12 Weeks of Uni

Well, lads, we made it. This marks week 13 of uni, aka FREEDOM. Well, if you’re not unlucky to have exams in January. Which I do 🙂


The past 12 weeks have been, well, not what I expected at all. Because I wasn’t really “expecting” anything, so I suppose that might have something to do with it. As my ma always says, “life’s all about setting expectations.” So I’m gonna help set some by sharing a wee summary of how I’ve found semester one of scary final year.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to put second years off. Promise.

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Week 1:
OMG HI, been so long! How are you? How was placement?

Wait, what room are we in? Is there a block 17? Since when?

Ooh they got new couches and carpet, snazzy.

I’m gonna dress nice and do makeup every day. I’m more productive when I feel good.

Week 2:
Wait, so we have seminars this week? Eugh. Was there homework?

Let’s go for coffee after this lecture to reward ourselves for going.

This module doesn’t seem too bad, actually.

If I just time manage, I can do this final year thing no problem.

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Week 3:
Let me get this straight, we have to do a dissertation proposal?? About what?? AGH

What the hell is a lit review?

At least the assignment’s not due til week 8, that’s pretty sweet. 

Wait, was there seminar homework?  

Week 4:
Hmm, should probably get crackin’ on that assignment, shouldn’t I?

Did anyone do the seminar homework?

Bit scared of that proposal but sure we can’t actually start it til week 9 so let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist.

This final year thing isn’t as bad as I thought.

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Weeks 5-6:
Okay I really should start that assignment.

How am I meant to write 2000 words on this? Let’s whack “in order to” in every other sentence. 

I hate whatever sadist invented Harvard referencing.

*Uses thesaurus for every word in so it’s definitely not plagiarism*

What seminar group are we in this week? Was there homework?

THIS has never been done before. I think this could be my dissertation idea.

Never mind. 

Week 7:
To HELL with makeup. Comfort is key. I’m more productive when I’m free to touch my face when I please.  

I just spent 3 hours writing a paragraph and it makes no sense so I have to delete it.

What’s another word for….

Moreover is my new favourite word.

How.Am.I.Meant.To.Delete.338.Words. Help me God. 

Right, need to go and delete all those “in order to”s.

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Week 8:
WHY IS EVERYTHING DUE AT ONCE OH MY GOD.

Okay, got it to 2199 words. FAB. One word to spare yepa.

What do you mean the title page counts towards the word count??

How.Am.I.Meant.To.Delete.Six.Words.
Five.
Four.
Three.
Six. HOW IS IT UP TO SIX AGAIN.

Week 9:
Phew, those two assignments are GONE. Now I can relax.

First meeting with the dissertation supervisor, eek. What if my idea makes no sense?

I have 2 weeks to do a whole dissertation proposal. No one talk to me I’m going into hibernation. I’ll sleep when I’m DEAD.

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* 8 weeks

Week 10:
AgggggggggggggGGGhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Week 11:
Ooh exam prep lecture. Give me ALL the hints, thankU.

She didn’t tell us the questions. What. Why does she want us all to FAIL.

Telling us to bring in 3 pens to the exam isn’t going to get me a 2:1. GIVE ME A SIGN. ANYTHING.

ONE WEEK TO DO ALL THESE CORRECTIONS AGGGggHhhhhhhhhhHHHH

Week 12:
We’re done. We made it. WE DID IT.

This was the easier semester. Oh no. 

Right guys, see you next year !!! Ha ha !!!

Can’t WAIT for that 2 week break after the exams before we start back and do this all over again 🙂

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So there you go. That was a lil glimpse at my experience of final year. 
Let’s do it all again in February, eh?
Merry Christmas 🙂

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Easy. be rich. live in a united Ireland. be happy. Why is that not an acceptable answer?

I’m a final year student, so one thing I always get asked is, “so what are your plans for after uni?” Let me tell you now, I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight, let alone what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

There’s this expectation that people should know exactly what they want to do and where they want to work, but no one really knows, do they? Some people figure it out when they’re 10. Others figure it out when they’re 40. Some never do.
Not even the people who ask the question know what they want to do.

How can someone who has work experience in 4 different roles possibly know which one job out of a million out there, they want to do? Maybe I’ll get a job related to my degree, maybe I won’t. I don’t have a BALDY. And that’s okay.

Final years and graduates don’t HAVE to go straight into a job that they’ll be in for the next 30 years. We are under enough pressure without being made to feel that we have to have it out figured it out, as if trying to figure out how to Harvard reference isn’t hard enough.

We hear “What do you want to be when you grow up?” from primary school. Don’t you think it’s a bit weird that one of the first things you ask a 5 year old, is what their desired employment is? Like, of course they don’t know what they want to be besides a “princess”, “astronaut” or “Shakira”. I’ve wanted to be famous, an author (attempted to write MANY novels but could never make the plot last longer than 1 page), a musician (can’t sing), a model (HA imagine), a lawyer (realised it was gonna be a LOT of work) and here I am full circle back to Shakira. She has a lovely life, wouldn’t mind being her. Or J Lo. She’s the dream.

Anyway, if that’s all the phases and notions we go through when we’re growing up, why would that stop? I’m still getting older, still figuring out what I like and what I’m good at (I will find something yet, just you wait). And I don’t expect that to stop. What’s all the fuss about wanting to know what you want to do? Sure isn’t life more exciting when you haven’t a CLUE what you’re doing?

You might want to be an accountant (God knows why), but you might get a job as one and actually hate it. Maybe it’s the job, maybe it’s the city, maybe it’s your boss (probably the job though). The same job isn’t actually the same job. You don’t know anything til you’ve tried it, even when you have, come a different set of circumstances like a different company, you could be miserable. Back to the “I don’t know” stage. Welcome, have a seat x

I’m not doing a degree where there’s a clear-cut path at the end of it. IT, go into IT. Law, go into law. Medicine, be a doctor (after like 20 years of uni). I do communication, advertising and marketing. So I have a whole load of choice and variety, which seems like a good idea but I’m hella indecisive so it would’ve been nice to have a narrower idea. But the thing is, I didn’t choose this degree for a job. I chose it because it sounded interesting and I fancied actually ENJOYING the next 4 years. So, if I don’t get a job related to it but that I still love, that’s okay. I don’t care that I don’t know what I want to do, so why should anyone else?

“What do you want to be?” Happy is a valid answer. Healthy is a valid answer. “I don’t know” is a valid answer. And Shakira sure as hell is a valid answer.

Why Students Should Skip Uni

Not that you need a reason, do you?

Well lads, big day on the 12th of December – yes it marks a week since the glorious day that is my birthday, but less more importantly, it’s vote day. Yes “vote day” is the political term, I believe. But aye, they called a general election for some reason, which is really random because they’re never normally this time of year. “General election” doesn’t normally fall into my countdown to Christmas.

The 12th of December is also the second last day of uni – yepa.

What have the two got to do with each other? Well, you can’t vote in Armagh if you’re sitting in the Holylands, can you? Most people (hopefully) are registered to vote back in their local area (or “constituency” if you want to be fancy). But chances are, a lot of students won’t be back home on the 12th because they’re living elsewhere for uni.

I know, it’s tempting to just give it a miss and stay in your nice freezing student house rather than go back home to vote, but you really should consider it.

Yeah, you could always register to vote in your student house area but let’s be real, chances of that happening aren’t great, are they? “While lot of effort la.”

Cheesy cliché but you have a voice, so make it count. What other chance do you have to actually make a difference and help decide something? It’s like the one thing normal people can actually play a part in. We’re not trusted to make decisions and and have our thoughts and ideas listened to normally, so this is our yearly shot.

Before you say, “It doesn’t make a difference, it’s only one vote”. Well yes, but one vote times the thousands of people saying that slightly adds up now, doesn’t it?

Let’s not forget the lil 3-year nightmare we’ve been living in. If only more people had’ve voted, maybe things would’ve turned out differently, eh? Eh?

No harm, but you can’t complain about the results of the elections or about decisions that are made if you didn’t vote. True, we can’t do anything about what politicians decide, but we can do something about who gets to make those decisions.

Voting is especially important for students, because we’re the youngest. We have the longest to live with decisions that are made. There isn’t much representation for us young ‘uns, and what we want doesn’t always get much attention. Not voting gives the impression you don’t really care what happens and you trust those bloons in parliament to make the right choices. But if we vote, we can have our chance to show that we actually are important and do care what happens about our future.

Why do I vote?
Because it’s literally the one thing I can do to try to make a difference (apart from recycle). It’s the only control I have. I sign petitions, yes. I go to rallies, yes. But I mightn’t need to if the right people are making the best decisions for me.

I vote because I’m a girl. Because I can. Women couldn’t always vote. Women fought for years for the right to something men got granted onto them simply for having a Y chromosome. People protested, fought and worked for years, not so they could vote, but so we could. I don’t want that to be in vain.

So go home, be warm, number a few wee boxes and be satisfied that hey, you might have actually made a wee difference to the future, how rewarding.

“Please explain your absence in today’s lecture and tutorial.” “Sorry miss, was too busy changing the future.” Sounds kinda badass, doesn’t it?

I mean you could always go to uni then go home and vote because they’re open until like 10pm, but ure don’t pretend you weren’t looking an excuse to miss that lecture anyway.

Do it “for the CV”

Let’s start this on off with a wee joke, shall we?

How do you get a university student to do something?

– Tell them it’ll look good on their CV.

I really should be writing for Christmas crackers, what a waste of my gift.

Anyway, not much of a joke because 1) it wasn’t very funny and 2) it’s true. How many times have you done something, not because you really wanted to, but because “it looks good to have” or you “need something” on your CV?

The “CV” is that lil carrot of bait that teachers, lecturers, parents and employers dangle in front of students’ noses when they think we should or want us to do something. And it works. There’s no motivational tool like telling us it’ll help us get a job or make us look impressive to whoever we’re trying to impress, when we don’t even know who that is.

It’s sad, but we do a lot of things that we do and spend a lot of our lives trying to look impressive on a piece of paper. A piece of paper that defines us by 1) how “smart” we are and 2) what we’ve “achieved”. A piece of paper that potentially determines what we do for the rest of our lives.

So what have we “achieved”? Well what are we meant to have achieved? We have no idea what we’re meant to have accomplished at any stage of our lives. Who decides what we need to accomplish? And who says we have to accomplish anything?

We haven’t a BALDY what we want to do or what we’re meant to do, so we enter a panic mode and do things purely for the sake of doing them. Purely for the sake of having an extra bullet point on that list that determines how worthy we are of being considered for a job. No harm, but I doubt climbing a mountain and camping for 3 days is really gonna see me landed as a CEO like.

We’re told from we’re in school that we need to “stand out” and have that “edge” on other people. Other people like our peers, colleagues and friends. We’re pretty much told to view everyone else as competition. But like, what are we competing for?  We’re all different. We’re doing different things, we want to do different things and we want to work in different places. So why are we ‘competing’ with each other? Why are we supposedly measured by the same criteria?

We have to do something that hardly anyone else has done, because pretty much everyone’s done the same things. But, we’ve all done the same things because we’re all trying to stand out, and the only way we can stand out is by doing the same thing that everyone else has the option to do. So because everyone tries so hard to be different, we all end up being the same. Yeah, I’d to re-read that to make sure I followed it, too.

I think it’s great that we’ve loads of opportunities and chances to try different things and get experience, and we should give them a go and make use of them. We should be encouraged to do whatever we have to do so we can do whatever we want to do (even if we don’t know what that is). But, we should also be encouraged to have fun and live our best lives before we’re too old or committed to be able to. Like, yeah work experience is class and all, but we need life experience too.

There’s just a lot of pressure on young people to “get ahead” and “get experience”, when we don’t have a notion what we actually want to get ahead or experience in. So, we don’t really spend the time trying to figure it out, we just make use of all these “great opportunities” and hope we’ll have an epiphany along the way. Still waiting on my wee light bulb moment. Gonna come any day now, just you wait and see.

Every uni student ever

Now, I’m not saying we’re all robots who do things we don’t want to do just for make our CVs a bit snazzy. But, the reality is, we do a lot of things just to improve our chances of getting a job. Because we’re pretty much conditioned to think that getting a “good job” is one of the most important things in life. But, what is a “good” job? High pay? Holidays? Job satisfaction? Casual Fridays?

We decide. We get to make that judgement on whether a job is “good” for us or not. So, why don’t we get to decide what experience is “good” for us to do? “Good” means something different to everyone, so why does it mean the same thing when it comes to a CV?

Yeah, you get judged off what you’re like; your personality, your likeability and how you’d “fit” into whatever you’re trying to fit into. But, before you even get a chance to be judged on what YOU are like, you’re judged off what that piece of paper is like. It’s a bit like online dating, you’re not gonna swipe right or meet up with someone who’s got a really cringey bio, are you? They could be an absolute geg and maybe even your soulmate, but you’ll never know because you wrote them off based on “6ft 2. Here for a good time not a long time ✌️”. That’s us, judged on whether or not we’re an employer’s “type on paper”. Literally. How shallow, pffft.   

So, no wonder we spend so much time and effort doing things not just for ourselves, but for a piece of paper, too. Because, we’ve spent most our lives believing that we’re not much more than that piece of paper.

Digital Detox

This weekend, I decided to do a wee ‘digital detox’ and take a break from social media. I had a bad day on Friday and was in STINKIN form (sorry Niamh and Amber), so I just felt like I needed to take a couple of days to myself and clear my head. Instead of looking at what everyone was having for breakfast or was doing with their day, I just wanted to focus on what I was having for breakfast, and what I was doing with my day.

The thing is, a lot of the time I’m on social media, it’s purely for the sake of it. It’s not because I particularly want to be, it’s just a wee distraction while I’m waiting on the microwave or when the ads come on. That’s why we go on social media, because we’re bored and want something to look at; we want a distraction but don’t want to have to distract ourselves. We pretty much rely on other people for entertainment when our lives aren’t entertaining enough.

It’s nothing new like, but people these days (yeah, not just us young ones) are pretty much addicted to our phones. We refresh our feeds to see what’s “new”, and if anything’s happened since we last checked 10 minutes ago. And then get a wee bit disappointed when there’s nothing to look at, like or reply to. It’s like we have this constant need to see what everyone else is doing, and show everyone what we’re doing. Or eating. Or watching. We’re obsessed. It’s almost like some sort of self-validation. Our lives aren’t enough for us, and we’re not satisfied or fulfilled by what we’re doing until we see what other people are.

That’s the thing, it’s about other people. We want to see what they’re up to and have a wee jook at what their lives are like. And then, we compare them to our own. And that’s a problem with social media, the constant comparisons. They can make you feel better about yourself, or a hell of a lot worse. We might be happy enough doing what we’re doing, eating what we’re eating, wearing what we’re wearing, but then as soon as we see someone else is doing it ‘better’, we’re not that happy anymore.

We give him a run for his money

It can be something as simple as dinner. Someone’s getting a Chinese and now you’re a bit melted because you want one but are stuck with pasta, AGAIN. Maybe other people are going out but you’re in bed, and then you think that you really should be going out but you’re not, so you must be a bore. And there’s nothing, NOTHIN like the panic you feel when you see one of your classmates has submitted their assignment and you haven’t even started yet. Help.

So, I thought “to hell with it, ya gal needs a break”.

Have I noticed anything since my detox? Well, the sky is bluer. The air is fresher. I can smell flowers. Birds are chirping. Children laugh in the distance. I am at peace.

I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the outside world or other people’s lives. And you know what? I don’t need to. I don’t care. No one knows what I’ve been doing. They don’t they need to. And they probably don’t care. Although my private stories are a GEG so I know people did miss me.

So, what did I do with all this free time that I’d usually spend on my phone you ask? I stared at the walls in my room. There are 459 bricks on next door’s extension. Nah. I didn’t do anything, because I was already doing other things. I went for wee danders, met friends for coffee, did shopping, did uni work (and ACTUALLY got stuff done?? Class), and watched First Dates Hotel. What a show.

me

So there was no real time that I needed to be on my phone. Well, I did to arrange meeting up with my friends like, but I did it retro-style and used TEXT. Yeah, people do still do that. To be fair, I did go online a few times (I’m a fraud, I know) to listen to music, check the weather (rain again, SHOCK) and check the Celtic score. Although I really wish I didn’t. The world’s revenge for me going online I guess.

But I didn’t go on social media. And I didn’t need or want to. So I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss seeing selfies, coffee art or food. I didn’t miss seeing how people were at the gym, how drunk they were getting on Saturday and how much they were dying on Sunday. My thumbs weren’t twitching from lack of double tapping or scrolling, I didn’t get cabin fever and I didn’t start talking to inanimate objects. So, it was an overall success I’d say.

What about when the ads on iplayer came on? What I did do with all that free time? How did I distract myself from the marketing traps in front of me? Well, first set: made a cup of tea. Second set: washed my cup. Third set: Get this, I just watched the ads. *Gasp* That’s right, I watched them. Well, it was more ‘saw’ than ‘watched’ because I didn’t really pay attention like. But yeah, there actually are other things to do than sit on your phone when ads are on. Wild like. 

It was a short detox, but that’s all I needed. And sure, people only stick at those weird tea detoxes for like a day anyway so I didn’t do too bad like. I just needed a few wee days to myself. I was still busy, I still went out and I still met friends. I didn’t miss out on anything and it actually did help me clear my head. PLUS, did you know that I got uni work done? Unreal. Go me.

Now, I’m not trying to be condescending and tell everyone they should boycott social media and “live in the moment, man”. Because social media isn’t a bad thing. You can talk to your friends, stalk your exes and just have a wee nosey at what other people are doing. You can see where’s nice to go for coffee, or get dinner inspo. And that’s fine. It’s a good wee distraction for when we need one and it can give us a few minutes to just take a break from our lives. I just needed to focus on mine and take a break from other people’s.

So, yes, use social media, but make sure you give it all a rest as well. Just to take a wee bit of time for yourself and forget about everything else. We spend so much time focusing on what other people are doing, when we really should be focusing on ourselves.

The Rise of the Millennial

Millennials: we’re the generation of avocados, fancy coffee and brunch. We’re also the generation of being blamed for pretty much any issue in society. Lucky us!!!

There’s constantly reports and headlines online about how millennials are ruining the economy (oh, the IRONY) because we’re spending all of our money on frivolous things and going out. We’re not saving. We’re not ‘contributing to society’. We’re not buying houses or diamonds (even though there’s a 5000% mark up and it’s not the most ethical industry @blood diamonds). And we aren’t buying those fancy cloth hankies (yes, apparently we’re killing that industry too). Basically, we’re not “investing our money”.

But we are. We’re investing it in ourselves. We’re paying like £4,000-9,000 a year for a uni degree which we then spend decades paying off and can’t get a job with anyway. That’s an investment. We spend our money socialising, to keep strong emotional connections and improve our mental health. That’s an investment.  We’re paying a bomb for gym memberships, dance and yoga classes (which we never go to, but the option’s there) to keep ourselves physically healthy so we’re around for longer. That’s an investment. We spend our money on things that make us happy, to help us have a better quality of life. That’s an, you’ve guessed it, i n v e s t m e n t.

Apparently we’re not buying enough houses. And we all know the housing market is a GREAT one, it’s never collapsed and there definitely isn’t a housing crisis on at the minute anywhere. Sounds very secure and low-risk. And sure, why get a house if you don’t know where you’re going to live?

Thanks to there being like 0 jobs and a lil disaster called Brexit (THANKS for that, by the way), we have no idea where we’re going to settle. We can put our foot on a plane and travel around the world in search of a job or a nicer place to live; and having no houses, mortgages, families or commitments tying us down means there’s nothing really stopping us. Apart from VISAs and emigration laws of course, but you get the picture.

We aren’t saving our money, but what would we be saving for? Let’s be real here, the planet is literally dying and thanks to past generations completely murdering it, we have no idea how long it – and we, will be around for. Like my granda always said, “You can’t take it with you, there’s no point being the richest in the graveyard.” Wouldn’t you be raging if you spent your life saving and deliberately not buying things you wanted, and then the planet kicked the bucket before you’d a chance to spend it?

Let’s be optimists and say that we are going to be around for like 100 more years. Being realistic, the retirement age is probably going to be around 75 for us, so we’ve loads of time (in theory) to make more money. Is that £7 brunch really going to affect my financial situation so much that there is no chance in hell that I can earn it back in the future? That’s literally an hour’s wage, so unless I never work another hour in my life, I think I got this one covered.

Plus, a very important lil note. It’s our money. We earned it, and we spend it. We can do whatever we want with it, and it’s nobody’s business.

All the focus seems to be on millennials ‘destroying’ current industries, but what about the new ones we’re creating and supporting? Vegan products, those weird stick on handles for the back of your phone, Dragon Soop and succulents – how are they any less important than cloth hankies?? Other generations aren’t supporting these industries as much as us, so why is no one saying “baby boomers are trying to destroy the avocado industry”? We aren’t ‘ruining’ the economy, we’re simply changing it. Lifestyles have changed, needs have changed, money has changed – and the economy should reflect that.

Millennials:  we’re a “live in the moment” kind of generation – and we spend accordingly; because thanks to previous generations, we’ve no idea how many moments we’re going to have.

Week 0

Well lads, I’m back without popular demand.

I took a wee 6 month break from blogging which I’m sure you noticed. To be honest, I was just flat out doing other things. I had placement, a placement report *shudders*, holidays, starting a new job, getting a new house and Money Heist to watch; but I’m back (yay). I was writing down wee blog ideas on my phone as I came up with them, just never made it much further @comittment issues. But, since I had my uni induction this week, I thought it just made sense to get back into the swing of things again now.

So on Tuesday I had my final year induction. I went because well 1) I’m paying 4 and half grand a year for uni so I’m determined to get my money’s worth and 2) it’s been like 18 months since I’ve been in uni so I needed a wee refresher course on what it actually is. Plus, I wanted to go for coffee with uni friends after (to reward ourselves for that one hour of actually thinking).

How did it go? Well, remember my previous blog post ‘Reasons I’m Excited for Final Year’ ? This induction was more like ‘Reasons I’m Scared of Final Year’. Firstly, I completely forgot the most terrifying thing about uni – the roll call. Deadly. Voice broke, knew it would. Not the best impression of me after not seeing me for over a year- that girl who talks like terminator.

Also, dissertation? Yeah that wee gem. We were told we have to submit a wee proposal of what we want to do it on by week 2. As in, 2 weeks from now. Not going to lie lads, I thought that was like Christmas-time carry on, but no. But it’s okay, I’ve got a page and just written down a lot of random words of stuff I’m interested in and I just know that I’ll have an epiphany. I can just sense it.

Apart from that it was actually grand like, it was just going over the timetable and modules etc, and of course having a wee nosey at who all came back to uni.

But, all scary biscuits aside, I’m still excited for the year ahead. This is going to be my year. But like, for real this time. I’m in a lovely wee student house with two amazing girls (although one of our neighbours stole our food bin?? Still not over it), I’m doing a job that I really, really like and I have a fresh set of coloured pens just waiting to be taken out on a spin. I am gonna need to practice writing neatly again because I’m a bit out of practise after mostly typing for a year, but I’ll get there. So yeah, I had my fab post-placement summer and now I’m ready to getmy head down and have a wee go at this final year thing.

I’m also planning to keep blogging during the year because I do really enjoy it and missed doing it; but sure, as my ma always says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Placement: Recap and Advice

So, here I am in my FINAL two weeks of placement. Scary biscuits. It’s mad to think it was a year ago when I first bounced in the door not having a notion what I was doing and discovered my love for blazers. This is just a wee summary of my placement experience, which may or may not be of any use to people preparing to go on theirs. You’re welcome in advance.

I’ve done 9-5 days in retail and worked since I was 16, so I thought I sort of knew what the 8 hour day and working life would be like. Yeah I THOUGHT. I was so used to running about on my feet and being hands-on all day, so sitting down facing a screen and phone was a massive change for me. I’m glad I don’t have a fitbit because seeing I’ve only done 53 steps all day would be pretty depressing like. It does take some getting used to, I remember thinking “I’ll be less tired because I’ll be sitting all day” – oh honey, no.

Anyway, my placement hasn’t been what I thought it’d be like, because to be honest I hadn’t a clue what it’d be like. I had no expectations to meet. Which was good, because it meant I wasn’t disappointed or panicking about how good or bad I’d be at my job before I even knew what it was. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time trying to predict what I’d be doing because I would’ve been COMPLETELY wrong (for the first time in my life) – and sure who doesn’t love a wee surprise?

To be honest it’s probably a better thing that I didn’t know, because if I had’ve known that this is what I’d be doing, I wouldn’t have done it. Because I never thought I’d be able to. So, don’t try to predict how good (or bad) you’ll be at whatever it is you think you’ll be doing, because you won’t have a clue until you actually do it. Plus, do you really want to risk that self-fulfilling prophecy? Didn’t think so.

Even though I wasn’t at uni, I still learned a lot in my year out; a lot about the advertising industry, sales, customer service and working life. But I learned a lot about myself too. I learned what I could do, what I was capable (and incapable) of; I learned what I was good at and where my skills were, and I learned my limits – who knew I had any? I also learned a lot about what was actually going on in the world because I read like 3 newspapers a day. Like I was HELLA informed on the goings on in the world. And I got to compare 3 different horoscopes and choose which one I wanted to believe. Ha.

I met so many amazing people and made some really good friends this year, and I genuinely don’t know if I could’ve done the job I did in a different company. Everyone was friendly and said “hi” when they walked past, even though they clearly hadn’t a notion who I was. They’d make small talk when making lunch in the wee kitchen and then make a jokey comment when their soup exploded in the microwave. It was those extra 15 seconds, Dave, shouldn’t have done it.

Luckily, I got on well with my colleagues and we had such a GEG together. We exchanged conspiracy theories, had wee debates and discussed what we were having for dinner a LOT. They helped keep me sane, and were such a good support network for me. I was constantly asking questions and looking advice, and they were always more than helpful and gave me lil hints and tricks. At the end of the day, they were new once too. So don’t be afraid to ask questions or feel like you’re bothering people, because chances are they asked the exact same ones when they started. What makes you look worse, asking someone how to do something or doing it completely wrong and having to get them to fix it?

I was also really lucky that I had managers I felt I could go to if I was struggling, and who had more realistic expectations of me than I did. I constantly compared myself to my colleagues who had been doing the job for several years, because I had no else to compare myself to. There was no other placement student. I should’ve compared myself to who I was when I first started to see how far I’d come and how much I’d learned, but I didn’t.

So take my advice, compare yourself and how you’re doing to yourself at the start of your placement. Are you the best? Maybe not. But are you better than you were? Hell yeah. Don’t – and I mean DON’T – compare yourself to other people. Placement’s a learning experience, not a competition. You’re not on the apprentice, love.

Well I’m not going to lie lads, I was a bit of a yo-yo this year. I had my fair share of highs and lows and a few little “episodes”. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough at times, but that’s life. No matter what you do or where you do it, you have bad days. *Cue Hannah Montana* Work is hard. But obviously it’s hard – why would someone with no experience going into a full-time and proper adulty job be easy? Like my granda always said “hard work isn’t easy, and easy work’s hard to find”, you’re a wise man, Matt.

I’m not trying to scare anyone like, I’m just being honest. There’s no point in me saying it was all rainbows and fairies and easy coasting. It’s important to admit that I found it tough at times.
My problem was that I didn’t and kept acting like I was fine because everyone else seemed to be fine. I was like a wee duck paddling along, looking all calm above the water, but flailing like mad underneath. But we’re all ducks. Everyone’s pretending they’re fine because everyone else is pretending they’re fine. It’s a vicious duck cycle.

This is just MY experience though, some people mightn’t have a single bad day on placement. Good for them. Everyone’s in a different job, in a different company and with different coping abilities. So obviously no two placement experiences are going to be the same.

My most important advice is make sure you ENJOY your year. I don’t mean your placement, because that’s work. Ew. But your actual year. Go out for dinner, drinks and coffee or go to the gym if you’re one of those people that actually enjoys it. Weirdos. Don’t let your placement year just be about your placement. Also make sure you bring in buns on your birthday, people get REALLY annoyed when you don’t (@ Benny, we’re still waiting).

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.