Why I Picked My Masters: Chloe O’Keeffe

What is your current area of study?

I’ve just begun my second semester of the Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Limerick.

What previous qualifications have you obtained?

My undergraduate was in a BA in New Media and English.

What made you decide to pursue a postgraduate course? Did Covid-19 influence your decision?

I think I always had it in my head to pursue a Masters at some stage. Journalism was always the career I’ve wanted to pursue, and as there was already graduates with Bachelors in Journalism, I felt I needed a little extra to go with my English degree. I’m quite young as well. I’m 21 years old. I don’t find age to be an important factor as such, but I do feel the extra year studying with a MA will help me mature. Covid was a huge factor when it came to weighing up my options in terms of postgraduate studies. Firstly, it was the money aspect of things. I lost my job due to Covid during the Summer so considered deferring my application. There was no post- undergraduate jobs available that suited me. I was very lucky to secure a part time job nearing the end of Summer which made the choice of going into MA studies for me. When looking at grants for funding my postgrad I was told that balancing a job and a MA would be almost impossible but from my experience, and with a little organization and will power I disagree.

Did you take time out and work or go straight into your postgraduate course following your undergraduate degree and why?

I went straight into a postgraduate Masters, as there were no jobs in the job market for my degree. Doing a MA during Covid and online is definitely difficult and gruelling at times, but I do think it was the best option for my circumstances. My lecturers are all wonderful and very understanding. I’m also able to work a part- time job which is the main funding for my MA which is ideal.

What factors did you take into consideration when selecting which course to pursue?

The main factors when choosing the University of Limerick was the price, and the fact that UL has its own designated Journalism course. There are only a handful in Ireland, I believe. I know Limerick and UL like the back of my hand so that definitely influenced me also, as I can see myself in Limerick for a few years yet. Many UL Journalism graduates go on for amazing roles, and this course also provides students with placement once finished if needs be.

Did your course meet your expectations and why?

All in all, I’m very happy with my choice to study an MA in Journalism. I’ve learned a lot in the first semester and know I will learn much more in the semester ahead of me. I’ve quite a bit of writing experience but have no radio or television experience at all. From my experience in applying to radio stations you need some degree of experience. Last semester we had a class on radio broadcasting, which I was very sceptical about but ended up really enjoying. Likewise, this semester there is a television class, and I’m very excited to learn how to edit and use the softwares accordingly.

What role do you hope to go into once you complete your postgraduate course?

My end goal has always been a career in journalism. This course has definitely helped as I have a little experience in radio and will get experience in television also. I know this course will greatly benefit me, as I will be qualified in journalism after which I hope will make me more hireable in the journalism sector rather than an English degree.

What advice would you give to someone unsure as to what they should study at postgraduate level?

Don’t be afraid to take a gap year to assess what you would like to pursue. Talk to your family and friends about the pros and cons of courses, and it will eventually make sense to you.

Chloe O’Keeffe

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