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Why I quit my job with no back up

I started my 2017 by boarding a plane back to London with no Job. The crazy thing is, I did it by choice.

Shortly before Christmas (most inopportune time, I know) I decided I had had enough and handed in my notice to my most recent employer. I left a full time permanent job with absolutely no back up lined up. Now at this stage you may be thinking that I’m reckless, stupid, irresponsible or all of the above. Believe me I’ve had those thoughts too.

But what do you do when you’re no longer happy?  What do you do on a Sunday night when the thoughts of going into work on a Monday morning are giving you a physical pain in your chest?

I moved to London as a fresh, doe eyed albeit, enthusiastic graduate. I had landed my first ‘adult’ job and I could not wait to start making my mark on the world. However, I quickly realised that the job I had entered into was far from any of the things I wanted. It was monotonous, repetitive, badly managed and lacked so much as a drop of creativity. Not only that, but I wasn’t learning anything. It soon became clear that there was absolutely no room for progression or career development in the role whatsoever. Having spent 4 years in university that’s something I would consider very important to me. I want to learn, I want to grow and I want to progress. I want to be in an environment where hard work is truly recognised, where creative people are encouraged and valued. So I took the plunge.

I scared myself and pulled the security and safety right from under me. I spent 6 months putting all of my energy into something I really didn’t care about. Something I wasn’t passionate about, and something which was giving me nothing but stress and hassle in return. Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’m quite a driven and ambitious person. I am never ‘half arsed’ about anything I do, so I didn’t make this decision lightly. I didn’t wake up one day and decide ‘oh, i’m going to quit my job’. There were a lot of contributing factors, and I spent many hours discussing it with my family and those close to me.

I’m only 23 after all.  This is the time in my life where I’m allowed to be unsure, I’m allowed to make mistakes,  I’m allowed to try new things and I’m allowed to go after what really makes me happy. Yet there are days like today, when I’m pouring over countless job applications and  trying to prove that i’m the ‘perfect candidate’, that I feel a little lost. I find myself questioning my decision, questioning my abilities and questioning what it is I really want from life. Did I make another bad choice by quitting? Could I have stuck it out another 6 months?  I mean probably, but that would have been another 6 months trying to fool myself into thinking my situation was okay. I was afraid of getting stuck and then never having the confidence to (as incredibly cliche as it is),  follow my dreams. A lot have people have told me I’m brave. But I’ve yet to decide whether that’s true, or whether I’m just incredibly stupid 🙂  (Let’s go with the former).

I’m not sure where these next few months in my life are going to take me. But then again 6 months ago I wasn’t sure either. Not knowing is both terrifying an exhilarating.  It’s only been 3 days since I’ve officially been unemployed. In that time I’ve sent approximately 20 job applications, received 5 of those lovely generic ‘unfortunately you have not been selected on this occasion’ rejections,  and binged watched 8 episodes of ‘Jane the Virgin’ (hey a girl’s gotta stay sane!). It’s early days yet. I’ll admit, it is hard not to feel a bit like ‘no one is every going to hire me again!’, but I’m doing my best to remain optimistic. Of course there are moments that I wish I was at home, where I could have access to an abundance of hugs from my boyfriend, dad, sister and nan. I’ll have a little cry, wipe my tears, then sit back in front of the laptop and attempt to tell faceless strangers why I’m great, and why they should hire me.

As coldplay once said, ‘nobody said it was easy’. But I’m very fortunate to have such a loving support system around me. It’s so incredibly cheesy, but life really is too short to feel anything less than fulfilled. Hopefully I’ll have an update regarding my new ventures soon. If not, I may be flying back to the Emerald Isle to take up residence on an unassuming couch. (Advanced offers welcome).

Until the next life update!

~J

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My Two Cents on Trump

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This morning, a long with millions of others across the world, I woke to the news that America elected Donald Trump as it’s 45th President.

Donald Trump.

A man who has stepped into the shoes of the many greats that have gone before him. A man who has come out with the most vile, derogatory, sexist, racist and hateful remarks throughout this entire election. A man who cares more about his own ego and boasting about ‘grabbing women by the p**sy’ than anything else.  I think it’s safe to say those shoes have been irrevocably soiled. I can only imagine George Washington is turning in his grave.

I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on politics, in fact I’m far from it. But you don’t need to be an expert to know in your heart of hearts that this decision wasn’t the right one. America I understand your people are angry, fed up and wanting change, but this was your alternative?

How can a nation vote for a man who decided to enter politics on a mere whim, over a hard working woman who has built her entire career on it? Perhaps it’s hard for me to comprehend looking on through a European lens. I know I’m not an American, and I haven’t had to face the issues that a lot of them have, but it’s just baffling.
I know Hillary has her faults, as do many politicians. She’s untrustworthy, and she’s been embroiled in many a scandal. The infamous emails, her husbands sordid affairs, and of course whitewater. I understand Americans were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

It really was a case of having to choose the lesser of two evils. But surely Hillary was far far lesser?

Today I am sad for Hillary, and I am sad for women. But most of all I’m frightened. I’m frightened for the direction this world is taking. I am hurt that people can be this intolerant. I am shocked that so many can stand with a man who literally epitomises sexism, racism, fraud, exploitation and assault. I can only hope, as my gut tells me, that perhaps Trump is all bark and no bite.

Yes it’s awful to have a man that volatile as the president of one of the most powerful countries in the world, but is he really going to follow through on some of the outlandish things he’s said? We’ve already see him mellow, taking a more calm and collected approach with his victory speech. Will he really be able to throw up a giant wall on the Mexican Boarder? Can he seriously place a ban on all Muslims? Part of me is saying no, it’s all ridiculous nonsense. Classic trump rhetoric to stir things up and create shock and disgust. But it was naivety and complacency that rendered us all in a state of shock this morning.

So many of us, both in the US and beyond believed it would never happen. We laughed when he announced he was running. We scoffed and said he would never get the the nomination. We dismissed it when he did, believing that surely he would never get within a foot of the White House? Yet here we are. It wasn’t too long ago we were all picking our chins up off the ground after Brexit, and now we find ourselves doing the same thing.

I suppose there’s one thing I can give him – through gritted teeth albeit- and that’s his determination. The power hungry business tycoon managed to blag his way to the White House. How? I really don’t know.

So what’s going to happen next? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Judging from the reactions on social media this morning the world seems to be in a state of shock and panic.

Is America going to accept ‘President Trump?’ It would be ironic if they pointed the finger at him and said get out,  ‘You’re fired’. A line we’ve heard many times from the man himself back in his Apprentice days. Sadly it seems that America and the rest of the world will have to accept that President Trump is now in fact a reality, for at least the next four years.

I don’t know about you, but suddenly I’m thinking perhaps a president Kanye West in 2020 isn’t such a bad idea…

In all seriousness though, America we’re not laughing at you, we’re crying with you. ❤

A small glimpse into twitter’s reaction:

Earlier today it was announced that the annual John Lewis Christmas Advert is to be released tomorrow, thus lifting spirits somewhat. No Pressure…

An appropriate gif shows how it was by no means an easy decision for the electorate

If only..

2016 really is testing us..

Not Just a loss for Hillary, but a loss for women:

Many Celebs weighed in on the results:

Well Mr Adams, you do play the wonderful Mike Ross, so maybe you can overturn his presidency in a court of law? No? Please?

And then we have those directing their anger towards Florida..

Social media has been hopping since the news broke, a mixture of anger, sadness, and dark humour.

At this point I really don’t have anything left to say. I’m not even American yet I can’t help but feel shaken by the news this morning.  So I’ll  leave it there, and sign off by saying my thoughts are with my US friends and family, who I know are deeply and truly saddened by this result.

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The everyday struggles of a commuter

After the seriousness of my last post, I thought why not go back to the whingey ranty Jess that this blog has come to see a lot of?

At least once everyday I tweet some commute related frustration of mine. So I decided it’s about time I compiled them all into one go to blog post. (Not to say I’m going to stop moaning about it on twitter mind, I probably won’t).

So all you commuters out there, lets all unite in mutual misery. FYI If If you happen to be any one of the following ‘types’ of commuters that are mentioned in this blog, please, take note and change your ways. Immediately.  Here are my “Every Day Struggles of a Commuter”:

1. The Lack of Personal space
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If you’re hoping for a nice comfortable seat away from the rest of the masses you can forget about it. Unless you get on at the first station, are old, pregnant, or otherwise incapacitated. (Actually even then you’re still not guaranteed). Instead, you get to spend twenty minutes on a train and another ten on a tube pressed against other people’s sweaty backs. 🙂 🙂

2. Coming up against a seat hogger
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Okay this person is the worst. The one who takes up one of the precious rarity’s that is a spare seat with their shopping bags. Look, I get it. You want your space. We all do. But this is no time to be selfish. The worst part is they act like you’re doing them some massive inconvenience when you politely ask them to move.

3. The Ticket Inspector coming around after you’ve put your oyster card back in your bag
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Seriously. I’ve held it in my hand for the last half an hour and you choose to just appear and demand to see it when it’s probably swimming around in the sea of disorganisation and chaos that is my handbag? Rude.

4. The people who stand on left of the escalator
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Tourists I can maybe forgive, but for god sake people there are signs literally everywhere! ‘Please stand on the right’. I know walking the escalators can be a workout in itself and sometimes you just want to stand idly as you rise above ground (literally). But there are times when I am literally rushing to make the 18:01 train and some idiot is standing on the left of the escalator and I’m trapped. Probably going to miss my train and definitely cursing your existence.

5. Slow walkers with massive wheelie suitcases
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No, no, no just NO. Don’t get me wrong, in a city this size there are bound to people with suitcases travelling here there and everywhere. My issue is not with your suitcase (i’ve been there my friend), it’s with your inability to handle it. I know there’s nothing worse than having to lug baggage across public transport, but you need to learn the basic fundamentals of proper suitcase etiquette. Long quick strides, handle down as you walk up the stairs (never drag it up you’re asking for injury). And for heavens sake don’t suddenly stop dead in amongst a hoard of commuters. and don’t roll over my toes!

6. Platform Pushers
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Pushing me on the already crowded platform is not going to get you on to the train any faster. I know we all have to be ruthless in these situations, but come on. If you’re behind twenty others and there’s no room to sneak around the sides, well that’s your own tough shit.

7. The Smelly food eaters
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This has long been a common commuter complain of mine, but funnily enough I haven’t encountered too much of these creatures in London. I suppose there’s no real room to eat at the end of the day.

8. Delays, Cancellations and ‘Signal Failures’
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As IF my commute wasn’t horrendous enough, now because of yet another southeastern rail fuck up I’m spending the precious hours of my evening on a mobbed platform. Delightful. Just where I wanted to be and not snug in bed watching netflix.

9. The fear of falling asleep and missing your stop
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Okay this hasn’t actually happened to me yet (TG, Touch Wood)  but the fear is real. I always feel really uneasy when I see some poor tired soul asleep on the train. Like I know you’re tired, but I don’t want you to miss your stop hun. A guy I work with was coming home drunk one night. He only had to go to Kennington, which was two stops up on the Northern Line. He ended up in Gillingham. In Kent. In Southeast London. No shit, that actually happened. Just sellotape your eyes open and don’t take the chance.

10. Forgetting your earphones
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Easily, without doubt, hands down, the most painful of them all. Now you’re stuck actually having to listen to the insufferable sounds of other commuters. Screeching school children, the cougher, the snuffleupugus. The horrendous squeaking of the train against the tracks. Delightful .
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Getting to The Heart of Homelessness

So today I want to talk about something which I’ve witnessed more and more of since moving to London. Something we are all very much aware of, but often turn a blind eye to.

That something is homelessness.

I know it’s a rather grim topic and isn’t really in keeping with my usual light hearted or ranty pieces. But it’s important. And I feel like we need to keep the conversation going, at the very least. The last three months in this city have really opened my eyes. Behind the twinkling lights and the bustling excitement of London city life are real people on the streets. People without a home. People nobody cares about.

I suppose airing from rural Ireland, it’s something I was never really faced with on a daily basis. Sure I’d hear about the “poor homeless people” on the news.

But I never really witnessed their situation for myself. Only the odd time when I’d find myself in the country’s capital, and even then it was usually just the drug dealing chancers harassing me at the Luas stop. I made the mistake once of giving one of them a couple of euro for a “sleeping bag” only to see him a mere half an hour later sauntering around Abbey Street again, a pack of Malboro Lights in tow.

So how do you tell the genuine from the chancers? How do you distinguish between those who are desparate for food or shelter, and those who are just looking to con you out of a few bob? For me I suppose it comes down to gut instinct. I think the majority of us have enough cop on to recognise when someone is really in need and not just looking for a quick score.

 With that being said, It really angers me when I hear people say things like “sure it’s their own fault” “they are druggies” “they deserve to be homeless”. No. No one deserves to be homeless. Sure some people may have made some bad decisions, but haven’t we all?

When you think about it we are all only one step away from homelessness. All it takes is the loss of a job, the inability to pay rent, or a mortgage. Some of us are lucky. We have excellent support systems, loving families who will take us in at the drop of a hat if anything ever goes wrong. But not everyone in this world has that. Some people literally depend on only themselves.

Last Sunday I was walking through Liverpool Street with my boyfriend when another couple approached us. They didn’t look much older than us. In a perfect world you could say we were just two happy couples in love out enjoying a Sunday stroll in sleepy London. Only the other couples reality was far different from ours. They were homeless, and clearly starving. The guy politely interrupted us, apologised for what he was about to ask, and then went on to explain that he and his girlfriend were homeless.

He told us he’s been looking for work for a number of months, but can’t find a job. He asked us whether we had any change at all to spare so that they might be able to get some food or a place to stay for the night. I turned and looked at the girlfriend who was holding her hands to her face and my heart honestly tore in two. I couldn’t help but think how different our situations were. How did they end up in this situation? What if that was us? We didn’t have much cash on us, I could only give them £2.50 and my boyfriend only had change in Euro, but they gladly accepted this anyway. The guy then tried to give us one of the lighters that he was selling but we told him to hang on to it. I couldn’t stop thinking about them afterwards.

I am met with this sad reality every morning on my commute. Many homeless people sit outside at the top of the tube stations, thousands rushing past them, ignoring their existence. We are all guilty of it though. We have more important places to be. We don’t have time. It’s not our problem. They got themselves into this mess, they can get themselves out. Oh if the shoe was on the other foot.

Lately though, I’ve been noticing more and more people stop to talk to the homeless, or buy them food, or offer them some small token or gesture of kindness. Yesterday evening I saw a blonde woman give a homeless man a bottle of coke and a sandwich. He couldn’t stop saying thank you.

This morning at Old Street a man in a suit stopped to talk to guy and his dog sitting on a tattered sleeping bag. “Alright mate” , he said, before saying he couldn’t chat long this morning, but he would see him later. It’s truly heartwarming to see these little moments of kindness in the face of such destitution.

A couple of weeks ago I saw this on my Twitter timeline and teared up.

It would be great instead of shaking our heads and thinking “oh how awful” that we actually took action and did something for these people. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but something as small as a sandwich or a coffee is honestly so appreciated. If you find yourself on a serious budget (like myself), even a smile, a hello or a quick chat could really make all the difference. I know I’m starting to sound like one of those pushy charity workers you find yourself running away from on the street, but it’s just something I really wanted to talk about today. So if you’ve had a particularly shitty Tuesday like I have, be thankful in the knowledge that you have a warm house to go home to, food on your table, and a pillow to rest your head on.

There will be some very cold and lonely people out there tonight.

~J x

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Asking for it a Review: Social Media, Slut Shaming and The Issue of Consent

*Contains Spoilers*

I don’t normally do book reviews, but after recently finishing Louise O’Neill’s asking for it, I almost feel compelled. In fact I think it’s something I’ll start doing a lot more of. Since finishing college It’s great to finally have the freedom to read what I want to read again! So lets get down to it.

I picked up this wonderful gem whilst browsing Waterstones on a lazy afternoon last Saturday.
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The story follows Emma O’Donovan an 18 year old girl from a small town in Ireland.

It was one of those books I found myself wincing the entire way through. It invoked every single emotion in me, and some I didn’t even realise I had.

On the surface Emma seems to have it all, she’s popular, is surrounded by a group of friends and is incredibly beautiful. If I’m honest at first I found her character a little annoying. She’s selfish, inconsiderate, and obsessed with material things. She’s not a good friend and to be quite blunt about it, she’s a bitch.

However, I soon came to realise how important these elements of Emma’s character were for the development of O’Neill’s plot. She doesn’t create the stereotypical ‘good girl fall from grace’. Emma is desperate to prove herself. She does things she knows are reckless to test people’s perceptions of her. She constantly repeats the mantra ‘I am Emma Donovan I am Emma Donovan’, in an attempt to reassure herself that she knows who she is, she is confident and in control, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Deep down Emma is struggling with her sense of identity, placing all of her self worth on her physical attributes. It’s almost as if she views sex as a form of acceptance. She ends up being raped at a party by 4 boys she thought were here friends. The narrative that ensues as a result can only be described as heart breaking.

On the night in question Emma flirts with boys, wears a revealing dress, and even takes drugs. All actions which are used against her afterwards in an attempt to claim she deserved what happened to her, that ‘she was asking for it’. Pictures of Emma passed out on a bed with the boys taking advantage of her are uploaded to a Facebook page called ‘Easy Emma’. In one picture one of the boys is seen vomiting over her, while another urinates on her head, evoking a vile comment on the page saying ‘she deserves to be pissed on’. Emma is completely unresponsive in the pictures, but don’t worry ‘she was asking for it’.

The rest of the novel deals with Emma’s struggle to come to terms with what happened. The saddest part of it all is that like many victims of rape, she blames herself. She didn’t want to report the boys. She wanted to protect them. She even tries to apologise to them after  a school teacher contacts the guards. She lies and tries to pass it off by saying she was pretending to be asleep. It’s her fault her mother has taken to drinking and her father can’t look her in the eye or socialise with his friends. It’s her fault her brother has lost his girlfriend. It’s her fault her friends aren’t really her friends any more. It’s her fault the lives of the ‘Good Boys’ are ruined.

Only it’s not. It’s not her fault at all. And that’s the point O’Neill is cleverly hammering home. Emma gains national notoriety as ‘Ballinatoom Girl’, and it’s an all too familiar narrative. We’ve seen it with Ireland’s own ‘Slane Girl’, where photos of a young girl performing oral sex  at an Eminem concert surfaced on the internet. Of course she was the slut. She was the whore. She was the irresponsible one. No mention of the boys on the receiving end. Or the person who photographed it and circulated for the world to see.

‘Ballinatoom girl’ is not just a work of fiction. She is a representation of every woman who has fallen victim to harassment, assault, slut-shaming, and rape. She is someone’s daughter, sister and friend. She should not be dismissed. We need to talk more about consent and rape culture.

O’neill’s novel is forcing society to take a long hard look at itself. Why are we vilifying young girls for virtually everything they do? So what if they wear short skirts, drink vodka and post selfies. Does that mean they deserve to get raped? I just don’t understand why we are so quick to pardon the guilty and punish the innocent.

The shocking reality is this novel is everywhere. It’s real. It’s happening here in Ireland, and it’s happening all over the world. Take the recent Brock Turner case in the US. It honestly makes me sick to my stomach. A rapist serves 3 months of a pitiful 6 month sentence for the rape of a girl at a college party. But it’s okay. It wasn’t his fault. His life was ruined. Dreams of becoming a professional swimmer slashed as a result of what was it his dad put it? ’20 minutes of action’.

It was all her fault of course. The girl who’s name we don’t even know. The girl who was attacked. The girl who’s body was laid bare behind a dumpster for all to see. The girl who cried rape. The girl who can’t remember. The girl who was drunk.

It’s just not good enough. I am so grateful to Louise O’Neill and the many other talented and brave authors who are writing about this subject. Lets not give in to this ‘keep it quiet’ attitude that Ireland has long grown accustomed to. Let’s give our ‘Ballinatoom girls’ and our ‘Slane girls’ a voice. It’s the least they deserve.
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Life after the Leaving Cert- You are more than a piece of paper

So leaving cert results day is upon us once more. This morning thousands of Irish students across the country will open a brown envelope that they think will determine the course of their life. The truth is many of you will be overjoyed, but the other sad reality is many of you will be disappointed. And that’s Okay. I know we’ve heard this countless times.  Every year it’s the same spiel, ‘it’s not the be all and end all’ ‘there are ways and means around everything’. At the time they seem like throwaway comments to make those who didn’t quite get what they wanted feel better, but in actual fact it’s the truth. I didn’t believe it then, but I sure as hell do now. For anyone feeling a little let down today, let me share with you my leaving cert story.

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I sat my Leaving Cert in June 2011. (Still coming to terms with the fact that, that was five whole years ago). I was 17. The world was my oyster (or clam as I once very blondely referred to it).  For a long while I struggled to find what it was I actually wanted to do after school. All around me classmates were interested in being teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, radiographers, dietitians, pharmacists, scientists, vets, you name it. But I knew I didn’t want to be any of those things. They just didn’t appeal to me. It felt like there wasn’t a single course out there to suit me. It was by chance that I actually discovered my area of interest.

Surprise surprise it was actually at one of those tedious higher options fares that you only go a long to, to skive a day off school. But it turned out to be very useful. I realised that my passions lay with writing and the media. Within weeks I had decided that media and Journalism was the route for me. Looking back it definitely wasn’t one of the more advertised courses.

Anyway my friends agreed it was the perfect avenue for the blunt, outspoken Jess they knew. So I started working towards my goal. At roughly around 435 points in all of the colleges that offered it across the country, it was achievable. I decided on UL as my first choice. There was an extra entry requirement in most colleges of at least a B3 in English, but as far as I was concerned this wouldn’t be an issue. English was my subject. I loved it all the way up both primary and secondary school. As a child I was always writing stories in my spare time. Most people loathed Shakespeare and the the list of ‘boring dead white guys’ i.e  poets, but I loved it all. It was a welcome escape from algebra, equations and the Krebbs cycle.

I worked hard, I did my homework, listened in class, and did my bit of study every night. I didn’t kill myself, but I definitely applied myself. When the two weeks of exams came I was confident. I was happy with every exam bar English paper 2. I felt I over thought it a lot, which resulted in me panicking slightly through it, but aside from that I was home free.

Summer began and the worries of the results were put on hold until August. I went to Oxegen with my friends to celebrate. Almost every weekend thereafter was spent traipsing around the public houses of Kilkenny city. Summer 2011 was a good’un. Then came August and I was turning 18. A mere 3 days before results day. The excitement and simultaneous nervousness was rife.

I’ve spoken about it briefly in previous blog posts, but the night of my 18th was bitter sweet. Many of you reading probably already know, but my drink was spiked pretty badly. I ended up suffering an adverse reaction, which saw me confused and disorientated in hospital the night before results were out. The spiking caused a chemical imbalance in my brain so I was really unwell.  Not exactly what I had planned but sure hey. That’s a story for another day.

The morning of results came and my mam had gone in to collect my results and bring them home, seeing as I had only been released from hospital late the previous night. I’ll never forget the feeling of opening the envelope, hands shaking my entire future rested in what was enclosed. I ripped it open and quickly scanned to make sure there were no Ds or Fs. I saw As Bs and Cs. Relief. When I had calmed down enough to check what each grade was in, I was met with a wave of horror.
I just remember asking “What’s the second C in?” Everyone in the kitchen was silent. But it was there in black and white.
English: C1.

C fucking 1.  

I needed at least a B3. My sister added up my points and informed me that I had received 495. Amazing, 60 over what I needed. But it didn’t matter. I still couldn’t do what I wanted. My favourite subject had let me down. I had gone from an A/B student to a C. I threw the piece of paper on the floor and I ran down to my room. I was still suffering the affects of the spiking, so later that day I actually tried to convince myself my family had conspired against me and fabricated my results. I demanded to see the ‘real’ copy. It was all pretty crazy. In the days that followed I was in and out of hospital for check ups.

It soon transpired that I would be taking a year out before going to college. My family encouraged me that it was for the best. I was well and truly devastated. It was never part of my plan. But looking back I was too unwell to start, plus I didn’t get straight Journalism so I needed the time to figure out what I was going to do. In an instant all my college dreams were slashed. I felt like a failure. Watching all my home friends move away and start new and exciting lives in Dublin and beyond was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. Though my friends were amazing to keep in touch, I couldn’t help but feel left behind.

I never thought I would be the one it would happen to. I wasn’t going to be the disappointed one, no. Not me. Yet I ended up getting hit with a double edged sword. For the year I was off as a result of everything that happened, my mental health suffered a lot. I grew into myself and I was sad and lonely all the time. Who was blunt, outspoken Jess? Where was she? 

A dodgy drink and a piece of paper had ruined my life. (or so I believed at the time).

It wasn’t until the summer before I was due to start college the following year, that I truly started feeling like myself again. I realised the grade wasn’t a reflection on my abilities, and that what happened the night of my 18th wasn’t my fault. I went inter-railing and I re-discovered the spark in life. I had debated about repeating my English, but I didn’t want to go through the stress of it all again. Given it’s so subjective who’s to say some cranky old examiner wouldn’t have given me a C all over again?

My heart was still with UL though, so I decided to go for their New Media and English course instead. I could always do a post grad dip in Journalism after, if I so desired. Once I had gotten over the disappointment, I realised the range of options available at my fingertips.

So you see, I was more than the piece of paper. It just took me a little while to realise it. There’s an old cheesy quote that goes something like ‘sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck’, and I firmly believe that.

Five years on,  I’m working in London and flying home to graduate in 5 days. If it hadn’t been for everything that happened in August 2011, I wouldn’t have the friends, boyfriend, and wonderful memories and life experiences I have now.

So if you’re any way upset today, please know there is life after the leaving cert! It’s natural to feel this way, but I promise you, your dreams aren’t over.

So cry it out, drown your sorrows in a few naggins, but don’t let it hold you back. It didn’t define me, and it doesn’t define you.Plus life is more fun if there are a few twists and turns a long the way! The straight road is overrated.

You are more than a piece of paper.
~Jessie
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Repeal The 8th- Without the hate!

This is probably going to be one of my more controversial posts, of which there are few, but I feel I can’t stay quiet on the issue for much longer. It seems as if everyone and anyone is giving their two cents worth on social media these days, so I thought why not give mine. People are going to jump down your throat either way.

Repeal the 8th. Lets talk.

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Firstly let me make clear that personally I am pro-choice. I have always been pro-choice. I believe that every single woman should have the right to choose. But for goodness sake ladies what happened to respecting one another’s views, morals and beliefs? The fact of the matter is both sides of this campaign need to stop vilifying one another. The funny thing is, (and I did not expect this) but most of it seems to be coming from the pro-choicers. Which not only makes me sad, but ashamed of the turn this campaign has taken.

Over the last number of weeks I have been appalled at the amount of people I’ve seen shot down, shouted over, and dismissed simply because they are not pro-choice. What happened to engaging in mature debate?

Girls; I understand you’re passionate. I understand your drive for change, and believe me I understand you’re angry. But the way some (not all) of the campaigners are handling it is just largely counter-productive. Telling Sally she is a “backward bitch” because she is a strong advocate for pro-life isn’t strengthening your cause. That is something I’ve actually seen. A long with “old fashioned views” “catholic propaganda” and so on and so forth.

We need to be able to participate in dynamic discussions with people to make a real change. Oh and another thing? (you’re all going to hate me for this), But men matter too. Yep. They have an opinion on this too, and just because they don’t have ovaries does not mean they should be treated with any less respect. It takes two to tango, so why shouldn’t a man be able to have an opinion when it comes to the issue of abortion? It’s not as simple as a women’s bodily rights. Scream at me all you want, but it isn’t.

Sure it’s the woman’s physical body, and she absolutely 100% deserves to have full control over what happens to it. But the life inside of her doesn’t belong to just her. So forgive me when it makes my blood boil to see other women dismissing men whenever they try to engage in this issue.

There are so, so many elements of it to consider that are just continuously being overlooked (by both sides), to suit their own agendas. The mob mentality is growing on social media and it needs to stop. I have many friends, that for their own reasons are very much pro-life, but I would never dream of jumping down their throats in the manner in which I’ve seen.  Myself and my friends have had a number of discussions on the matter, in which everyone’s points were listened to and taken on board. You’d be surprised at how much you could learn by just shutting your gob for ten minutes and respecting what someone else has to say.

You don’t have to agree with it, but you have to accept that this is an extremely complex and sensitive issue, you aren’t going to convince everyone. Stop belittling those that are just as passionate about something as you are. Change isn’t going to happen via condescension.

Yes I would love nothing more than to #RepealThe8th, but in a manner which is considerate of the beliefs of my opponents.

Rant over.