Editorials

University Express 2018/2019 Editorials as Byline Editor.

Editorial #1, Issue 1, September 18th 2018

Editorials are, to me, the personal side-note of an editor; a snippet space in the paper where an editor truly has free rein to write as and about anything they wish. Some editorials introduce the theme of that particular issue of the paper with reference to some of the articles, some express the editor’s own opinion on a topical issue, some feature an anecdotal story or piece of advice, but all allow readers an insight into the editor’s own personal life and thoughts and this is the reason why I love editorials. Who doesn’t love a bit of personality? What makes this particular editorial especially significant is that it is my first. Not significant to anyone but me, true, but this is my editorial after all, so I can write about it.

I love writing. It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time now, and since starting college and coming to UCC I’m not only thinking that writing is what I want to do for a living, but also that writing is something I can do for a living. College; where dreams become goals. The first thing I did when I came to UCC in my first year was apply to be the Deputy-Features Editor for what was then called the UCC Express. I got the job, and that was the beginning. In my second year I went for Features Editor. I got that, too. This year, my final year, I am Byline Editor. Next year, who knows?

My point is this: if you have an interest, a passion, or even a curiosity about anything that you haven’t yet had the opportunity to explore, now is the perfect time: do it. UCC offers a range of societies and clubs that cover all angles of interest, genuinely; there is something for absolutely everyone. That one little thing I did in my first year of college, joining the Express team, was the best thing I’ve done. Joining whatever club or society it is that has caught your eye could turn out to be the best thing you do in college too, so do it.

If you’re interested in writing for University Express, or more specifically Byline, do not hesitate to get in touch. My inbox is always open to everyone; for those who wish to write for us, express an opinion, respond to an article or topic discussed, anything at all. Even just a chat, I’m always up for that: byline@uccexpress.ie

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #2, Issue 2, October 2nd 2018

I’ve been having three or four coffees a day. If you think that’s a lot of caffeine, I probably shouldn’t mention the two to three mugs of tea I’ve been having on top of that. My stomach, and head, hurt. What’s worse than the amount of caffeine-heavy hot beverages I’ve been consuming, is the lack of decent food to go with it, and the lack of actual sleep I’ve been craving caffeine to replace. I say it’s because I haven’t had the time; I’m so busy, up the walls, can’t sit down for food, I don’t have time to eat, I’ll just grab something quick, an apple or protein bar will do, I can eat that while I walk to this lecture or that meeting or while I type…

It isn’t ok, though. The only things in life you absolutely have to do are breathe, sleep, drink water, and eat. Not having enough time is no excuse. There exists no valid excuse for not eating. You have to make time to feed and nourish yourself. The essay can wait fifteen minutes, you can send the email after, you can make that call after, you can push that meeting back a bit, to make time to eat. And to eat well. An apple for breakfast and a coffee for lunch is not enough, of course it isn’t enough, and we know it. I don’t need to go in to the many far better alternatives that there are, because we know them.

Sleep is one of the few things in life that you can’t replace. It’s psychological fact that once you’ve lost out on sleep, it’s impossible to ‘catch up’ on; if you get 4 hours one night, getting 12 hours the next will not equate to an average of 8 hours a night. Sleep doesn’t work like that. We underestimate the vitality of sleep, but I won’t go in to that either because we know at least the basics of the importance of sleep, and that should be enough for us to make sure that we get it.

One little thing I’ve been doing to help me switch off from the craziness of the days, the back-to-back jampacked schedule and the constantly-in-contact communication through the hundred and one group chats and emails: disconnecting my phone. After a certain time in the day, when I feel I’ve done all I’ve needed to do, sent all the emails I needed to send and contacted all the people I needed to contact to discuss all the things I needed to discuss, I put my phone on aeroplane mode and set it aside until the morning. We have this fear of missing out if we don’t have our phones constantly switched on and connected to Wi-Fi or 3G/4G ready to buzz the instant a notification comes through, but do you know what I’ve found? I’ve been missing nothing. Nothing of urgent import, anyway.

It isn’t going to kill you to turn off your phone an hour or two before bed (at a reasonable hour) in order to switch off from the world and allow your head some space to wind down and ease its way into a far superior, undisturbed sleep. Losing out on sleep and not nourishing yourself by eating well and enough may not outright kill you, but it certainly doesn’t contribute to your life’s longevity.

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #3, Issue 3, October 16th 2018

How are we half-way through first semester already? I hear us all asking ourselves; starting to worry about up-coming in-class tests, assignment deadlines and the threatening reality of Christmas Exams getting closer and closer. “We have loads of time!” is no longer a comforting assertion because it is no longer true. We don’t have loads of time, but we do have time.

I always find that the thought of all the things I need to do, when I look at everything collectively, is ominously overwhelming; “I just can’t deal with all of this”, you think, and instead of actually being productive, making use of the time you have by doing things bit by bit, you just retreat into an “oh my god I’m so stressed” ball of denial and end up procrastinating to the point of not doing anything at all.

I can promise you that the thought of all you have to do is much less daunting than what you actually have to do. You might not feel like it, but you have time. Even if you don’t have as much time as you’ll need to get everything done, you have time to get a good chunk of that everything done, at least, which is a lot better than nothing.

Dedicating three or four hours a day to making out notes, reading a few articles, or getting a start on the research for assignments may not seem like an awful lot but it is more than what you will get done, or rather fail to get done, if you just think about it instead of doing it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but once you start getting into a routine of a little, perhaps, but steady productivity, you will realise how much time you and all of the people around you spend thinking instead of doing.

I really don’t mean to sound harsh or intolerant; of course down-time and relaxation is so important (extremely so, and I am a huge advocate of some decent, especially allocated ‘me-time’, as I call it) but you cannot keep declaring “I have so much to do!” if you waste the 5 or 6 hours of free time you have in a day messing around doing nothing really, and not being in any little way productive. Absolutely meet your friend for coffee or lunch for an hour or two, but spend the other 3 or so hours free you have in the library or wherever it is you work best doing some study or note making or assignment doing.

Time management. I hate saying it, even more than I hate hearing it (mainly from my mother, but I thank her for it… eventually). It’s a basic skill, and we all know how to do it, so I won’t get into the ‘how’. Using your time cutely will make your life a whole lot easier, most especially in the few weeks coming up to assignment deadlines and exams. Take a moment to think of all the time you spend scrolling through Instagram or snapchat stories on your phone. It might not be 3 hours in any one sitting, but if you add up all the minutes you spent on your phone throughout the day (some phones track this statistic for you, check if yours does) you’ll be shocked at the number.

If you do a little bit everyday between now and the week before your in-class test, your assignment deadline, your exam, or whatever event in the near future it is you are worrying about, you’ll have a lot less to do in the shorter time you’ll have to do it, and therefore a lot less to worry about and stress over. Less stress, more success, right?

It scares me, how much I’m beginning to sound like my Mum. It scares me even more how often I hear my friends telling me I sound like their Mum.

Oh well, take care.

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #4, Issue 4, October 30th 2018

I write this at noon on a Friday, just after an exam which will be my last of this semester; all I have left to face is approximately 20,000 words worth of assignments and an in-class presentation – breezy (I’m kidding, of course, but I dislike exams more than I do assignments because of my inability to perform well under time-pressure, so I must admit I am relieved). I’ll enjoy the relief for the weekend; it being Jazz Weekend, I intent to make the very best of it. As a passionate lover of music, I’m very excited about finally, for the first time, getting to experience Jazz Weekend in Cork. You’ll be reading this after the fact, I realise, so I’ll hold back my Jazz discussion for the next issue. (Spoiler).

Over the past few weeks, University Express has been carrying out some very important research, which we reveal the results of in this issue. The aim of the research was to find out to what extent racism is an issue on campus; if people of various ethnicities experience racism first-hand or are witness to it, and also if students of UCC feel that racial issues, when they do arise, are well dealt with by the college. Ciaran Dineen, News Editor, reveals the findings of the Racism Survey, while Fergal Smiddy, Features Editor, delves into a deeper discussion on what the findings mean and tell us about racism, how prevalent it is and our approach to it, in UCC.

Although the response was relatively low (137 of 20,000 students), we believe that the research was successful in highlighting some of the issues that do arise in UCC, as well as opening up a discussion on racism. This discussion is important because racism still exists. Seems like an obvious statement, but we don’t talk about it as much as we do other social issues, which isn’t good enough.

In other news, tomorrow is Halloween. I was always fascinated by the way dressing up for Halloween, although becoming incredibly un-cool between the ages of about 10 and 18, spikes in popularity in college. You feel un-cool, or rather like you’re trying (and failing) to be cool, when you go out in normal clothes on Halloween night. Every year I am impressed by the cleverness of some students, and the clear effort they put into their costumes. Because of a lack of organisation or want to put in the effort (I confess my motivation for dressing up when going out on a normal night is low, not to mind on Halloween night), I always take the lazy route. One year I attempted Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction) and ended up looking like a drunken secretary who had left her suit jacket in the pub she was in before the club. And that was the year I made an effort. I’ve promised myself I’m going to try this year. I will let you all know how it goes.

Until next time.

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #5, Issue 5, November 13th 2018

Why have my editorials no titles? I hear nobody ask.

I thought it would be cool to have a collection of editorials simply numbered rather than titled, so that they would appear as a list of chronologically ordered thoughts or mindsets, seeing as mine are more like diary entries or extracts from a first-person narrative – Life of Ciara D., ‘Chapter #5’. I forgot to consider, however, the click-bait theory; who reads a block of text without having the slightest idea as to what it might be about? I am beginning to realise there may be a flaw in my numerically aesthetic plan.

Apparently there is a ‘Five Seconds Or Less’ rule – people decide within the first five seconds of seeing an article whether or not they’re going to read it. It is the title that people see first, or at least it is the title that stands out most, and thus the title that is the determining factor. As such, it is worth putting careful thought into the title; it must convey the subject that the piece deals with, make clear the stand or position it takes, and be smartly phrased: short and sweet, interesting and clear.

A thesis statement, it being a title to an essay, thus needs the same care and attention when it comes to its composition. You may know exactly what you aim to discuss, prove or disprove in your essay, but compiling your position, aim, method and point into a concise, clear and eloquent title statement can be, to put it frankly, bloody tedious.

I have six essays due before Christmas, which could be why I am thinking about this. Productive or procrastination in disguise?

My point, I think, is that having an idea about what you want to write about and giving the idea a title before you even write the essay or article can be really beneficial. Having a title statement to refer back to, as you do to questions in exam situations, will keep you on point and prevent you from going off on irrelevant tangents, while also narrowing your focus and thus making research much easier. Keeping the title in mind will ensure that the information you seek out and use is relevant to your argument or discussion.

When writing an essay, it isn’t a bad idea to construct the title before the body of the essay. In the words of John Irving, “Titles are important; I have them before I have books that belong to them.”

For those that do read my editorials, my fortnightly musings (thanks for always supporting me, Mum, my number one fan), there are two things I promised I would follow up on: Jazz Weekend and Halloween. Jazz was, of course, great (I’ll be releasing a piece on that shortly so do keep an eye out). I ended up not going out or dressing up for Halloween, so sadly I have no embarrassing story about a failed costume.

Now for the issue at hand, or in hand (your hand). If you’re feeling like you need a good laugh, we have some great humour pieces from Humour Editor, Callum Casey and Joe Cunningham in the Film & TV section with Joe’s piece on the many types of cinema-goer (which one are you?). Cian McGrath is tying in nicely with Joe this week, discussing the trials and tribulations of game-to-film adaptations. Caoimhe Coleman, Music Editor, reveals her findings on weeks of research inspired by the uncovered scandals of many artists, deliberating the pressing dilemma: can we separate art from artist? If you’re feeling in need of some quality ‘me-time’, Rían Browne, Sexpress Editor has written a wholesome piece offering some great self-care advice. We have two great interviews this week; one with artist Will Sliney, the other with saxophonist and music producer Laura Misch.

I hope you enjoy.

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #6, Issue 6, November 27th 2018

Who is excited for Christmas? I am. I can second Joe Cunningham’s reflection, expressed in his fantastic article about all the must-re-watch Christmas movies, that as we get older Christmas becomes less about the presents and more about other inarguably better and far more important things: the quality time we spend with family and friends, the fluffy PJ’s and movie nights in front of the fire, the Christmas songs, and the food of course. I love the weather, I love the cosy-dark evenings (when I get to spend them at home in front of the fire), the refreshingly cool, biting air (nothing cures a winter-celebration-induced hangover like the cold, fresh air of a winter’s day), but most of all I love getting my friends and family the best presents I possibly can.

Christmas shopping, the getting of the gifts and presents, can often add unwanted stress to the festive season for many that struggle to think of what to get, but also for those that are stuck (as students we feel this struggle acutely) for funds. But not to worry; you need not break the bank with gifts, and I have done up a little Christmas Shopping Special piece especially for this issue that I hope will inspire those struggling to think of what to get their family, friends and Secret Santas this year.

Not to mind the Christmas shopping, as college students we’ve also got Christmas exams and assignments to get through. Caoimhe Coleman advises how best to use music to accompany our study, a great piece which you will find in the music section. My personal favourite tip is the one about a playlist that is exactly 40 or 50 minutes long so that you know when it’s time to take a study break, to get up and stretch your legs. Be clever with the use of your time over the next few weeks so that you’re not left cramming and doubly stresses when it comes to the week/night before your exams – a little bit every day goes a long way.

Make sure also to feed and nourish yourself properly, and to stay well hydrated and reasonably caffeinated. You’ve got this, we’ll all get there; we’ll be hitting the 12 pubs in our Christmas jumpers and enjoying the festivities more thoroughly and guilt-freely come December 21st when all exams are officially over. (Enjoy your festive and celebratory drinks responsibly, and respect all those in pubs and restaurants that work through the Christmas – it’s rough enough having to work at Christmas without dealing with drunken, rude and ignorant people that show no patience or consideration for others around this time.)

Remember that this time of the year, as wonderful and all as it feels for the most part, can be a really lonely and particularly hard time for a lot of people. Look out for friends that you know have recently lost a loved one, perhaps have recently gone through a break-up, or are just going through their own struggles and may not be feeling the greatest this Christmas. Rían, our Sexpress editor, offers some great self-care advice if you’re feeling like you’re in need of a bit of TLC yourself. Do take care, of yourself and your loved ones, this Christmas. Wishing you all a lovely one.

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #7, Issue 7, January 29th 2019

And we’re back. It doesn’t take long for it to start feeling like we never had the long break we did, but is that really a bad thing? A break is great, wonderful, and definitely well-needed from time to time, but it really is great to get back into a more structured, disciplined and motivated routine, even if we don’t like to admit it and/or complain about it the whole time.

I hope everyone had a wonderful time during the holidays, that you enjoyed some well-deserved rest and recuperation, as well as the essential seasonal indulgence and seshing, and are feeling refreshed and ready to smash secound semester.

Just think, it won’t be long now until we’re off for the summer – a scary and sobering thought with this also meaning the incoming of summer exams. However, at the same time, this is a very exciting thought as we’re that bit closer to the summer plans that await us after the dreaded exams.

Are you feeling the whole New Year, New You, or are you just throwing the phrase around ironically, like myself because honestly does it even really matter? What about you was in need of a change anyways, am I right? The beginning of a new year can be strange; we’re expected to feel optimistic and highly motivated, making no mark on a clean slate, but this can only leave us feeling awful guilt and defeat when things don’t suddenly, drastically improve.

You can make positive changes in your life at any time; it doesn’t have to be a new year or a Monday or any particular time at all. It was 5pm on a Sunday evening in mid-January when I finally did something, I’ve been saying for so long I’d love to do: I started a blog. Only took me 5 years of thinking about it… It’s ciaraday.com, if you’re looking.

Back to Byline. For this issue, we have a two-page spread dedicated to a new and improved Fashion section – give a warm welcome to the newest member of the Byline team: Fashion Editor, Sadhbh Sullivan! Sadhbh joined us in early January and has been working hard on the perfect first piece. We think it’s fabulous, and are confident that we’re not just being biased, but check it out for yourself! While you’re at it, check out Sadhbh’s amazing personal fashion blog sadhbhers.ie.

We have really spoiled ourselves in terms of interviews for this first issue of the secound semester, with one in the music section as well as the interview section. Caoimhe Coleman has an interview with King Nun in the Music section, and we also have an interview with the wonderful whenyoung, who’s gig in Cyprus Avenue I had the pleasure of going to. A really great band, and definitely a name to watch.

That’s all from me for now, unless you’d like to show a gal some love and give my blog a follow – that would be fab.

Yours, Ciara D.

Editorial #8, Issue 8, February 19th 2019

It never fails to amaze me just how relentlessly we as college students are dedicated to the sesh. I am not condoning our carry on. I am not condemning it, either. I am, out of sincere, non-judgmental fascination, simply making an observation of our creature-ness. We are filthy. I do not need to go into a list of examples or refer to any particular incident – one need only be on, near or around campus and/or college road at some point, any point, any time of day any day, last week. I hope everyone is treating their bodies to some much needed, wholesome nutrition and pure, unadulterated hydration this post-RAG week.

Further than physical, bodily self-care, here is a friendly reminder that in addition to the many other stresses that may be niggling away at your mind the weeks you don’t go out on a mad one or two or five, such an excess of alcohol and any other recreational substances that may be consumed can really aggravate an anxious, worrying or unhappy mind. So, when I say mind yourself I don’t just mean drink water and eat well. Take care of your head, too. There are loads of ways one can do this, and everyone has their own routine, but do make sure to put it into particular practice post-sesh. On top of the substance-induced stresses on the mind, such sessions can often, for many, come with social stresses and/or difficulties, too. Keeping this in mind, while looking out for yourself, look out for friends too. Check in, catch up, plan a wholesome, energy and motivation replenishing, re-charge night in.

Another very special (I say this with a sarcasm steeped in cynicism) event happened last week: Valentine’s Day. Or, as our humour editor Callum Casey refers to it in his section this week, the Capitalist Holiday. If you have a very special someone in your life and spent a lovely time with them this Valentine’s Day, then good for you. Genuinely, I mean that. As cynical and all as I am about the whole thing, good for you anyone who, in the face of all the cynical jokes, piss-taking and giving out that is done about it, went and planned something special for themselves and their significant other to enjoy. See, romance isn’t dead – its unavoidable, unbreakable, relentless it seems. It creeps in whether we embrace it or not. Cute stuff happens; between family, between friends, between lovers. We all engage in a kind of romance in some way, shape or form from time to time whether we are aware, accepting, or happy of the fact or not.

A few weeks back, I was delighted to get to speak with Finn, the man behind Uppbeat, a Dublin-based rapper originally from Mayo with a unique approach to his music projects. You can read all about it in the interview section. In this issue we welcome Sirius Speculation, constellation and cosmos specialist with a special talent for predicting the fortnightly fortunes of the zodiac signs. Find out your sign’s fate in the humour section. For those with an interest in the aesthetics of life, Sadhbh walks us through the need-to-knows of Fashion Month in the Fashion section, while the film buffs and fans of Liam Neeson who have been feeling hurt, confused and generally misled after recent headlines can find comfort in the logic outlined by our always reliable Film & TV Editor, Joe Cunningham. Much more fantastically interesting reads to be found throughout Byline, as always, brought to you by the most wonderful team of editors and writers whose praises I will never cease to sing.

Much love,

Ciara D.

Editorial #9, Issue 9, March 12th 2019

Before reading Éadaoin Regan’s brilliant Arts & Literature section, I had no idea what the word ‘penultimate’ meant. I misspelled ‘Brookfield’ on the campaign posters I made for the Student Media and Satellite Common Rooms referendum (I am an English student). I also mixed up my deadline dates so wrote all of what you’ve just read last week at five minutes to a non-existent deadline before figuring out I was a week early. If this doesn’t tell you how my final semester of my final year is going, I don’t know what will.

I am not the only one feeling like this. Even if you’re not in final year, which let me tell you adds a slightly more terrifying aspect to the thought of looming exams knowing they’ll be your last, it’s that time of the year where everyone is feeling up against it. Between exams, assignments, placement, sorting summer plans, and all of the other things going on at the same time, it gets to feel a bit much at times. You may start to feel overwhelmed and like you’re not ready or just can’t handle everything.

You’re not the only one, though – we are all going through, or at least go through, times like these. A lot of it is really exciting, though, and not at all as daunting as the thought. It’s like going to the gym – it’s the thought of it that’s the worst part; once you’re there you’re flying and have a great time, wondering why the hell you wasted so much time dreading it and putting it off in the first place. Just go.

Last Thursday, the 7th March, it was announced that the capitation referendum in support of student media was passed. I just want to take a moment right here to say thank you to everyone who supported us by voting yes. Apart from the massive beneficial difference it’s going to make to all students, it really does mean so much personally to those of us involved in student media. We wouldn’t be here without you, really, so thank you.

As always, the wonderful Byline team have us spoiled with the quality of the articles yet again this issue. Our Fashion section even has handy little cut-outs for those of us who struggle to understand what the hell all the little triangle pictures and symbols on our clothing tags mean – thank you Sadhbh! An interesting debate around the issue of violence in video games is bought to us courtesy of Gaming Editor, Cian McGrath, while Film & TV Editor, Joe Cunningham, satisfies the movie buffs by giving us his reflection on the Oscars and an interesting piece about the relationship between politics and TV. Caoimhe Coleman, Music Editor, provides us with a great lowdown of a band that’s created a community of its own – have you heard of IDLES? While we’re on music, do you know of ASH? Regardless, be sure to check out the nicely similarly vibed Music section and Interview.

This is to name but a few of the great sections we have for this issue, and the amazing editors we have here in the Byline family. Much love to them, and to you – our readers, because, like I said, we literally would not be here without you.

Yours,

Ciara D.

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