Croeso i Cymru

I’ve made reference to it several times in previous posts, but I think now is the time to document the next big step in my life; my move across the Irish Sea. Plus, I’ve done an awful amount of tags over the last few days, so I feel like I need to prove that I am actually capable of independent thought, and of original content.

Back in January, I told myself and anyone who would listen that Ireland was getting  a year to sort itself out or I would be outta here. Despite having applied for jobs in journalism, and being called for a couple of interviews, nothing had come in the way of a career in the field. If the story remained the same by December, I had decided to stretch my search a little further and look into the UK market. But hey, if that’s where it was possibly headed, there was no harm in looking right now, surely?

Seems I’ve been plotting my escape for some time.

For some reason, my first (and what proved to be only) internet search that night was “journalism jobs Wales”. Wales had always appealed to me, be it that it was so culturally similar to Ireland, or Wales’ borderline obsession with rugby. That I have a soft spot for a Welsh accent was merely a bonus.

The usual job offers came up, editor with 42 years experience needed. Then, nestled near the bottom of the page, was the page for JOMEC- Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. There was no point in looking at the undergrad courses, but there was one postgraduate degree that stood out in the blurb of the Google result; MA Magazine Journalism.

Now, I won’t lie. It was never my plan to do a Masters. In ANYTHING. But this made perfect sense. I’d been in love with magazine work since I was about 14, collecting a certain Irish teen magazine each and every month since discovering it. Within a few months, and following several issues, I found I wasn’t just collecting it because I liked the magazine itself. I was collecting it because I was slowly discovering I wanted a life as a magazine columnist, and Kiss, the only magazine aimed at Irish teenagers just like me, was the one I wanted to work for. Unfortunately, the last issue of Kiss was published in August 2014.

With the closure of Kiss Magazine, a big part of my childhood left me.

I’ve done internships with some of Ireland’s other big names in the magazine industry, namely Woman’s Way and Social & Personal Weddings, and I will be forever indebted to Áine and Jenny, my respective editors there, for the insight they gave me to the world, the tips I’ve gotten from them, and the hands-on, all in experience I had working for both of them. Although I loved my time at both places immensely, I felt like I was missing something myself to push me on a little further.

Once I saw the information for the course, that was it. I knew this had to be the perfect fit. While it may seem like a rash or rushed decision, I spoke to as many people as possible (mainly my parents, who have been nothing but supportive the whole way through) before making my final call. But it was never in doubt. I was always going to at least apply, and anything else would be a bonus.

During the application, my cousin (who had already applied for – and done – a postgrad) gave a few pointers on my personal statement. Jenny, my mentor on the aforementioned Social & Personal Weddings internship, and my university lecturer Paul wrote references for me that I can never repay. My Dad and little brother came with me to Wales when I was called for interview in late March. My Mam, who was also off school at the time, had broken her leg in September and didn’t want to risk DVT. While she couldn’t make it physically, she was very much there in a technological sense, and kept firmly in touch with everything going on.

Before the interview, I was the most nervous I  had ever been. Once I stepped into the room, however, it turned out there was nothing to fear. I was in the second of several daily interview groups, and the people I spoke to that day were lovely. They marvelled at my name, too. With names like Glesni and Angharad introduced to my vocabulary for the first time, I marvelled too.

Following a (pretty intense) news quiz, a grammar test, ideas hour and a re-write of a press release, I sat in front of course director Tim Holmes for my one-on-one interview. Prepared to sell myself like I never had before, Tim took a leaf through my portfolio and, paired with my application, had basically decided there and then to take me on board.

In just one short year, I will rise from BA to MA. No pressure.



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