂

Opportunities:
My uni is actually really good about emailing us out relevant opportunities, like volunteering, different programmes and talks by industry professionals. Yeah, placement is a great way to get work and actually acting-like-an-adult experience, but there’s loads of things like the PANI programme and societies that you can’t actually do once you go out in the scary real world. It’s a good way to build up your CV before you graduate and compete with 8000 other people with similar degrees and work experience. Can’t wait.

Lunch dates:
As I’ve mentioned in several posts, ya girl misses going for lunch. It really makes you feel like a lady of leisure, wee post lecture lunch date before you all split off and pretend to do seminar work. I know fine rightly the people at West are concerned and miss me dearly. So it’s not just for my sake that I want to go out for lunch, think of the economy. Think of it.

Actually learning stuff:
Call me sad (please don’t, I’m fragile) but I actually like feeling like I’ve learnt something, you know that lil “a-ha” moment when you feel all smart because you learnt a long word or can show off to your ma when you’re home?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so much a fan of reading textbooks, journal articles, but learning from those wee powerpoints and “relevant” videos in class? Oof.

Obviously, I know from the past 2 years and siblings who’ve gone through final year that uni isn’t a holiday. So there are of course reasons I’m scared to go back -besides graduating and having to leave uni, although I could always do a master’s to postpone being a grown up…

Reasons I’m not excited to go back to uni:
1. Dissertation
2. Finals
3. Twenty grand of debt

But oh well, that’s September’s problem.

Advertisements

The “C” Word

Culture. Well, what other word would I be talking about? Tut TUT. Anyway, if you’ve been on social media recently (or Buzzfeed in particular), you can’t seem to scroll far without coming across the word. It seems that every time a song, music video, or fashion photography is released, it comes into play. All this talk of culture and appropriation got me thinking, what actually is culture? Well, let’s ask boy George, shall we?

What a man

Culture is: “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.”

These “people” include races, religions, nationalities and ages – just because two people are from the same place, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have the same culture. A Parisien Islamic pensioner and Parisien Catholic teenager will obviously have cultural differences (duh).

So, culture includes what we do, think, eat, wear and how we act and behave. But where does it end? Is burning other nationalities’ flags “culture”? What about shooting people? Colonisation? Fast food? Not saying thanks to the bus driver? (Eugh, imagine) Is this “culture”?

How big do these “people, groups and societies” have to be for their behaviour to qualify as “culture”? Can any behaviour done by these groups by classified as culture?

A group of a certain race, religion, nationality and who support a certain soccer team shout sectarian and racist songs and abuse at matches (hypothetically of course, this would never happen). This is a group which share views and attitudes, and this is a social behaviour after all, so does that make it culture?

People seem all too quick to excuse a behaviour by saying it’s their culture. It eliminates their responsibility and shifts the blame. It’s not them choosing to act that way, it’s out of their control – it’s instilled in them, it’s how they were raised. Headers.

We need to stop using “culture” as a justification. Not only does this skew what people think is “okay”, it also undermines actual culture. If anything can be classified as a cultural behaviour, then it loses its definition. We lose the ability to distinguish and tell the difference between what we should deem unacceptable and acceptable.

As well as this, a group of people behaving a certain way and branding it “culture” creates a stigma and association attached the wider group they’re a part of. This results in stereotypes of nations, races and religions, having them branded and labeled as a whole. Spoiler alert: not all Irish people are alcoholics and drunks, despite what films repeatedly portray. Very badly, and usually with a Scottish accent, might I add (@ Gerard Butler- you brought our country shame).

Good.

Anyway, recently there seems to a rise in people defending and wanting to “protect” their culture. Even if said culture involves discrimination or abusive behaviour. So, why the desire now more than ever to retain it?

Well, we live in a world where cultures seem to be blending into one – shoutout to multinational corporations !! No matter where you are in the world, you can most likely eat the same things and buy the same brands. Globalisation means that sadly, small and local firms are being put out of business by the big dogs.

Don’t get me wrong, these companies allow us to pay less for products, order food despite not speaking the language, and make things more accessible. But what don’t they do? Pay tax, yes. But offer a sense of “home”. They offer it to visitors, but not natives of the country. Nothing screams ‘traditional’ like a Bershka or H&M. That’s the real reason I go on holiday.

Beautiful

You can go abroad, walk down the city’s main street, and feel like you’re home. Same shops, same language (shoutout to English speaking countries for apparently being the only ones not to learn another language !!) and thanks to global warming, the same weather. How FAB.

In a time where everything’s blurring to become more similar, of course it’s important to preserve traditions and culture (ones that don’t harm others, just to clarify). Things that make us unique, things you can’t get or do just anywhere. But first, we have to stop using it as a scapegoat for acting like eejits.

Toddler to Teen (with Nothing in Between)

Okay, I may be having a concerned middle aged mother moment here, but what’s happening to children? Why do they seem to go from nursery to nightclubs, avoiding the whole phase called, you know, childhood?

When I was a child (still am according to the Translink bus drivers, half price fare thankU), I came home from school, played with my cheap knockoff Tamagotchi, went outside and played the ultimate sport that is Kirby and rang my mates on their landline. We all knew each other’s home numbers off by heart and would sit and talk until our fish fingers were ready, or our ma needed to use the internet – shoutout to dial-up.

These bad boys were the OG Nintendogs

I used to call for my friends, “is Sarah coming out?”; “The street’s playing rounders do you wanna come?” and we’d run about, play ‘rap a door run away’, ride Flickrs and be home by 9 o’clock. We went out in the street nearly every day, except when we weren’t allowed out because we had to do our homework, or were grounded. Yeah, grounding was still a thing.

We’d go into town on a Saturday. That was literally the outing. We’d go in, paddle about, go to New Look to try on high heels, take photos in clothes we were never gonna buy, do peace signs non-ironically and go to KFC.

Us getting our photos taken in River Island

But now, things are so different. Children don’t seem to act like children anymore. Primary school children are using iPhones and social media – 8 year olds are following me on Instagram. 8 YEAR OLDS. Children don’t go through horrible fringe, “nobody understands me” or experimental eyeliner phases anymore. They do makeup better than I do (not that that’s hard), have actual relationships – not fake boyfriends you met on Omegle – and go to playgrounds to drink, rather than “play“. Rather than children and teenagers, it seems to be teenagers and like, shorter teenagers.

This is why I’m so glad I grew up when I did, had the childhood that I had and acted my age. Looking back at my behaviour until I was about 15 actually makes me cringe and question why I had friends. I was a weirdo. But we were all ‘weirdos’. Us being weird was us acting normal. We have scundering photographic evidence that we use for blackmail, and sit laughing and shuddering at the way we got on. Do I regret the way I was? Yeah. Would I do it again if I had a do-over? Definitely.

Me after receiving said blackmail material

I wouldn’t want to look back as an adult and not be able to identify when I actually became one. 13 year olds shouldn’t be acting 18. They shouldn’t want to. Being an adult isn’t fun – we have to pay tax. TAX. (Unless you’re rich of course, and then apparently you don’t have to). And pay twice as much for transport and cinema tickets. Ew.

Yes, I always wanted to be 18, and to be honest, I still do – if I could stop aging that would be GREAT. But I always failed (and still do) to act and look like an 18 year old. But now, 12 year olds actually do pull off being 18. They look older than me, are taller than me (there’s definitely something in the water) and are more active online than me.

But I’m glad I didn’t grow up in a time when smartphones, likes and appearance were my priorities. They weren’t even in my radar. I ran about with friends, literally ran about. Outside. The only social media I had was Bebo and I wasn’t even allowed it so had to make it on my friend’s laptop and could only use it at her house. I joined the school computer club purely so I could use MSN to talk to my friends. We literally emailed each other. But in pink text. That was the extent of my online activity – that and a weird internal school “social media” called SuperClubs which NOBODY ELSE seems to remember but I definitely didn’t make up. Someone please back me up on this.

The OG Facebook messenger

I had 0 cares or worries, besides that boy finding out I fancied him or how my side fringe looked. I lived in a bubble, with no exposure to the scary thing that is the real world. Children these days are able to see so much online, stuff they shouldn’t be seeing – stuff no one should really be seeing. The internet’s full of harmful and dangerous things that children can easily stumble upon. Things that are affecting how they see themselves and the “real” world. They’re comparing themselves to Instagram lifestyles and models, because that’s what they see. So that must be what life’s meant to be like, right? But it’s filtered, fake and 90% of the time, it’s paid for.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not children’s fault, they can’t help it. It’s the world they’re growing up in. What are they meant to do, stop using their phones and isolate themselves from their friends? Play outside alone? Rebirth themselves 10 years earlier? Ugh, imagine.

I don’t know if it’ll change. I don’t really see how it could. And that’s sad. We seem to be living in a world with just babies, adults and the elderly. More and more people are born every year, but we seem to have less and less children with each of them.

Children should be children. They should want to be children. Childhood is the best experience of your life. And it’s not fair if they don’t get to experience it.

Cavemen Vs Robots – Who Would Win?

Now that, I would pay to see.

Sorry to disappoint but this isn’t a poll about some weird edition of “Robot Wars” or MMA fighting.  I’m simply asking if humans today are any smarter than our predecessors. Okay don’t pull that face at me, buster. Hear a gal out first, sheesh.

caveman
You really can find anything on Google Images

We’ve all seen and heard comparisons of those considered less intelligent to cavemen. Humans today are considered to be smarter, more educated and superior in general to our ancestors. Yes, we do know things that they didn’t, like that the Earth isn’t flat (although the jury’s still out on that one, Youtube conspiracy theories are very convincing); and we’ve made massive advancements in regards to medicine and technology. But, could we build the Roman Colloseum? Or the pyramids?

Hmm, maybe. But could we do it without modern equipment or machinery? Yeah, thought not.

Our predessors knew how to do things. We know how to use technology to do things for us. Nowadays, people aren’t even bothering to stand up and turn off their lights, they need ‘Alexa’ to do it for them. Why do things yourself when you can have a creepy machine do it for you, while giving it access to control your electricity? How fun.

alexa

Anyway, my point is, early humans and ‘cavemen’ were able to live self-sustainably. They found their own food, hunted animals, made their own clothes (not as nice as Missguided’s but they did the best they could) and built houses with their bare hands. They were able to do so much more with so much less. And they were able to survive without depending on technology and the internet.

They didn’t have Google *gasps* to figure out the answer to everything (or to tell them that headache might actually be sign that they’re dying), so they worked things out for themselves. Instead of Googling if a berry was poisonous, they just waited until someone else ate it and died, then added it to the “avoid” list; or gave it to their neighbours’ really annoying Dodo -or whatever they kept as pets, idk. They knew what they knew because they learned things. We know a lot of what we know because we’re told things. And because we learned from their mistakes. Shout out to the guy who wanted a pet shark.

CavemanShark1

Nowadays, people laugh at the “stupidity” of our ancestors. Like how they thought ice cube lobotamies could cure depression or that babies didn’t feel pain. But how do we know they were wrong? Because we checked the internet? Got a machine to do it differently? Waited until someone’s baby cried when they dropped it and thought “Oh. Maybe it does feel things? Hmm, noted.” I admit, they weren’t the best examples to prove my case but to be fair remember when everyone thought the world was going to end in 2000? And then again -oh but FOR REAL this time- in 2012? I mean come on we even made a (terrible) film about it. Nobody’s perfect.

Now I’m not saying that those that came before us were smarter than us, I’m just saying that I don’t think it’s fair to say that we’re smarter than them. Maybe they didn’t know that pi was 3.14 and then a BAZILLION other numbers, but they didn’t need to. People used to learn and know the things that they needed to know, like “what berries are poisonous?”, “will that lion try to eat me if I pet it?”, “what happens if you stand in the fire?” – all valid questions, sort of. Modern humans just seem to know stuff purely for the sake of knowing it. I know so much irrelevant information that I’ll probably never use or get to say unless I’m at a pub quiz or in an uncomfortable silence on a date. Did you know a group of pandas is called an ’embarrassment’? I did. Why? I have NO IDEA.

index

We do know a hell of a lot, and we are pretty ‘smart’, but I think earlier humans deserve a bit more credit. They discovered that other continents existed, knew the time without clocks and were able to preserve people who had died (a bit creepy in my opinion, but still, kudos to them). They discovered the most random things like how to procreate, give birth and then feed the child breastmilk. Like how did they even go about finding this stuff out? How did they even come about milking cows? Like they must have been really bored. And a bit weird.

Well, there you go. There’s some food for thought the next time you buy a bottle of milk. Or see a fire and choose not to stand in it. You can now return to your life of letting your creepy robot control your home. Tell the government I said hi.

 

The “P” Word

“Placement”.

The nine letter word that instils instant fear and dread in university students.

The “if we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist” topic.

It’s scary isn’t it? One minute you’re catching up with friends, preparing for fresher’s week and celebrating the return of the student loan; the next you’re being forced to ~god forbid~ start thinking about your future and what you actually want to do with your life.

You’ll start having placement students, members of companies and placement co-ordinators making appearances in lectures, and start receiving emails in your university email account that you only ever really use to activate your UniDays discount.

Well, don’t worry – here are some do’s and don’ts to help prepare you for one of the scariest things about second year (second to the fact that this year actually counts towards your degree classification).

Take it from a current placement student who has learned some of these the hard way. And no, I did not follow all of these, which is precisely why I am advising you to.

 

DO:

Start early.

Give yourself a head start and the best chance you can. The last thing you need when you have assignments to write and exams to revise for is to worry about actually starting to write a CV and figure out what a cover letter even is.

 

DON’T:

Feel as though you have to go on a traditional placement. You have options, consider them. Yes, you can go on placement, but you can also take part in programmes such as Study USA or Intern China, or go straight into final year. Everyone is different and wants different things. It’s your degree, your choice and a year of your life at the end of the day. Placement isn’t for everyone, and you know what? That’s totally fine.

 

DO:

Proof read.

Stop rolling your eyes. Yes it’s one of those “duh” points, but it has to be said. After writing around 20 cover letters and application forms, you might discover a shortcut of “I’ll just write the same thing and change the company name and job title”; well, that’s all well and good until you submit a cover letter stating how much you would love to be a marketing intern at one of the leading car retailers to a milk company looking for a web developer.

Which leads to my second point.

 

DON’T:

Make every application/cover letter the same.

Companies can see right through you and know exactly when you’re using generic applications. Every application should be tailored to suit the company and job you’re applying for. State why to want to work there, and why you would be ~perfect~ for that role. The more specific and relevant your application is, the more likely the reader is to consider you.

Take it from someone who did the whole “copy and paste” approach, and got rejections for not being ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘passionate’ enough about the job or business.

 

DO:

What’s best for you. Friends are such a big part of our lives, and it’s nearly impossible not to be influenced by them; but don’t feel pressured to do something just because they are. Don’t apply for a job you don’t want just because “all of my friends have”, don’t choose jobs based in a certain country because you want to be near them, don’t decide not to do a placement even though you want to just because your best friend hasn’t and you want to “graduate together”.

I mean, “if your friends jumped off a cliff” and all that.

 

DON’T:

Be afraid to be different. Oh, you think writing 30 cover letters, applications and CVs is boring? Try reading 100s of them. Make the employer interested. This is your chance to show your potential and why you deserve the job. Yes, of course that’s what the interview is for- but what if you don’t get that far? Give the employer no choice but to want to meet and learn more about you and what you can bring to the company.

 

DO:

Practise.

Do you know what a psychometric test is? Yeah, one of those “what shape’s next and mathsy sort of test things”. Well, whenever you’re about to complete one, you might get a ‘guide’ which includes what sort of questions will be asked, how much time you have and practise questions. READ IT. I was one of those “I’d rather get it over and done with” so skipped the guide and practise questions. Well, joke was on me when, approximately 12 minutes later I was sitting at the computer trying not to cry and swearing I would boycott a certain brand for life because of the emotional trauma they had caused me. I mean, who cares how many yen 500 US dollars is worth? Well, for some unknown reason, that company does.

 

DON’T:

Panic apply.

If you haven’t got a placement sorted yet but some or all of your friends have, it can be tempting to start applying for every single placement opportunity you get told about. It’s important that you only apply to jobs you actually want. Would you rather wait a few weeks or months and get your ideal job, or be the first one to get a placement but end up not even liking the sound of it?  It can be frustrating getting nothing but rejections or ignored for months, but it’s worth waiting for that one real “YES” moment.  I found myself relieved to get some rejections because I didn’t even really want a job or what it was, but I mightn’t have been as lucky and ended up having to take one and spend a year doing something I hated and wasn’t suited for.

 

And now for my final gem of advice:

 

DO:

Enjoy second year.

There’s nothing you appreciate more than 9 hour weeks and being able to go for LUNCH DATES than working 8 hours a day and having to pack lunches like you’re back in school. Second year was such an amazing year for me, and yes, it’s hard work and a step up from first year; but it’s still a great time to socialise, learn, think about what you actually want, and go out on a weeknight?? Imagine.

 

Well there you go folks, that’s a wrap. Hopefully you learned something reading this, and if you didn’t – US $500 will get you around 56,698 Japanese yen. Ha – now you have learned something *pats self on back*.

About Mise

0

My name’s Niamh Murray, I’m 21 and from the very small “big smoke” that is Belfast in Ireland. I’m currently studying Communication, Advertising and Marketing at university, but I’m on my placement year which has launched me into the big scary world of full-time work, pensions and tax *gentle sobbing*.

I’m a Sagittarius -and yes that is important because horoscopes are VERY real (well, until they tell me something I don’t want to hear), my favourite colour’s pink and I LOVE pineapple.

No pets- although I do have 7 cacti which I do look after very well, unlike my Bonsai tree (R.I.P), and my hobbies include reading, colouring in (I’m very good at staying in the lines you know) and going for coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

That’s pretty much all you need to know about me, well, it’s probably a good bit more than you need to know or care about but there you go, I’m a sharer.

You can find me on LinkedIn (Niamh Murray), Facebook (Niamh Ní Mhuirí) or in the nearest Clements coffee shop.

Fáilte (Welcome)

Bonjour, Aloha and Ciao.

Don’t worry, even I cringed at that.

welcome

Anyway, welcome to my blog, Freckles and Thoughts. As the name suggests, I have freckles, boy do I have freckles, I’m basically a walking ‘connect the dots’ game.  And, I have thoughts- imagine that!

I’ve wanted to write a blog for some time now, but never really had the confidence or knew what to write about. I always thought, “What if I run out of things to say?” Then I realised a) as my good man Drake taught me, life’s too short to sit about and play it safe; and b) I could talk to a brick wall so will most likely never run out of things to say.

I started off writing posts for my university’s PR Student Blog, but after some really positive feedback and advice, finally got the courage to start my own. That, and a ‘eureka’ moment in which I ~finally~ came up with a name (Niamh’s Blog didn’t quite cut it, you see).

I write about LOADS of different things, because it’s important not to limit yourself (I also take notions and have a lot of thoughts and opinions on very random topics). I’m not sure if it’s come across so far but I generally don’t really consider myself a very serious person, so I try to let my style reflect that- after all, if you’re not going to read the terms and conditions for literally anything ever, why would you listen to me monotonously rambling on?

Well, I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say, and please please feel free to leave any comments or feedback because I’m still new to this and so appreciate any opinions!