Jennifer Purcell graduated from UL's BA in Journalism and New Media in 2017. We catch up with her to see what she's up to a year on...
Looking back, what did you like best about your course?
I loved the practical side of our course. I was never good at concentrating or paying attention for too long in lectures. I found studying really hard and therefore wasn't great when it came to reciting information for exams! Our course was so different in that way, we had full hands on experience throughout the four years. Whether it was going to the court house doing reports, covering real life breaking news stories, producing radio shows, filming TV packages, putting together a full newspaper and everything in between!
What did you like best about UL?
The opportunities that it brought! UL really has something for everyone! Whether its being part of a group, a club, a society, having your own radio show, writing for An Focal, working with the marketing team for events to promote them on social media, volunteering, there really was 1000 ways to meet new people. There was a place for everyone, no matter what it was you were interested in being part of.
Did you make any plans before you graduated, such as study, career or travel plans?
Before I graduated, I knew I wanted to emigrate. I spent the last two years of my degree building up as much experience as I could for my CV to help ensure I got a job when I graduated! I knew when I moved away from Limerick and Ireland, where I had built ALL my media contacts, that I'd be a nobody. I knew I'd have to start from scratch and that my CV would have to be strong to help me stand out! Luckily, we got the opportunity to apply for a Google Fellowship programme, which essentially saw Google fund journalists to work with national media for 2 months throughout the summer when we graduated. I was one of 5 chosen in Ireland and got the chance to work for the Irish Times, which really stood to me when applying for jobs here in London!
What have you been doing since you graduated?
I moved to London after I finished in the Irish Times and got a job as the Marketing and Communications Officer for the London Irish Centre charity. I'll have been working here 6 months this April - time flies! The London Irish Centre was the perfect start to my career in London - They provide care, community and culture to the Irish in London.I love what I do! No two days are the same! While my degree is technically in journalism and new media, many who complete our course branch out into Comms. "The dark side" they call it, in journalism! While in my final year in UL, I assisted the UL Marketing and Comms team on events, talks and projects throughout the year, which helped build up essential experience that helped me secure this job! My job is so diverse, I do everything from newsletters and press releases to managing our website, social channels and creating video content. One day I'm making videos with 80-year-old clients in our community centre, the next I'm planning social media for our Ed Sheeran fundraising gig in June. I am really only just settling into my new role now and have loads of plans on how we can grow our presence online over the next few years, so I'm really only getting started!
Any advice for our current final year students?
Enjoy the student bubble while you can! I felt so secure in the little hub of UL! Going out into the big bad world is scary - and the thoughts of not getting a job terrified me when I finished! My advice is simply to remember that everything will work out when it's supposed to, just have patience and let the universe do its thing! I completely panicked when I saw all my friends getting jobs in the days and weeks after finished up and I thought I'd be unemployed for months, especially in a new country! But hard work pays off, no matter what your grades are, your experience is what really matters! As my previous employer said to me "I don't care what number is on your degree, all I care about is your skills and how you use them."