Next week I will begin my journey into postgraduate studies. Sometimes I wonder am I prepared? Or should I be studying Irish literature or Women’s Studies under the glow of a hot lamp in a musty university? Instead I am choosing an MA in Journalism. For those who know me well, this MA is an obvious choice. While at the beginning of my undergraduate career at University College Cork I imagined myself getting into heated debates about whether Heaney was more superior a poet to Yeats, it was through extra-curricular activities that I discovered my true passion and calling- writing.
What I like about writing is that you can do it anywhere, unlike tennis or playing the accordion. Whereas I’m sure scoring an ace in tennis would be slightly frowned upon in the frozen food aisle of your local SuperValu, and while you may get a few funny looks, writing most certainly wouldn’t cause you to be escorted out by security.
From a young age notebooks were always attractive to me. I distinctively remember purchasing my first Paper Blanks diary in the Trinity College gift shop in Dublin. It was ruby red and engraved with writings from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It was 2007 and I was 12 years old, but the thought of filling those blank pages with my thoughts and my feelings enthralled me. It was my own.
In school, English was my favourite subject and thankfully I was blessed with two wonderful teachers. In an age of tablets and IPads, nothing will ever replace a good old-fashioned teacher who praises and critiques in just the right proportion. While my friends dreaded personal essays and writing about Catherine and Heathcliff’s tumultuous relationship in Wuthering Heights for me it was so thrilling. Sometimes I wish I could return to those simple days were the joy of creating an essay would actually give me a buzz, I was so easily pleased and in love with what I was doing.
In college, essays didn’t inspire me quite as much. There was less scope for creativity and something always had to be argued and after three years I felt I had argued with my laptop keys long enough. Contributing articles to UCC Express during my first year in UCC was an outlet for me to be able to express my inner artist, while also learning some basic journalistic skills along the way. Becoming Editor of the newspaper’s entertainment supplement was a leap of faith, but then again every decision is. Yes, sometimes I stumbled, but at the end of every issue or when I secured an interview I felt proud and so happy to be a part of a great team of like-minded writers.
For my final year working on Motley Magazine was an absolute scream. It made me realise the truth in the saying that “the work you do while you procrastinate is what you should do for the rest of your life” and that’s exactly what I’m going to do…with a bit of a twist of course. Journalism postgraduate courses focus on TV and radio also and while they are two mediums I have never delved in or dreamed of working in, I believe they’ll challenge me and what’s that buzz phrase I’m looking for…oh yes “make me more employable”. After all it would be nice to secure somewhat of a job after I graduate.
My three year arts degree could’ve been quite a passive experience for me if I’d allowed it to have been. Sitting in huge lecture halls with a bunch of strangers and some bearded man in clipped English tones giving a speech about Robinson Crusoe can at times allow students to sit back, whereas a Journalism Masters will be on the go, fast paced and most certainly very active. While sometimes I get lost in other distractions along the way and lose sight of what I’m going to do with myself, writing always brings me back to earth. The presence of a pen on a page is a sort of mindfulness in a way. Ok, my mind could be wandering off to something that happened in May, but sitting at the kitchen table with my pen in hand drags me back to some form of the now. Writing is my meditation and my drug because sometimes when I start, I physically can’t stop. The pen gets hotter and sometimes feels it’s going to blast if I’m not able to get my ideas out.
Writing is my passion in life. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have done a business degree which would undoubtedly pay the bills, but I know in my mind that my heart would be truly left in debt. So don’t leave your heart in debt. Too many situations and people will come into your life and leave your heart wailing and wanting, the least any of us can do is control what we can and listen to our passions and believe in our talents.