I still remember my first interview that I ever conducted. It was back in the depths of Ireland’s second lockdown during Autumn 2020.
I interviewed Alicia O’Sullivan, the then-Education Officer of the Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU).
It was my first taste at being able to ask someone questions directly on a Zoom call, which seemed to be the most convenient place to interview people then, and that still seems to be the case now!
I had really become interested in the running of the ISSU, back when I was the first ever Secretary of my secondary school’s Student Council. The school quickly joined the Union, and it was there that I found a lot of people who were very vocal about the rights of second level students.
When the Leaving Cert was sent into disarray in 2020 because of the first Covid lockdown, and knowing I was to be directly affected by this, I researched a lot to see what the ISSU and other students were saying, discussing solutions, and pleading with the then-Education Minister Joe McHugh to implement “Predicted Grades”, which then turned into “Calculated Grades”.
It was one of the first times I had seen the way that students could actually properly change government policy, especially second-level students. It absolutely amazed me.
So I was sat there in front of a screen with Alicia O’Sullivan waiting for me to ask the first question. It was an interview to discuss the ISSU’s position on what should happen with the 2021 Leaving Cert, remembering what I had just gone through months beforehand.
I came out of that interview suddenly energised and more confident that I ever did.
I had never had a, well, enjoyable time in school – primary or secondary. My self-esteem was shot throughout all that time, when I was bullied in primary school, to then being what I discerned to be socially excluded generally in secondary school – through no fault of my own.
So I came into DCU (at least virtually) with a kind of resilience that got me through the Leaving Cert years (at least until we went into lockdown), and I just hoped that things would finally work out for me.
That interview with Alicia was really my first sign that things were going to be okay for me.
It was from there that I began to have aspirations for what I wanted to do in DCU.
When researching the Journalism course all those years back, I had been looking at clips of the Media Production Society’s 24 Hour Broadcasts, and said to myself “I could host this. I could host the Broadcast, I could host a show!”, and when I became a member of MPS, that became a goal of mine.
When I was researching The College View, my main aspiration was to be able to write about what I loved. I never saw myself as a potential leader, I never thought I was that confident.
That thinking that I was not that confident mainly came from those years of said confidence being torn to shreds, and as such I believed that there definitely were people out there that were better than me in everything.
However, first when the opportunity arose for me to apply for News Editor at the end of first year, I originally said “they would never take me on”.
But then when there was a final call out for applications, I just had to bite the bullet, and applied.
I became a Deputy News Editor – not what I had applied for, but I said to myself “it still has ‘News Editor’ in the name!”
Around that same time, my first 24 Hour Broadcast took place, although online with the magical wonderland that is Zoom.
I went to Presenter Auditions, where I found out that then-Chair Maeve Fortune and I had a common interest – wait for it… you’re still waiting… that’s right – Eurovision.
(I can just tell any readers who get to this stage in my final article are collectively saying “I was wondering how long it would take for him to talk about Eurovision!”)
Sadly I didn’t become a Presenter, but when the idea of DCeUrovision was floated as a show, I jumped right in to get involved, and I presented the jury points for Leinster.
Since then, everything has gone from strength to strength, from hosting two shows on DCUfm to hosting DCeUrovision in December 2021 and 2022 for those 24 Hour Broadcasts.
And then at the end of my second year, I applied for the Editor-in-Chief role, which I then got.
I had so many aims this academic year, most of which were filled, and I fully stand by everything that The College View produced this year – it really was a great year for quality journalism.
Revamping the Podcasting section was a main aim for me, and I was so glad to choose Amy McLoughlin as Podcast Host. She just seemed like the perfect fit for the kind of Podcast I was envisioning.
Being able to substantially improve the Students’ Union Elections was also a major aim. This included introducing a live blog feature to the website, and producing a professional live stream for the entire University to watch, running for a full five hours.
As well as that, being able to ask questions to candidate during the Candidate Conversations at the start of campaigning was a great opportunity, which I’d like to thank the organisers within the Students’ Union for.
Being able to introduce a brand new Satire section was something that I never even thought of – but when the idea was given to me by current Editors Shane and Donal, I had to say yes. It would open up the College View to a brand new viewership, which in turn could also help other sections too.
Being able to run the College View was an amazing opportunity, and I wouldn’t change anything about how it went.
But I could not have done any of this alone. The Editorial Team were incredible throughout the year – so to Louise, Seán, Rory, Rachael, Caoimhe, Niamh, Hannah, Liam, Andrew, Erin, James, Jade, Abigail, Jack, Shane, Donal, Sarah, Adam, Kate, Jade, thank you for being an amazing team to work with, I honestly could not have done any of this without you all.
But there is one person I have to especially recognise here.
Back at the end of January, my entire college life was put on hold when my Nana passed away suddenly.
I was just about to begin work on my final Journalism project on the effects of early-onset dementia, inspired by my Nana, who had Alzheimer’s Disease for multiple years. So much so, on the day that my Nana passed away, I was due to go on a Zoom call with my first interviewee to discuss what my documentary would be about and how he would fit into it.
I had just been giving a talk to first-year Journalism students, to promote the College View, when I got a call to come back home. Hours later, a huge part of my life was gone, and it has changed me as a person as a result.
But there was one person standing there when I got that call, and it was my Deputy Editor Muiris O’Cearbhaill.
I had only been telling him about things going on with my Nana before we went in to deliver that talk, and he knew by my facial expression that things were not looking good.
When I got off the call, I started to panic. I didn’t know what to do, where to go, how to do anything. I had to get out of DCU and see my Nana. In that moment, he helped me through, and I got in a taxi and straight to my Nana’s nursing home.
I was also panicking because I knew what I was leaving behind – I’m literally the Editor of the college newspaper, we have an event about the Smedias coming up this week that I have completely organised. I was truly panicking now, where do I go from here?
Muiris took everything that had suddenly shattered on the floor, picked it up, and kept it moving. The new issue of the paper was still published, the Smedias event went off without a hitch and with brilliant attendance.
Without Muiris there by my side that day, I don’t know what I would have done. And for that, I need to express how deeply appreciative I am of him.
After my Nana passed away, just an hour or two later, Muiris texted me to make sure I was doing okay, and reassuring me that everything was fine – which really gave me the strength I needed going forward, knowing that the paper was in strong and capable hands when I simply was not able to hold it all together.
The day I came back to DCU, as it happened, was the day of the Candidate Conversations hustings, where SU Election candidates were put on show for the first time. And who was by my side on that sofa live on YouTube? Muiris.
It felt like a full-circle moment there and then, and I just knew that things were going to be okay (not withstanding the fact I didn’t even know I would be live on YouTube until quite literally an hour before we went live, but we’ll pretend that never happened!)
Three months on, I’m gradually holding it together more – some may wonder have I ever held it together at all during the last three years in DCU – but I believe that things would not have been in a better state when I came back if it wasn’t for Muiris, and I’m honestly so glad that I had him as my Deputy for those reasons.
So Muiris, thank you for everything – the support, everything.
And now as I begin to leave my position as Editor-in-Chief, some excitement is yet to come, and some success has already come our way!
The College View was nominated for Newspaper of the Year at this year’s Smedia awards – the first time since 2021, when we last won!
On top of that, another five nominations were received by College View contributors and MPS members, which is phenomenal.
And now a look to the future – Amy McLoughlin and Hannah Giron Daygo will take over very soon, and hit the ground running by choosing a brand new Editorial Team for the next academic year.
I want to wish every success to them both in their plans for the next year, and I cannot wait to see where they bring the paper in 2023 and 2024, and I’d ask anyone interested to seriously consider applying for Editorial Team next year, it’s an amazing opportunity with some great experience available!
I will be watching from afar!
For now, for all those Eurovision lovers like me, I can say this year was certainly not SloMo, but I have absolute Euphoria in leaving this job, in which All Kinds of Everything was written about.
This publication will be stuck on me like a Tattoo-oo-oo, as Loreen says this year.
After all, What’s Another Year?
Love you, College View x