'What lies ahead for us is uncertain'
GENERATION EMIGRATION:This year’s journalism class at the University of Limerick began their course in 2008. Now, as they prepare to graduate, the students explain their plans for the future, and whether they will emigrate or remain at home
When we started our degree in journalism, in 2008, the recession had just begun. This is the best time to be in college, we were told. Everything will be okay by the time you graduate. It is 2012 now, and we will have finished our course within a month. The recession has not blown over, and prospects are even bleaker for graduates now than they were when we started at the University of Limerick.
What lies ahead for the class of 2012 is uncertain. Many of us have already worked for newspapers or radio stations as part of our mandatory six-month work placement, but only one person has a full-time job lined up for next year.
I will be starting a five-month placement at a national newspaper in August. The thought of moving to Dublin is daunting, but far less so than the alternative: emigration. Even worse is the thought of drawing the dole, as I have been earning my own money since the age of 15. I don’t know what will happen in December when my placement ends, but I have decided not to think about it too much until the time comes.
As much as I’d love to see the world, the option of taking a year out to travel is neither feasible nor realistic. I cannot risk leaving the country for a year only to come back to compete against even more journalism graduates.Ultimately, I see my future in Ireland, but only the best and the brightest will be able to stay. If I can’t find a job here, I will have no option but to leave.
I have wanted to be a journalist for as long as I can remember. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I am determined and willing to work as hard as I can to fulfil my goal, whether it is in this country or not, as are many of my classmates.
Yesterday my aunt told me she would be having her wedding in September next year. I stared blankly at her; I had no idea whether I would be there or not. I don’t know where in the world I will be this September, let alone the following one.
It was an upsetting thought. I try to stay positive, but it is difficult not to worry. I will apply to as many media and PR companies as I can and hope for the best. I would love to get into radio or television, but it’s a competitive world, and many people are more qualified and experienced than me. But, with a determined attitude, you can go far.
I want to succeed and I want to do well. I’ve worked so hard to get through the past four years, and I’ve cost my parents a small fortune in the process. I refuse to let it all result in my drawing the dole.
I haven’t shaken my head to leaving Ireland yet. I’ve had some wonderful experiences living abroad, and I’ve yet to experience first-hand the Irish workplace for what it is meant to be.