For the first time I can remember, I won’t be returning to education this month. I’m into the real world.
After three years at the University of Gloucestershire studying Sports Journalism, I graduated with a First Class Honours degree, and now face the task of adjusting to life outside of an educational environment that, for the most part, is set up in a way that you know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. It’s a whole routine that you become familiar with.
I absolutely loved my time studying in Cheltenham. I wasn’t your typical student in the sense that I don’t drink, don’t smoke and never actually entered through the doors of the local nightclub once (I know what you’re thinking). The majority of my time was spent playing darts (a lot of time in pubs for a guy who doesn’t drink!) and socialising in different ways, and I met a few people that will be friends for life.
I saw my time there like I had a job to do. I had to dedicate myself to being the best student journalist I could be and return home again with a better opportunity to pursue the career I wanted. Well, now I’m back in Northern Ireland, I have to adjust to a new life and I am trying to find exactly what I’m looking to do.
Some days I think I know what I want, but then others I think of something else that would be the dream job. I struggle to stick to one career path. There are aspects of a few that I like, and that’s why I started my own website recently. I’m not totally sure what I want to do with it yet exactly, but I see it as a way of keeping busy while I try to figure out exactly what it is that I see as a long-term career.
That sort of jumping around can probably be shown by my initial university decisions. As a sixth form student in the Royal School Armagh, I applied for Computer Science. I got all five of my offers and was happy with that until one day I was sitting in ICT class and it hit me like a ton of bricks that this is not what I see myself doing (combined with a stark realisation I didn’t know much, or anything, about computers!) . Two days later, I had rejected all of my offers, and re-applied to sports journalism. The rest, as they say, is history.
During the summer I worked for the News Letter covering NCU cricket, and it was such a great experience. I got to cover the sport as I saw fit and met and worked with some great people. Getting to interview captains and players every week, write long-form features on some of the biggest names in the local game and I got to cover my first couple of international matches – all of which were a great thrill.
In a dream world, I would continue doing that forever, and part of the website was to explore how I could keep covering cricket in this country throughout the winter months. I have some ideas, and it will obviously be hard work, but I’m up for that challenge.
I’m aware that I will have to do other things, and I have plans to branch out into football and rugby. I have all these ideas in my head of things I could do and new things that I could bring, and I am constantly thinking. I’m the sort of person that obsesses. I am always thinking about my career, and if I am sitting still for too long I will think to myself ‘What are you doing, go work!’. I probably put too much pressure on myself, but I just feel like I have to achieve success or all those steps I took to get to this point will have been for nothing.
Through job searches and research, it has become very obvious that there are very, very limited opportunities in sports media in Northern Ireland. It has left me thinking that I may have to blaze my own path, and I’m totally content with that.
I have never actually blogged before. Honestly, I never felt comfortable doing it, and actually still don’t, but I find that expressing myself through the written word comes more naturally, and maybe that is why I am pursuing the career I am.
I plan to maybe do this once a month as a way of documenting my journey. I’m not sure what journey it is going to actually be, but lets work that out along the way.