Engineering Chic

I get the most bewildering reactions from people when I tell them I’m an Engineer, it’s almost always met with the same response; “gosh, you don’t look like an Engineer, how many girls were in that class with you?” But what’s an Engineer supposed to look like?

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At this point I start to lose people when they assume I’m some glorified electrician working for the ESB and they are horrified that some blonde wan is wandering around in the dirt with overalls and a hardhat. While some projects might land me on site, and yes I do own a couple of hard hats, (it doesn’t give you hat hair), Engineering is so much more than people realise. I am a qualified Electrical Engineer and while I won’t be joining the workforce until June (I got sidetracked and decided to do a Masters), I wanted to give a little information on my journey, my course and my future career.

Why do WE need Electrical Engineers?

Providing electrical power in a modern economy is about generation, distribution and usage in a safe, economic and sustainable way. Fossil fuel energy now combines with solar, wind and tidal energy to create “embedded” generation which needs a “smart grid” to automatically switch users and suppliers in and out while maintaining the quality of the supply. Now this sounds mighty complicated doesn’t?

What does an Electrical Engineer do?

Designs & evaluates electrical systems, products, components, and applications by designing and conducting research programs; applying knowledge of electricity and materials. Confirms system’s and components’ capabilities by designing testing methods; testing properties.

Generally, this is in industrial sized terms, housing is more domestic and small scale, so the next time you walk through a big fancy building it is an Electrical Engineer who has designed and evaluated the electrical system for it and tested it for our safety.

Most Engineers work in a design office, and that’s where I’ll be starting my Graduate Programme, but there is always an opportunity to work on site depending on what sort of experience you would like. My dad is an Electrical Engineer and he hates being stuck in an office, so he much prefers moving from site to site viewing the progress of different projects.

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Electrical Engineering as a Course

Now this is where I should come clean, Engineering was not some childhood dream I had when I was younger, I sort of happened across it, (like when you end up in the wrong queue in the supermarket and you just have to go with it). I had my heart set on being a power-house solicitor in a smart suit with chic heels. Engineering was not on my radar, because I thought it was for boys and I hadn’t taken physics for my Leaving Cert.

But after a brief epiphany in room B269 during the CIT Open Day it was moved to the top-spot of my CAO for CIT, and I got it. There I was landed into Electrical Engineering, 18 years of age and the only girl. I almost ran out of it screaming, but I didn’t, I loved the course content.

I will warn anyone contemplating Engineering, it’s all maths! Even the subjects they name something different, it’s going to be calculations based. But you know what the best thing is? Essays become a dreaded thing of the past, (until your final year project) and you get spend time in the lab building circuits and writing programmes.

The first year in Engineering is spent leveling the playing field, everyone is brought up to the same level in terms of maths and physics, and the electrical circuit analysis classes, you are all as lost as each other, believe me!

My Advice to Girls…

I was the only girl in my course, and it was lonely sometimes and quite daunting, and I second guessed my self a lot, I thought because I was the only girl I was going against some stereotypical norm, that maybe girls shouldn’t be Electrical Engineers, ( I was the only girl out of 48). But I was good at the course, I excelled with ease and got a First Class Honour, I was perfectly suited to Engineering.

So, with the CAO applications officially opening on February 1st, I implore you girls to consider Electrical Engineering, if you are into Applied Maths, Algebra, Calculus and you are highly analytical, a general over-thinker (like all girls, really), then maybe Engineering might just be what you’re looking for.

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But stay true to yourself, I didn’t and I got a bit lost along the way. I have a beauty blog, I’m a qualified Makeup Artist and I love having my nails, lashes and hair done. But I thought in order to be taken seriously in Engineering I should dim my light a little and wore tracksuits to College and didn’t put much emphasis on my hair and makeup, and that crushed me a little. It’s how I got side-tracked, decided a life in Engineering wasn’t for me because of this, which led me to a Business Masters where I could focus on my blog and marketing in general.

And guess what I got bored, I got so bored (not from the course I might add, the MSc in International Business is a fantastic add-on to my skill-set and I now have a very unique qualification at just 23 years of age), but nevertheless I was bored. It wasn’t until I was put in a group to design an APP for a sustainable energy in the Nimbus in CIT, (a team with a female Engineer), that I got to get to grips with a technical project again and I fell madly in love with the idea of Engineering.

Suddenly I wanted to be this stand out female engineer that incorporated all makeup artist, all beauty blogger and all Electrical Engineer. And guess what, I walked into a job, now don’t get me wrong, it took 5 years of hard work and dedication, but the minute I started being true to myself  everything fell into place.

We need more women in Engineering, because we were born to stand out.

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For more information about my course click here

And for an absolutely kick-ass female Engineer that inspire me daily; Authentically Ella

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12 Things I’m going to do when I’m finished my Masters

As most of you know, (generally because I tend to slip it into every possible conversation topic, usually surrounding how EXHAUSTED I am from it), I’m currently attempting to finish a Masters in International Business in CIT. And while the end of my Masters will draw six long years at CIT to a close, (a place I have grown up so much that I will indeed be sad  to say goodbye to), as I juggle an internship, a part-time job and a blog on top of my Masters, I can’t help long for the days where it won’t be all I think about.

So while recovering from a shoulder dislocation, awaiting probable surgery, (I’m really just here for the sympathy vote), I decided to make a list of all the things I plan to do when I’m finished. The majority of these will require tea, pj’s and Netflix.

1.Spend 72 hours under a blanket on the couch binge watching Gossip Girl, Riverdale and every other trashy teenage TV series on Netflix, (sorry Mam), with zero guilt.

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2.  Get up to date with Scandal, I’m only on Season 2, so no spoilers please, and if someone could point Olivia Pope’s stylist my way that’d be fab, I need to learn the art of Power Dressing for my big girl job in June.

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3.Go for an after work drink without having the fear of not being in the library or reading for my impending Lit Review.

j law drinking wine4.Read something interesting without having to critically analyse, paraphrase and Harvard Reference. (Broke Masters Student, 2018.)

harvard referencing cat5.Stop buying handbags based on whether my laptop and college notes fit in.

giant-bags.jpg6.Base my year around events, concerts and trips and not report deadlines and project due dates.

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7.Travel, now I don’t mean bag-packing across Cambodia for 3 months, but a weekend in London would be nice or a three day stint in Iceland or Amsterdam would be great for the ‘gram.

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8.Buy magazines and chick-lit novels in Easons rather than educational reference books and stationery. Honestly, I am more into reading my horoscope than current affairs.

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9.Be an actual grown up. This is the real scary one, no longer am I classed as a student, which I believe still allows you to float around aimlessly, I will actually have to contribute to society, I will be transitioning from broke, exhausted Masters Student to broke, exhausted Graduate Engineer.

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10.Understand the concept of weekends again. I will no longer have to work weekends or pretend to catch up on coursework. I could do all of the things, like go for walks, roadtrips, go to the gym or meal prep for the week ahead. Or I could blow my wages in a less sensible manner by going out on a Saturday night without worrying about Sunday work hours.

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11.Start watching The Vampire Diaries again from the start, because, well, I can.

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12.Contemplate applying for a PhD, (sorry Mam & Dad).

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Graduation in October seems like a good while off yet and it seems highly dubious to name me the Master of anything!

Until then,

Barbara

 

 

Afternoon tea with Eimear Varian Barry

On Sunday I met one of the most fabulous people, the most down to earth, friendly and inspiring person. Did I mention she is also a super fabulous, accomplished blogger?! Eimear Varian Barry!

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EVB speaking with IrishFashoholic, Emer O Mahony

Corkonian Eimear started out in RedFm after studying film making, but her love of life and travel has taken her all over the world, not that you’d think it though as she hasn’t lost bubbly cork accent! An inspiration to all of us she started out taking photos of her new life as a mother and turned it into a career- her Instagram feed is the stuff of dreams filled with beautiful thematic images representing her iconic brand. It really gave me the kick up the arse I needed!!

The mother of two spoke so eloquently for 2 hours alongside Lockdown & IrishFashoholic’s Emer O Mahony, who, is probably more stylish pregnant than I may ever be in my life! The talk was held in Cork’s newest Afternoon Tea venue, Electric, where the prosecco was flowing along with gorgeous savoury and sweet nibbles.

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Sweet Tray from Electric Cork

Eimear’s message was simple to us aspiring bloggers in the audience, if you want it, work for it. It is clear that while she has an eye for fashion and photography, Eimear Varian Barry has balls! She made her blog work because she had to- and everything in her life has brought her up to this moment. She didn’t sit at home waiting for her following to grow and for collaborations to come knocking, she went out and asked for them, she made it happen- all this while staying true to the brand she wanted to create, she now collaborates with the likes of Julian MacDonald!

The Afternoon tea was incredible, from Electric’s new menu launch and I already can’t wait to go back!

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It was the loveliest event I have been to, such a different, relaxed atmosphere filled with a wealth of inspiring knowledge about improving my blog and succeeding in a digital environment. So here is to taking chances, putting myself out there and making it work!

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Confusion Causing College Drop Out Rate not Students

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Times Breakdown of Drop Out Rate

 

I read an article in the Times yesterday whereby they attempted to blame students for the large drop out rates, associating College with a snob value, meaning that nowadays teenagers just go to college, simply because it is the next thing they should do, regardless of aptitude. And while I can concur, that there are students out there that simply should not have gone into another stream of academia, I fully believe both colleges and the CAO have to take the majority of the responsibility.

I remember the first day of college when lecturers enquired as to our reasoning for choosing Electrical Engineering, I had some insightful phrase learned off to impress my peers as engineering had been my first CAO choice, I soon realised that this wasn’t true of my other classmates. The majority of direct entry students were there, mainly because it had been the only course they were accepted into regardless of aptitude or interest.

It was at that moment I realised that points system had no bearings on intelligence or exam performance but solely on popularity, I completed all higher level subjects through Irish for my Leaving Cert and received a slightly higher than average 505 points and while I have no fear of someone mistaking my IQ for that of Stephen Hawking, people were still shocked that my first CAO choice was only 315 points.

They thought I was underachieving, settling on a mediocre course, in reality they had no idea. Electrical Engineering is mathematics and physics, translated into different module titles to confuse naïve freshers and its points should reflect this! Electrical Engineering is not for the faint hearted and this is not the students fault, especially when the 2016 level 7 points for Electrical Engineering are a dismal 260, substantially lower than arts.

But the points system is not only to blame, I had a relative idea of Electrical Engineering in terms of career possibilities, from my Dad, also an Electrical Engineer, but I still had no idea what the day to day course work would resemble. A natural worrier I was a little panicked having not taken physics for my Leaving Cert I wanted to meet a member of the engineering faculty to discuss course content and prior learning, this thirst for knowledge, however, was sadly met with; I’m sorry I’m too busy!

The UCC Open Day for Electrical Engineering consisted mostly of the lecturer telling us how an Engineering degree is remarkably better than any other degree because “You will be an Engineer”! I had the points to take on Electrical Engineering in UCC, but to this day I still have no idea what their engineering course could have involved, so how would any prospective first year know?

And while the open day talk at the IT I attended was immensely better and more insightful, it still totally revolved around career prospects and growth and the course content was totally disregarded. Students, at an open day generally couldn’t care less about the future or their career, for most of them it is still so far away in their mind, at the end of their degrees.

The amount of people in my first year, my friends who never made it to second year was overwhelming, they couldn’t keep up with the assessment layout, the content, the level of maths and physics and the intense workload and this was not their fault, they had no idea what they were entering into and unfortunately, unless you know someone who did the exact same course as you, it is challenging to gain any exact information!

I was the type of student who did my research prior to engineering, but nonetheless each module was a complete surprise as the module descriptor and the actual module application differed greatly.

I can only speak from my experience in Electrical Engineering, but students should be told immediately, if they want a college experience they shouldn’t choose engineering, the timetable is crammed and leaves little room for Monday Club and other nights out. But if they are someone who has a keen interest in applied maths, physics, logic and problem solving then they are in the right place.

IT’s and Universities need to be more transparent about what their courses are offering, outside of career options, to attract the right students. While there will always be those student who progress to college, only for something to do, I believe  that once students are fully aware of the type of course or modules that they will be doing, it could counteract the large drop out rates.

Education and knowledge share is key, but that needs to start even before the CAO courses are selected, once the student has entered college life it is too late.

Why I am giving up Beauty Blogging

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There are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the world; full time professionals, entrepreneurs, hobbyists and part time professionals. However, only 2% of this group are successfully monetizing their sites, and while I am an engineer it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that the probability of success in this industry is pretty dismal. And while I never created a blog with the intention of making money or to take on blogging full time it is still disheartening to see the current state of the saturated blogging market.

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I am an amateur blogger, attempting to share my views, tips and tricks on all things beauty related and when I created the blog in 2015 it was still a relatively new concept. Fast forward to January 2017 and the blogging boom is well and truly upon us, and I feel like there’s a change to come, 2016 came with the end of the term “blogger”, with those with blogs referring to themselves as influencers rather than bloggers, but how can you have a blog without a blogger? Short answer being, you can’t!

Scanning through my Instagram I struggle to find a fresh, original post- everyone is either copying each other or simply stealing posts with no credit acknowledged. There are too many beauty bloggers and not enough new content, there isn’t enough products and cosmetics in the world for a new aspect.

Growth and reach is no longer down to talent or aesthetically pleasing photos and content, but rather money and Facebook ad subscriptions. I am currently studying an MSc in Business and Marketing, where I am learning about digital sales and marketing and I apply the knowledge to my blog in the desperate attempt to reinvigorate its presence only to see a minimal reach and a steady decline in followers. It’s now rigged to suit those with big pockets and large endorsements.

In the last week I have seen two highly influential, and in my opinion, hugely successful bloggers simply leave the industry, and while perhaps it could be down to unrelated issues, I am concerned that the integrity of bloggers will only be questioned more and more and beauty blogging will die as a result.

There is a discontinuity coming to the market and I am branching out as a result, I don’t want to have to steal ideas from other bloggers who work incredibly hard to create content, or simply be one more Facebook page blagging about the same makeup range. It isn’t fair on the other bloggers, instead I want to reach out to a previously untouched customer- I want to be proactive and disrupt the market, and to do that I am putting an end to my beauty blog once and for all!

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Diary of a Doomed Dater

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Do you know what it’s like to be constantly rejected by guys?

I do.

I hate myself for getting upset by it because I am a feminist, I did engineering, in a class with all men, I saw first-hand exactly what they’re like and I still get caught up with the flattery and the one liners and all the other rubbish that comes out of their mouths.

However, this is not a sad piece, everything I say is dripping with some form pessimism or plain old sarcasm as I aim to give you my own failed experiences as a doomed dater on Tinder.

I was on Tinder, so therefore I am a serial dater, or so I like to think, I thought I was skilfully playing this game just like the guys because if I’m honest I am not exactly on this desperate search for someone to be my boyfriend, I just wanted to get out there, meet some people and if it happened it happened. Well guess what, five deleted Tinder accounts later I admit defeat, if anyone wants to send me their cats I promise I’ll give them a good home.

What is with the pessimistic views, well the majority of lads are total eejits, you can’t berate them or call them assholes because they’re actually too stupid to know what they even did wrong.

I have gone on a lot of first dates, even second dates, but never a third date, because that may mean something serious, or even mean that a guy could be developing feelings, so a third date with the same girl just means ball and chain, and these free single stallions could never possibly be tied down, for shame!

I feel like my love life has turned into some form of bad reality TV show where I am getting Punk’d constantly with a shot of First Dates thrown into the mix for good measure, because I have had the shiftiest first dates imaginable, trust me, I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

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Let us meet the eligible bachelors that Tinder has to offer;

Our first tinder-fella is closer to 30 then 20, still lives with his mother, and hasn’t had a relationship for longer than eight weeks, because he thinks all women are psychos trying to trap him, yeah why wouldn’t you date him like? Well Einstein here thought he was a catch, because “we were on the same wave length”, well two dates later, he is trying to schedule me in between binge drinking sessions with his friends because he doesn’t want to feel like he’s missing out on life. Seriously dude you have been single practically your whole life, have you not gone out enough?

So this thorough gent was supposed to be taking me out Sunday, which meant THIRD date, I know I was also hearing wedding bells….NOT, until he got roaring drunk with his friends the night before and didn’t get home in time to go out. This didn’t bother me of course, because I always have a backup plan in place and thought no more about it. Being a 21st century strong independent woman I asked him out last night, because I’m young free and single, I wholeheartedly did not expect to get sideswiped by his response of “getting back with the ex I told you about”, followed by the super romantic, “what can I say she “convinced” me to give it another try”, this was also followed by suggestive winky faced emoji’s, I have totally no idea what he meant of course she obviously made a persuasive argument….

Needless to say I am totally devastated and I just don’t know how I can go on.

Which brings me to the next tinder-fella, hiding behind door number 2; This guy was a personal trainer, he was and still is beautiful, however, he dissed my choice of soft drink, annihilated me at pool twice, lectured me on being sarcastic and pessimistic because it isn’t the “universes” way and told me he didn’t watch TV because he simply had a life, I only asked had he seen any good movies lately! Dream-boat!

I didn’t get a second date because he felt there wasn’t a “spark”, well I guess he is more than just a pretty face isn’t he.

Tinderfella number three and I are still great friends, he, however, is not boyfriend material, but he is young he may learn yet, but from my previous experience and research, please see above, I can’t see that happening! Now we went on two dates, to the same cinema to see the exact same movie, now maybe it’s me and my creative imagination but usually if you go to see a movie you have already seen you aren’t going to watch the movie? *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*

Well I saw Batman vs Superman twice with the same guy, I could write a pretty specific summary and review of it, unfortunately.

He liked me so much he moved to Dublin to get out of a third date, so by no means have I not considered that maybe I’m the issue here……

Now I will be totally honest, tinderfella number 4 is a sore spot, this guy I had been talking to for a while, a good while, he was out of a long term relationship about 8 weeks when we met, yes, I ignored the little alarming voices in my head telling me to run for the hills, in my defence I told him it was too early to date anyone else, but he spent weeks convincing me otherwise, this resulted in a dinner date, followed closely only a few days later by date number two, where he met me after work to see a movie. Now this one even arranged date number three because he felt a “spark”, but of course too good to be true came to mind and he decided he wasn’t ready for another relationship because his ex had hurt him so much, he is still on Tinder looking for love, so please form an orderly queue.

Well if that isn’t four good enough reasons to stay off Tinder I really don’t know what is, however if you do manage to match with any of them I wish you the best of luck on your two dates!

If anyone needs me I’ll be in my pyjamas somewhere feeding my hundred cats.

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Lots of love but not third dates,

Not So Dumb Blonde

xxx