Hayley Houlihan is currently working towards her BA in Photographic Media. COVID-19 threw her spring semester into upheaval, but the students and lecturers came together to create a virtual event that let them celebrate their success together. She told us about it, and her story.
Getting to Griffith
Turning 30 was a turning point in my life; it gave me the nudge I needed to enrol in Griffith College to pursue a degree that would help transition my career to a different path. I have always had a lifelong passion for photography and the arts and was amazed to find a creative course that suited me down to the ground. Returning to third-level education as a mature student was nerve-wracking but there was really nothing to be worried about as the majority of the part-time students were also mature students returning to college to pursue a career change. Everyone was so friendly and open and the course is so well structured that it allowed me to pursue my bachelor's degree whilst still working full-time. The lecturers are very approachable, supportive and established in their field, and their expertise and knowledge are second to none. The whole environment and experience have been life-changing.
To be able to pursue a degree whilst working full-time and juggling everyday life responsibilities was challenging but the support given by the lecturers really encouraged me further and made it possible. I am so proud of my achievements so far in the last two years and am excited to embark on my final year in Griffith.
The world turned upside down
At the end of semester two, the second-year photographic media students exhibit their final year show titled “Photoworks.” We had all worked incredibly hard all year in the lead up to this exhibition and were really excited for it. In March, though, the COVID-19 restrictions came into effect along with uncertainty and concerns about whether we would be able to finish our second year or showcase our work. The programme director and lecturers did huge amounts of work to make this possible for us. Our classes and tutorials were moved online; with their support and dedicated time we were successful in completing our semester and showcasing our work on an online platform hosted live on YouTube. I exhibited my project titled “Life within the shadows,” which was a documentation of life in lockdown, focusing on the concepts of isolation, solitude and adaptability. I would never have imagined I could produce such work from home. The night was a success and we all raised a virtual glass of bubbles to congratulate ourselves on a massive achievement and a year we may never forget!
Life as a mature Griffith student
Griffith has helped me so much in my own personal development - I have been pushed to creative limits and explored skills I never even knew that I had. Griffith has given me the confidence and the tools to bring my dream career to life. To study something you are so passionate about is a real privilege. The best thing I have ever done for myself was to move past the fear of returning to education as a mature student and go chase my dream. I will take so much with me when I graduate.