Why I Picked My Masters: Fodhla O’Connell-Grennell

What is your current area of study?

I am studying the MSc Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society in DCU.

What previous qualifications have you obtained?

I studied in Griffith College Dublin for four years which is where I graduated from two degrees: BA Journalism and BA Communications and Media Production.

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

COVID-19 definitely influenced my decision to pursue a postgraduate course. Originally, I had planned to take one year out to focus on getting a job and settling before doing my master’s degree part-time. However, when COVID hit, jobs were scarce and I even saw one entry role asking for 8-years’ experience! That’s when I decided it would probably be worth my while to do my masters full-time during the pandemic.

Fodhla completed her MSc in DCU.

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

I went straight into my postgraduate course after my undergraduate due to COVID-19. I was very stressed about getting a full-time job which aligned with my interests when finishing my undergrad so when it just wasn’t happening for me, I felt that it would be best if I furthered my skills through education. I took time over the summer to create my own mini-internship where I reached out to smaller companies to see if I could lend my skills to them. I took some photos and edited them of a model, I worked on visual communications on social media for Conscious Cup Campaign, I designed a brochure for a psychotherapy clinic and I also wrote blogs, which I am still doing, for Sustainable PR.

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

Due to the nature of my undergraduate degrees, I had the opportunity to explore what is going on in the world, what is important and to write about these topics. When it came to climate change and sustainability-related topics, I found my passion. Therefore, firstly I researched about all the related postgraduate courses. When I saw this course in DCU, I knew it was on the money because of the media and society aspects. The cost was quite low from what I had initially assumed a masters would cost and by its module descriptions and course content, it seemed like something I would really enjoy.

Did your course meet your expectations and why?

Yes, it definitely met my expectations and more! Most of the media modules touched on theories I had learned in my undergrad; as did my society-related modules too. However, these modules put everything I had learned into a climate change perspective which I found very useful. I am very happy with the course as my knowledge has improved immensely about our changing climate. I have gotten the chance to also learn about the science of climate change and policy and governance too; things which I would have been apprehensive to study before. Learning about these modules has given me more confidence to speak about what climate change is and most importantly, the solutions which can be used to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.

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

The area I definitely would love to go into is environmental communications. However, I am also currently completing my climate change education module and I can really see myself working in this area too. In terms of environmental communications, there isn’t a huge number of roles out there in this area, however, it is a growing industry. I would love to pursue a role as an environmental investigative reporter or else in a newsroom on environmental beat. However, I am quite open-minded too about what role in this industry I could take, for instance, I would also love to work as part of a sustainability team in a company or in sustainable public relations.

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

Start writing. This was key to me figuring out what my interests are. Even if you can remember what your favourite assignment was in your undergrad, start there and ask yourself why it was your favourite. I think a lot of the time, the answer can be really obvious, but often overlooked because of stress. Even if you don’t adore an area you are studying, once you are able to further your skills in a specific area, it always looks good on your CV!

Fodhla O’Connell-Grennell

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