Kim Carroll graduated from the MA in Journalism & Media Communications in 2019. Now she works as a Content Marketing Executive. She told us all about her Griffith story.
How I got to Griffith College
I graduated with a BA in English at the age of 19. I was unhappy in my course and was so unsure of where I should go next. I took over 3 years off to work in retail full-time and figure out what I wanted to do. I worked my way up in retail management and became the assistant manager of a designer dress store. The pay was good and I had no intention of ever returning to education.
From a young age, I had always wanted to complete a master’s degree. My parents never received a secondary education and it was important to me that I went far with my education. Unfortunately, due to my being so unhappy during my degree, I had forgotten about wanting to complete a master’s. Throughout this time, though, I had done small courses in journalism and television production and broadcasting. Journalism had always been something I had thought about but I genuinely had no confidence that I had any skill at all. I left my last retail job after being treated poorly, and on the same day I applied for the MA in Journalism and Griffith College Dublin. I knew I needed to do something to secure a future that was right for me.
When I participated in my BA course, I struggled to fit in with my class, mainly due to its size. I was also a commuter, unlike most of my classmates, so I never went out socialising with them. I felt consistently lonely throughout the three years. On the day of my BA graduation, I remember wanting to leave the college as soon as possible, as I didn’t fit in with anyone else celebrating.
When I started at Griffith, I was four years older and less anxious around new people. During my first days, I began to make friends with almost all my classmates. I cannot stress enough how hard it had been before for me to fit in with people in a college setting, so to form friendships, where we would all strive to help each other with our work, was the most invaluable part of the year for me. The international mix of students led to me learning a lot about different cultures. My family know almost as much about my peers as I do because I talk so much about them and their lives.
The first essay I wrote for this degree was for Niall Meehan for Sociology of the Media. It was a short essay, examining and comparing two films. I worked tirelessly on the essay for weeks before submitting and was happy with my work. When I received my grade, I hadn’t done as well as I expected. I was completely overcome with anxiety for how the rest of the course would go for me because my classmates had scored so highly. I once again felt that I did not belong, and I seriously thought about quitting and dropping out. Instead, a good friend I had met on the course went through my essay and the feedback and helped me understand where I could have improved. He also recommended I go see Dr. Meehan and talk to him about my essay. I very nervously asked Dr. Meehan to go through my essay with me. He printed another copy of my essay and gave it to me to read over with the feedback he had given. While spending half an hour of his busy day pointing out how I could have improved, he also made sure to stress the areas he found innovative and well-written. I left his office feeling completely inspired to try my best next time. In the next and final essay for his module, I worked the hardest I ever had and received a high first. This gave me a first in the module, which I wouldn’t have thought possible on the day I received that first result. He restored a lot of my confidence in myself and I am very grateful for that.
Life at Griffith
A typical day is normally a busy day of lectures but with breaks in between. Because the college itself isn’t so big, it’s less intimidating for those who are shy, like me. In a way, even if you want to be a wallflower, you can’t because everyone is so outgoing and friendly! The one thing I loved every day was learning so much about different people from different walks of life. It was something I never appreciated in the past, but now because of Griffith I love getting to know people, and I also love telling people about me and my life. Diversity and inclusivity are all over Griffith College on a daily basis, and it made the long days of notetaking and a two-hour commute something to look forward to.
Throughout my degree, I supported myself by working 30 hours a week in a restaurant. Although this was challenging during busy assignment periods, I sometimes utilised the restaurant work to my advantage. For example, for my online media module, I published two articles about the restaurant and sourced my own photographs and interviews while on a fifteen-minute break at the weekends!
Taking the next steps
While in the final stages of my dissertation, I decided to start applying for jobs. The careers office and Emma Flynn had helped me a lot with interview prep and tidying up my CV and overall job applications. I was called for an interview at a security control company in late July. During this interview, I spoke about how I was able to adapt to different working environments, which I believed to be true since completing my master’s. For example, I spoke about how I had never touched any kind of editing software in my life, but taught myself with the help of my peers and lecturers, and produced a twenty-minute audio documentary which I received 75% on. Also, I produced a magazine in InDesign, a programme I had never used before the master’s. It was a strenuous process; I had to go through four interviews and produce an article on a subject that was completely new to me.
These real-life examples and skills convinced my employers that I had the knowledge and drive to succeed in my new role. I was hired on the same day I handed in my dissertation. That was an extremely stressful week, but now I am proud to be a Content Marketing Executive. I get to write articles daily while also learning more about a new field that I never knew I liked before – marketing! I know for a fact that I would never have been considered for this job if it wasn’t for the skills I learned in my course, and for that I am so grateful for the programme and all of the aspects it included.
Graduating with this degree means everything to me. It is the single greatest achievement of my 24 years, and I am extremely proud of myself for how well I did. I count myself very lucky to have extremely supportive parents, but I count myself luckier that this course and Griffith College were there for me on a day that I needed them, otherwise I may never have gone back to college to study what I discovered I loved doing – writing.
Once I graduate, I plan on working very hard in my job so that I can eventually work my way “up the ladder”. I have just enrolled in an online digital marketing diploma which will improve my skillset more. I want to continue to write for a living, but combining it with new skills makes for an exciting career path which I look forward to every day.