Katie Harrington studied BA in New Media and English at the University of Limerick and graduated in 2009. She is now a freelance content and communications strategist, working in Dublin. In this blog post she talks about her time at UL and her move into freelance work.
Why did you choose UL?
I was 16 doing my Leaving Cert and 17 starting college. I wanted to leave Galway, where I’m from, but I didn’t want to go too far so I chose UL. I was interested in a career in journalism at the time, and I love English literature, so New Media and English was a good choice for me.
What did you like best about your time at UL?
There is so much to love about UL. I sometimes feel like I lived a double life; on the one hand I had my academics, I wrote for An Focal and I was involved in the debating union - a bit of a geek in that sense really - and on the other I loved going out. I have so many great memories of nights out in the Lodge, Trinity Rooms, and later Baker’s Place. House parties and raves. And in calmer times, endless cups of tea and chats in Javas, and walks along the Shannon.
Self-employment is challenging in a variety of ways but it’s also far more rewarding than any of my corporate roles.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
I graduated into the recession. I went abroad “for ayear” and ended up staying away for six years. I lived in Dubai, Abu Dhabi andDoha, as well as England, during that time.
I moved home at Christmas 2015 and I’ve been living inDublin since early 2016. It wasn’t difficult to find a job, but I ended updoing one 12 month contract after another and I disliked the instability.
Earlier this year I set up my own business as a freelancecontent writer for the financial services and professional servicessector. So far it’s going really well,and I’m delighted that I made the decision to strike out on my own.
In what way did your course prepare you for your career?
The main skill I honed at UL was writing in long-form.Most of what I do for clients now is writing articles and blog posts, and Ilearned how to write well in college both through my course and by learningfrom the editors at An Focal.
I spent six months working in the Oireachtas on my co-opplacement, and this introduced me to Dublin and to a whole network of contactsI have to this day.
Describe your typical day at work
I work from home, and the day usually begins around 8 am when I get up to let my dog outside. I take her for a walk, we both have breakfast and then I shower.
Around 10, I check my emails and then take a look at whatI have on. If I’m writing, I try to do 45-50 minutes of focused work and thenI’ll make a cup of tea and watch something on YouTube or play with the dog fora few minutes.
If I haven’t got a lot to write, I’ll focus on BusinessDevelopment, managing my own website and blog or doing my admin and finances.
Self-employment is challenging in a variety of ways butit’s also far more rewarding than any of my corporate roles.
Any advice for school leavers?
I totally recommend UL to young people. My friends whohave graduated in different fields from Law to Engineering to Education havegone on to do great things.
My only other advice is to have lots of fun. You’ll beout in the working world for a long time, so while you’re getting your degreetake advantage of the time you have to spend on extra-curriculurs and enjoyingyourself (as well as studying!)
Katie has her own freelance integrated communications company Harrington Communications & Content. Further information: katieharrington.ie