100 minds is back and bigger than ever. Some of Ireland’s best and brightest students superseded their target of raising €100,000 for Temple Street in 2013.
This year the 100minds team are setting their sights higher with an aim of €150,000 in aid of Blossom Ireland and Barnardos. And you could apply to be one of the awesome undergards who takes on the challenge this year.
Aside from the fact that you’ll be raising money for some very worthy causes, 100minds is also a platform for you to gain new skills in project management and implementing an idea. You will get plenty of support along the way as each student is assigned a mentor – who are all recent graduates working in the world’s top companies like Twitter, Google, and KPMG.
Each participant will also be able to track their progress with an online profile page on the 100minds website, which will also allow you to blog about your experience. Pretty nifty.
The 100minds initiative is something that will look great on your CV, but need some more inspiration? Check out this video from last year’s participants:
What are you waiting for? Apply now!
This is it. I'm leaving my security blanket of my native land and going to the unknown. By this I mean moving from Sligo to Dublin - a forever away... or two and a half hours approximately, whichever way you want to view it. Hyberbole from a teenager? Surely not.
Sligo, the place I've lived for all of my 19 years, the place I know so well; too well, I can't say the thought of moving away hasn't enthralled me for a few moons now... But now that it is indeed a reality, a mere week from this moment I will be flung into the concrete jungle. I'm starting to feel unsure. It is most definitely the child in me coming out, sure it's so easy to plan and say I'm grown up, I'm mature I can't wait to live on my own etc. (Feel free to interchange your own musings) when you're living in luxury being waited on hand and foot by Mum and Dad. But when you have to be assertive and act your age, there is always trembling. Your bottom lip starting to shake when trying to grasp the enormity of it all. AGH!
I'm moving to the “Big Bad City” from a small seaside town where everything is comfortable - important note: view of Dublin subject to change depending on mood. The thing is, I am so excited to move. I am about to start a course that excites every nerve in my body that is the groundwork for a dream career. For any person in and around my age, to be let loose in a city getting up to mischief and having a laugh for the next three or four years and coming out with a degree of some sort – sounds alright, doesn't it?
I am the epitome of the optimist, I am wide-eyed and curious and get excited at any murmur of adventure. I will jump into situations feet first, no air of despair or doubt. So, imagine how alien it is for me to have found myself stalling at the thoughts of moving. I have felt every emotion under the sun, and found myself overwhelmed and anxious out of the blue. For the first time ever, I've looked at a situation and grasped mainly negative outcomes. Things like, I'm moving up by myself, what if I feel lonely? What if something happens?
What if I don't settle in? What if I find it hard to make friends? Among other countless “what if's”. I know I'm not alone in going through this plethora of mixed emotions and feeling as though your life is all over the place instead of coming together. I also know that adults, grown-ups, those people that have their lives together seemingly, also go through this, whether it's through a promotion, relocation, whatever.
All I can say however is that these feelings will pass and all these possible hypotheses that your brain conjures up are nothing but noise. Noise that can be tuned out. I'm not saying ignore your feelings and act as though you are fine. Freak out all you want! Talk to anyone and everyone about it. I've discussed this with my friends who are all in similar situations and feel all the emotions, and recognise them.
But life is what you make it. If you focus only on negative outcomes that is what you will result in. College life is the best part of anyone's life, and everyone is in the same situation - so relax. Thinking back now to what I was scared of seems absolutely absurd.
Last week I passed a group of secondary students on their way home from school, and it hit me for the first time that I'll never be back in a uniform for the rest of my life. Imagine that! No itchy jumpers, ugly skirts or shapeless tops. I felt ancient. I actually felt as though I had matured so much, and I had experienced so much in the time since I had finished school, it was almost bittersweet. However, I did graduate in 2013! The goals and possible fears I would have now, in contrast to that of a secondary school pupil are oceans apart.
Now they might consist of gaining work experience relevant to my chosen course, networking and such whereas, fears might be the thoughts of having to set up standing orders in banks and general “adulty” issues. Compare that to a teenager's goals and/or fears and they might consist of the possibility of them obtaining or failing to obtain “the shift” at a disco. It's hilarious isn't it?
So here we are, college freshers, in limbo of sorts. Mature compared to a teenager, yet idiotic compared to an adult. I mean legally we're adults, there's nothing we're too young to do, except drive on a company car or a vintage car, but you know, we can overlook that. They're not too high on the list of priorities just yet. I think we are at the stage of being able to get away with doing silly things all in the name of fun, only just. I think it's ok to retain the sense of mischief as long as you can back it up by knowing how to do grown-up things like use a washing machine. Or change a light bulb – so impressive.
So here it goes, moving out of my family home and into a rented property with strangers. When I think of all the fun I had with friends as a teenager, and that was with curfews and strict parents – this college craic should be a doddle. Farewell adolescence, you were fun while you lasted and hello college life and eventual adulthood. I can't wait.
The Union of Students Ireland are holding a rally on October 8th, in Dublin City Centre. Assembling at 11.30am at the Garden of Remembrance, the rally will take place a week before Budget 2015 in an effort to highlight the needs of higher education students and the USI’s vision of free and accessible education.
USI are also encouraging people to share what education means to them with the #EducationIs on social media. With the cost of living for students increasing all the time and the struggle for student accommodation, students need to make to have their voices heard.
USI have a really handy toolkit to get involved in the campaign and you can download it here.
You can join the conversation by downloading your own poster here.
Waterford Comhairle na nÓg recently launched their #WhatIsBeauty Campaign. The campaign looks at the Body Image pressures that young people face growing up today. The campaign consists of three themed videos, posters and an activity sheet - which, when used together, acts as a resource pack for SPHE teachers and Youth Workers.
Young people who attended the Comhairle's AGM last October asked the Comhairle to tackle Body Image for 2014 and they have done just that. Comhairle members have spent the last nine months planning and developing the #whatIsBeauty campaign.
The three videos are: "What is beauty", "Dear my past self" and "To my younger self". The videos tackle issues such as low self-esteem, manufactured beauty, loneliness, hair & makeup, relationships and the cost of it all.
Part of the campaign is the anagram of the word "Beauty": Brave, Extraordinary, Accepting, Unique, True to yourself and You. All the resources from the #whatIsBeauty campaign are available online at www.waterfordcomhairle.org.
"I found this project to be really interesting to work on, and after months of changing ideas, planning filming and editing, I am really proud of these videos and the work the Comhairle has done on them during the year!" said Rosie Hartley, member of Waterford Comhairle na nÓg.
Kevin Crotty, a Comhairle member who just received his junior certificate results yesterday said: "For me, it was really cool to work on something that I know will be used to help young people learn about body image and how to combat the pressures that come with it, especially at my age. I hope the campaign helps young people feel better about themselves."
When researching Body Image and for ideas on what to do, the Comhairle referred to the Dáil na nÓg Council's "How we see it" report published in 2012. The report surveyed over 2,000 young people across Ireland. Recommendations in the report included developing an awareness campaign focused on body image and asked for body image to be taught more in schools.
This year's Culture Night looks like it'll be bigger and better than ever. There are heaps of new venues on board to host events with a wide range of events from free tours, workshops to movie screenings. If you're not familiar with Culture Night, it's basically one night a year where arts and cultural organisations stay open later and hold events for free. It's aim is to enocurage people to go and experience the culture in your area and try something new! We've rounded up what we like below but you can get the whole programmes for the night here.
Dublin - TOG
TOG on Chancery Lane is a hub for hacker and maker culture in Dublin. Over the evening visitors can enjoy tours of the space showing off past projects and take part in micro workshops to get people started in hacking their own world better.
Dublin - The Complex at Smithfield Square
Smithfield Square will be turned into a drive in movie theatre for Culture Night with two free movies shown - ‘The Mission’ at 7.30pm and ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane’ at 10pm.
Cork - City Hall Atrium
Within the atrium of City Hall Daragh Wilkins, Crawford College Art and Design Graduate, will spend the week leading into Culture Night installing a large temporary floor sculpture created out of raw pigment and other materials that will fade away over the course of Culture Night. The creation of this installation can be watched live on www.corkcity.ie/tv
Kerry - KYDS in Tralee, ‘KDYS Live Band Project: Young Songwriters Showcase’
The KDYS Young Songwriters Showcase is an opportunity for young singer/songwriters to perform their own compositions in front of their peers. It’s a platform for talented artists paying original music. 8pm-10pm
Kikenny - The Scenes
TheTown Hall will be rocking out from 6pm on Culture Night – definitely ones to watch.
Take a look at this Culture Night preview:
Dublin - The Italian Quarter
The Italian Quarter will captivate Culture Night visitors in a scenographic reproduction of the 1400s. There will be street games, paintings, music and dances, meat sticks, and renaissance bread all day long in the various stands in the small square. Performances by the Dublin Circus Project and an international street artist painting his own Last Supper live.
Dublin - Surprise Le Cool Experience
This walking tour stands apart from others taking place on Culture Night because participants only find out on the night where exactly they will be visiting. As with all Le Cool activities it will incorporate elements of the city, which have become staples of Le Cool content such as pop-ups, new collectives and initiatives, which are ‘of the moment’ living culture experiences.
Dublin - Windmill Lane Recording Studios
This world famous recording studio, synonymous with U2, Windmill Lane has also hosted some of the biggest selling recording artists such as The Rolling Stones, ACDC, Spice Girls and recently Lady Gaga. Visitors on Culture Night can sit in on a special live performance with an exciting Irish band, Relish.
Cork - L.É. Roísín
In Cork, participants can experience what life on board an Irish Navel Services’ vessel is like. The L.É. Roísín will be docked in Cork City and open to the public for Culture Night.
Galway - Night of the Robots at the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway
Exhibits include a large robotic arm controlled by a Galway-made DEC computer that was used in the British aeronautics industry during this period; volunteers at the museum will also demonstrate the workings of low-cost easily assembled robots that can be programmed and operated by children from small computers; Diarmuid Keaney, who as a young boy in 1985 made his own and probably Galway’s first computer controlled robot, will show off the original Commodore Vic 20 home computer and BASIC language programme that he used to operate the device. Also on view will be an exhibition of rare science fiction comics and literature on the themes of robots some dating to the 1920s.
As the evenings grow shorter, and dare I say it, the weather gets wetter. Sunset evening strolls may have to become replaced by movie marathons on the couch, as the rain clatters against the adjacent windows. But instead of fighting over viewing choices this autumn, allow me to offer some food for thought, in terms of motion picture choices!
10. Charade (1963)
A film often regarded as the greatest Hitchcock film that he actually never made. However, one could hardly blame anybody for making such an error. Stanley Donen’s comedic thriller shares many a similarity with the work of said director; a series of mistaken identities, the iconic leading lady and of course, the presence of North by Northwest (1959) luminary Cary Grant. Many casual film fans are deterred by the prospect of viewing a motion picture which is over 50 years old; a concept which has always befuddled me. The story and subsequent pacing in this tale are impeccable and would easily put the majority of the big budget blockbusters of modern times to unmerciful shame. Its primary cause for inclusion on this list is the fantastic rapport between Audrey Hepburn and Grant. The two, despite being megastars of the day, have more chemistry than a chunky science book. All too often films are weighed down by a stellar cast, causing the overall product to be clunky and too self aware. Luckily, this isn’t the case here. So for those who sit at home, with a canvas print of starlet Ms. Hepburn on a bedroom wall, but cannot attest to viewing any of her movies, let me assure you this is a fitting place to start.
9. Closer (2004)
The next instalment in our mutually pleasing list of cinematic romance is drama Closer (2004) starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. Invariably, the themes of infidelity may not be the most comfortable for young couples to acknowledge, yet this remains necessary viewing. The acting is so irreproachable; one cannot help but be engrossed. Also, Damien Rice’s iconic track The Blower’s Daughter features prominently, adding to its appeal to the Irish audience.
8. The Girl Next Door (2004)
Speaking of memorable movie music, this next entry on our list comes with a soundtrack to rival any compilation. Featuring the exploits of talented musicians such as David Gray and The Who, let me assure you, once you’ve seen and heard it, you will always remember this teen comedy. Despite being met with mere mixed reviews upon release, this flick is right up there with genre classics such as American Pie (1999) and Superbad (2007). Infusing an appropriate amount of wit, humour and heart with an array of likeable characters, this picture really does have something for everybody. If you can get past the obvious crude themes, the juice is most definitely worth the squeeze.
7. Tell No One (2006)
Perhaps one for the hipsters among us! The first and only non-English language film to feature on this list, but for those of you who feel apprehensive at the prospect of reading subtitles, I wholeheartedly feel a single viewing of this Luc Beeson production will totally alter your perspective. Essentially a romance at heart, this French thriller is as pulsating as many of the offerings from Hollywood’s elite catalogue. There was much hype regarding a remake last year, which has seemingly fallen by the wayside. To remake this triumph would be beyond unnecessary, but don’t take my word for it.
6. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
You will most likely remember this fun and quirky film for bringing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s career to the fore. Much like Juno (2007), this indie style piece somewhat made a subgenre and culture more accessible, as it steadily creeps further and further into mainstream spotlight. What made this sleeper hit so increasingly popular among today’s audiences, was its ballsy yet retrained overhaul of a hackneyed theme. Its subtle criticism on modern relationship dynamics is quite eye opening. Also, not unlike Hepburn and Grant in Charade, the enviable onscreen chemistry between the male protagonist and Zooey Deschanel is the real show stealer.
5. Blue Valentine (2010)
The Weinstein Company
Much to the contrary of popular female belief, not everything Ryan Gosling touches turns to gold. Of course, I am speaking in the cinematic sense! Many old romantics would argue The Notebook (2004) is the best way to spend a Saturday night viewing, but in reality the vast majority of males (myself included) loathe the typical tearjerker. Despite being a very one dimensional performer, Gosling has turned in some very admirable displays. The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), Drive (2011) and this will certainly bear witness to my point. Like (500) Days of Summer, this picture employs a nonlinear narrative to display the alterations in relationship dynamics as time, and indeed life, unfolds. Also, Derek Cianfrance’s colour scheme is incredibly lush amd brings a refreshingly alterative dynamic.
4. Like Crazy (2011)
Definitely the most applicable to the young people of today as its relevancy transcends the face value of the film, which is of adolescent love and its subsequent yet inevitable obstacles. The film features impromptu dialogue, adding naturalism which enables the viewer to become suspended in the realm created. Also, one can easily appreciate the modern day significance of the dominant theme of emigration. This Drake Doremus work pulls no punches, pulls back the curtain on the supposed idealism of young love- a rarity in popular modern cinema.
3. Ruby Sparks (2012)
Enigmatic redhead Paul Dano appears for the second time on this list. This tale led by the young Prisoners (2013) star, focuses on a budding author who wills the girl of his dreams into reality. Moreover, it concentrates on the overemphasised cliché that ‘nobody is perfect’, yet counteracts this with an exacerbation of the often unrecognised notion that despite the former, there are those who are perfect for each other. However, what I most enjoyed about this entry is the casting of Dano as the lead; certainly an atypical choice for a role which had it been allocated elsewhere, may have lost a great deal of credibility.
2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
There isn’t a great deal that can be said about this movie that has yet to be mentioned. A pure master class by all involved, highlighting the positives of existence, even when the chips are supposedly down. In my opinion, the fondest feature of this film is the positive yet realistic way in which it tackles the issues surrounding mental health, quite reminiscent of the uplifting tone rendered by another coming-of-age film It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010).
1. Don Jon (2013)
Certainly one of the best cinematic outings of 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut came somewhat as a surprise. Not because it was any good, but rather as it carried a great deal more depth than any of us initially anticipated. From the outset, it appeared a mediocre pro-bro comedy at best, which seemingly glorified pornography. But instead it used the concept of adult entertainment as a counteraction to female idealisations of on-screen romance. Both concepts are as artificial as the other, albeit one is far more frowned upon than the other. Also, for the first time in such a commercially popular piece of romantic cinema, is the male character depicted as the hero and the female somewhat as the villain. Also, Scarlett Johansson’s performance here is particularly underrated; in my opinion her best role to date.
I wanted to write an article about feminism and about being a feminist in today’s society and I tried, repeatedly, but found it really difficult for a variety of reasons. At best, I had so much in me that I wanted to say about feminism, to tell people that it was a movement, first and foremost that advocated equal rights, and that although women’s rights in many areas of the world have improved dramatically, there are still places where women are second class citizens. I wanted to mention everything, Beyonce, the priceless, foul-mouthed book, How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and outline a bombardment of statistics. I wanted the article to be relatable and funny as opposed to lecturing aggressively which is useless and isolating.
At worst I was worried about the reaction from my friends and not to forget the cruel internet trolls. Feminist. I could imagine the flaming reviews before I had even started typing. Then it struck me that I was afraid to say it, that I am a feminist. I was afraid because although the majority of women expect to have equal rights, some young people today see feminists as archaic, man-hating, she-lions and consequently openly ridicule them. One year ago, I was aware that many people weren't feminists. Naturally it would be both ludicrous and unhelpful if everyone agreed on everything; however, I was quite unaware to the extent to which some people hated feminists.
I was verbally attacked for being a feminist a year ago. I was sitting around with a group of girls when the subject arose and I admitted, rather hesitantly, that I was a feminist. My best friends rolled their eyes indulgently; they had heard it before and accepted my ‘little idiosyncrasy’. One or two of the girls nodded, confirming that yeah, I suppose being a feminist was not the end of the world. The majority of the girls reacted impassively; women have votes and equal rights.
We love guys, Zac Efron, duh! It just didn't really concern them. One girl, who I had been acquainted with for the previous five years, transformed from a friendly peer into someone who was simply scathing of my admittance. She displayed absolute disgust at the idea and her aggressive unwillingness to even listen to my opinion, surprised and upset me. I was paralysed by her vicious reaction and unable to say much to defend myself.
And thus began my extreme unwillingness to admit this secret to the world, this deadly flaw of character; feminism. If I could speak now to that girl (who is usually lovely by the way) who reacted so strongly against feminism, I might say that at its most basic, feminism is about equal rights for women, who historically have been the more oppressed gender. I might reference some injustices at the highest echelons of society, such as the fact that women hold only 19% of the world’s parliamentary seats, that they complete 66% of the world’s work, earn 10% of the total income and own 1% of the property. But more importantly, in everyday life that affects you and I; we are far more likely to get paid less than men for doing the same job, have a much higher chance of falling victim to sexual assault and every week, in the UK, two women are killed by a current or former male partner. At this point most people will begin to argue, how do you know? It must be wrong?
Unfortunately it’s not. The British government even supplied a helpful page about it. These are the facts. Feminism is the hundreds of men and women who work in charities across the UK helping these victims. Dramatic as it sounds, feminists work to save people’s lives. Girls make up 70% of the children out of school and organisations like Girl Effect work to rectify this and follow the ethos that girls are the most powerful force for change on the planet.
Politicians and economists continue to research the potential gain of investing in girls, economically, politically and environmentally. Then I imagine life if there had never been feminists, if there had never been women brave enough to say it and work on behalf of women’s rights. The right to marry whom and when I choose, the right to divorce and contraception, the right to attend school and university, the right to vote, work and own property. The right to drive.
These were rights gifted to us by feminists; try to imagine life without them. If still you are not convinced that feminism is an ideology you agree with, that’s fine. But if you could refrain from victimising young feminists who do, that would be great. Lastly, feminism is not something tangible; it’s not the same as a bloody brick wall! It is a process and dialogue, that everyone can take participate in. We, as young men and women, are what describe feminism; we define what the movement is through conversation and decide whether or not this process will be good for girls.
I’m one of the few people my age that I know of who just hasn’t been able to make a relationship work for any longer than a couple of months. There are many reasons for this. For some, the blame firmly lies with me, others have seen me royally screwed over but I had always been able to get back on the saddle and chalk it down to experience.
I had gotten myself into a space where I was riding the crest of a wave a little bit. My career was progressing well and I had really acclimatised to living the City life, being a man about town and generally always having people to socialize with. Little did I know that a monumental fall from grace was just around the corner.
My last job saw me work very closely with the person I ended up falling for. It was most definitely something that I had repressed repeatedly over the course of the previous months, usually subconsciously and in hindsight it was all to do with protecting what had become a very close friendship, in what was a fairly high-stress environment. I had everything sussed in my head. It made perfect sense to me that we would end up together and nothing was going to convince me otherwise.
We’ve all seen endless films on how these things are supposed to go. Your stereotypical romantic comedy sees the heartbroken one recover as six months passes in the space of 10 minutes. Life, on the other hand, doesn’t allow you to choose the moment that you realize everything that had built up over previous months. It doesn’t allow you to choose the person either. As a matter of fact, there’s very little that you can control. Fundamentally, I had to learn the hard way that there is no way under the sun of controlling how the person you adore will react.
To have the person that you have emotionally invested so much in treat your feelings with disdain is the bitterest pill to swallow. Not to say that I blame her for not feeling the same way, as a matter of fact, I thought a lot about that old quote from Wuthering Heights with Catherine on her deathbed telling Heathcliff –
Not to say either that my broken heart had a profound effect on her. I think she misses the friendship to an extent but the point I’m trying to make is that my feelings are my own, just as her feelings are her own and my broken heart is much more to do with me than it is to do with her. I just wish she hadn’t done so by text message.
Unrequited love is without a shadow of a doubt, the worst thing that I have ever been through. I vividly remember the day I came back home and essentially had to be ‘mammied’ for a week. I didn’t want to eat, I took sleeping tablets, I thought about how I would throw away all of my career progression just to be with her and I have never cried so much in my life. Then when I thought I was out of the woods, full-on emotional attacks would hit me.
All of this was unprecedented for me. So too has been the recovery process. I removed myself from all social media for a solid month so as to stop tormenting myself. I was fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with close friends and my mother, the only person who seemed to really understand what I was going through, may very well have saved my life as I struggled to see the point in anything at all.
Four months on and I’m back to normal again. There’s a tattered friendship which may never be fixed again but as a basic principle, I’ve got to do what’s best for number one for a while. This one I can really chalk down to experience. Next time I won’t be so naive. The above paragraph is only a snapshot of what my life has been like since May. Only I will really ever know the gory details and if you ever go through a similar experience then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Everyone’s pain is theirs and theirs alone but thankfully irrational thoughts of throwing away everything I’ve worked for have perished and I’m even starting to get my mojo back a little bit. If you’re there right now then I feel for you with all of my heart but just try to reach out to your support network, appreciate the time you have alone with your thoughts and at least try to rest safe in the knowledge that we get better. Take it from me, it’s not just a cliché.
A crisis is defined as “a time when a difficult or important decision must be made” but the reality of the accommodation crisis in Dublin is far from just making an easy verdict. The entire situation is a societal convoluted and tangled mess that has been fast approaching for some time, and like every other major societal crisis that crops up in Ireland, it is only when it smashes past the zenith do we own up to the problem. So now we stand about and shrug our shoulders mumbling, “Ah, yeah we’ve made a balls of it”.
The reality is bleak, and frustrating. One reality is queues of 27 people outside in the rain, clambering over their umbrellas, shaking in their rain jackets in Dublin suburbia to view a house only knowing that someone else will be the one who is going to leave them without a home, again. With the arrested development of houses and the scattered surreal plots of ghost estates dotted around the country our little islands population kept increasing.
All the while people were flocking en masse in a hopeful exodus towards the crowded capitol. With internship culture poisoning employment markets, graduates are ashamedly stuffing jobseekers allowance into their pockets and becoming trapped in a poverty circle. Unable to find positions where our skills can flourish, we’re left scrambling for full time employment below living wage or fall victim to internships for pitiful pocket money while masters qualifications are being demanded from us.
Others comment and reflect on how they slaved through multiple jobs during college and that the young adults of today “need to cop on and get over it”. This shared identity created as a tabloid phenomena known as generation Y of pampered, whinging young people is utter nonsense. If you look around you, hardly anyone fits this false persona.
Estranged from my father for over eight years, then forced into immediate independence from home during my final year of my undergrad with nothing, I wholly began to support myself. But this is not a plea for sympathy; it’s to highlight the immense pressure that comes with the accommodation and financial fiasco from just one Irish citizen with one story. Sure, I’ll get a loan like people are barking at me to do, but who will be my guarantor?
How will I repay it along with fees and living expenses (priced at €13,000) when JobBridge isn’t even available to students, and part-time work dominates the market? I have garnered a considerable amount of savings already but it’s not a scratch on the mammoth amount I will need. I left comfortable Cork behind in the dust along with somewhere to live, a full-time minimum wage job and a bank account with some savings to start a new life here in Dublin with no accommodation, no income and those pretty pennies for college fees in my bank dwindling away daily for these fabled opportunities that do not seem to exist outside of the city. For a lot of students, don’t you think we’ve thought about fetching jobs? It’s difficult to find employment when you can’t scribble down a home address on a form.
The housing crisis has left Irish society, especially students, to endure a form of social natural selection and competition for resources. We are like flowers (wilted, but still multiplying) and Dublin is the flowerbed where housing is that vital resource. Darwinism dictates that the stronger flowers will eject and replace their weak counterparts when there is a struggle for scarce resources in competition.
Now, imagine being that one student out of the 27 people in that queue for a house. You’re up against families, so immediately you fall at the bottom of the housing food chain. How can I compete with that? I don’t even want to. But I have to, it is natural selection after all and I don’t want to be the weakest link. The lucky ones who squeezed into houses are then faced with the 17.2% increase in rent. Happy days, they’ll have a roof over their heads but now they have to worry about affording bread. The pressure of returning to education, the cost of living, budget cuts, trying to secure a loan and competing with 79,999 other SUSI applicants has left me and countless others in a state of uncomfortable limbo, anxiety and sleepless nights.
Before we even start the race in education we’re running with an exciting naivety. By the time accommodation, employment, assignments, rent and other psychological or social factors dare come into play, we are left out of breath, dropping to a painful jog gasping for air - and for what? So I can earn €50 extra through JobBridge along with my social welfare. We need to stop strangling the Irish state with short-term quick fix solutions before I am forced out of Ireland as part of this social natural selection, and learn some foresight to prevent further cataclysmic crisis before Ireland becomes one gigantic ghost estate.
Everyone has their own way of getting through final year. I got lots of my friends to input into this blog because it’s important for final year students to know everyone is different when it comes to studying. What works for the majority may not work for you and you need to be comfortable with that.
The workload and time management
Getting all those assignments made my class and I nearly die. Work due in every week plus the regular assignments and a thesis and all those readings! It looked like we would spend all our time in the library buried in books.
I’m a visual person so I decided to buy a wall planner and mark out with different colours when various bits were due in. I worked out a time table as to when was library time and when was friend and relaxation time. The first few weeks weren’t very successful but I got strict and stuck to the time table. Then after a while I felt like I was on top of everything.
Danny - Keeping on top of everything as opposed to it getting on top of me really helped me.
Finding the right place to study is important. I was a library person because seeing other people study motivated me, but for some of my friends they needed noise and distractions to be able to knuckle down and study.
Glenn - Just because all your mates find it easy to use the library doesn't mean you have to. You might prefer to study at home to music or in a cafe. It's important to try find a way that works for you.
Everyone that imputed had different opinions but everyone had a common theme which was having fun! You need to be able to detach from the work, let it go and have a good time. The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true but you need to look after yourself physically and mentally in order to achieve the good grades that you want whilst enjoying your last year in college.
Tara – The thoughts of summer and relaxation got me to power through.
Rebecca – From getting involved in college, my eyes were opened by new friends, old friends and family. And lots of coffee, lots and lots of coffee.
Ian – Simply playing music and getting drunk.
Kate – I found the best thing to be exercise and I am no sports junkie but I played rugby two or three times a week and even went to the gym to unwind. I was lucky enough to escape into the world of the students union and work on campaigns and events they were running or I had planned. The best advice is to eat well, sleep well and take care of yourself! It is stressful but if I can do it, anyone can.
What’s for you?
You may know exactly what you are working towards. But if not don’t panic, nothing needs to be decided until you’re ready. I worked towards goals that I wanted and never got but everything is after falling into place for me and I now have a job I love.
Rebecca – My realisation that I didn't have to decide right then that I wanted to be a teacher took a weight off my shoulders.
Natalie - I wanted to go on and do a Master’s so I was all the time working towards that. The feeling you will have when you actually get your degree motivated me to a certain extent.
Tracy - Knowing that if I do well, I have a degree that will stand to me. That I can do nothing for a while I’m deciding what to do next but that I have worked for something that no one can take from me.
Everyone including myself agrees that friends are the saviour of final year. Having my friends helped me keep sane through my final year. They kept me active and dragged me away from the library to go out and do anything but study. I am so grateful to them for doing that.
Lara - Friends. Especially getting to chat to Sorcha every night before bed.
Natalie - Knowing that I could talk to friends in my course who understood exactly what I was going through helped a lot.
Ellie - It was the friendships that arose between people I never would've expected to happen. For most of my college experience I was not an active or popular member of my class, in college or socially, so approaching final year I became so anxious about tackling final year "on my own". It surprised and overwhelmed me that because each person in my class was mature enough to realise we were all in the same boat that any past lack of friendships were forgotten. Essentially, having a common goal and tackling final year together as a class group made it less painful.
There are lots of ways to get through final year. Finding out what works best for you is important. Remember it’s not the be all and end all. Stay active, and keep in touch with friends and family. It’s one of the most important years where you need to be aware of yourself and mind yourself.
Best of Luck!
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