Through My Eyes – The Beginning of the End

It’s that time of year again; the elder birds are leaving the nest, paving the way for a new flock to arrive in September. Thousands of students have studied at DCU over the years, with many going on to pursue careers totally different to their course of study. Nonetheless, it’s certain that they will apply the skills learned at DCU to everyday and working life. The College View spoke to Emma O’Rourke about her university experience during her time in DCU.

Three years after her journey began in DCU, Emma feels that the time passed by rapidly, “It has gone by so fast, I don’t think it will actually hit me until I’m finished in a few months’ time”. The Mullingar native moved to Dublin in 2010 and adapted to student living. “I lived in a house in Phibsborough in first year, and then in second year I lived on campus and in final year I commuted for a while for first semester and lived in a house with five boys- good life experience, lads are way more easy going”.

Like many students, Emma made the choice to change her course in first year. “I didn’t know that I always wanted to do journalism, but I didn’t enjoy the first course I chose in DCU – Irish and Journalism. I loved languages in school and thought it sounded like a good choice but the class was tiny and my Irish was definitely not up to the standard required. So then I took three weeks off, sitting in on different lectures. I contemplated primary teaching in Pats, but the journalism lectures were fun and enjoyable, and I am glad I stayed in DCU. I think that if you want something enough you will get it. I really believe in positive thinking.”

During her time in DCU, Emma was the Lifestyle Editor of The College View, “I didn’t know if I’d like being editor but I ended up loving it and I’d encourage everyone to get involved with the newspaper. Naturally some work is involved but it is good fun and it was such a great experience for me”.

With a passion for tennis, Emma found her feet with the tennis club. “I wanted to come to DCU to play tennis here and in doing that I even got a few trips in with the club to Switzerland, London, Cork, Belfast and Galway. The tennis club provided me with a great social life, I had the craic and made some great friends. The only thing was the training times – getting up at 5.30 am every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to train in Clontarf”.

However, Emma showed her dedication to the sport by “going out and not sleeping”, then going straight to tennis training. “I did some charity work with the St. Vincent de Paul society; I did the soup runs and the sleep-outs. I love how DCU is like a homely little community compared to some of the bigger universities, you see loads of friendly familiar faces you know on campus”.

To help out with money for the social side of university, Emma worked part-time during her degree. “Managing a job and college can be difficult but thankfully my timetable wasn’t too hectic this year which allowed me to work. If I didn’t have to work I’d say I would have been able to get involved with more things on campus, but I wanted to work to have my own money. I think there is nothing like earning your own money and being independent. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A busy summer lies ahead for the ambitious blonde as she sets her sights outside of Ireland.

“In May, I’m going to The Sun magazine in London for two months to do my INTRA work placement with them. I’m really excited about it. I’ll be working with the fashion team for the first month and the lifestyle section for the second month. I’ll hopefully get to go to Wimbledon one of the days too if I can”.

After her internship, Emma plans to coach “the little ones” during July at a tennis camp in Mullingar to save some money, before jetting off to Brazil in August. “I’m not sure how long I plan on staying in Brazil yet, I hope to teach English over there or volunteer, then if I don’t like Brazil I might travel somewhere else. I’ve been in education for so long I just want to get out of Ireland and see what else the world has to offer.”

Perhaps Emma, like a lot of students, got a taste for travel after spending three months on a J1 in Nantucket in the United States last year. “I worked in a Yacht Club at a snack bar and also in a tennis club. I was in my element to be honest; I had the time of my life. Nantucket is brilliant, I couldn’t recommend a better place and I can’t wait to go back sometime in the future.
I would recommend all students to go across the water and go on a J1 while in college if they can because it is an unforgettable experience and you will probably never have anything like it ever again.”

In terms of seeing herself as a journalist in the future, Emma says: “I’m going to go with the flow, journalism is not something I love, nor something I hate. I enjoyed the course and it was fun but if I don’t do it full-time it won’t bother me, if I find something else that I’m good at I could end up doing that. I’m not exactly sure what I want yet, but at the moment I want to travel and will hopefully figure out my future career path somewhere along the way.”

By Catríona Hughes

Image Credit: Eimear Phelan

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