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.
“I think most of us, while we may look at the cute little purses, our lives don’t fit a cute little purse. Our lives fit something that is in between a purse and a briefcase, and that’s what I carry.” Claire McCaskill, US Senator.
Every woman owns a bag, it’s a bag not a purse, big enough to keep our lives organized, large enough to conceal all our secrets. They reflect our personalities from chic and minimalist to flamingo pink and leopard print. Strong and durable, a little like the owner herself.
And yet the handbag is not the most accessory, it is but the case holding all the vital items inside, essential to a successful woman’s everyday life. Here are our top 8 things successful women need in their handbags.
- Accessories and gadgets for your smartphone
Staying connected is key and professional women always have their smartphone or tablet in hand for readily available access to their emails and important contacts. A standard charger will do little for the woman who is always on the go and losing battery life, loses connection which can cost you money in this day and age. A portable charger is a must for every handbag!
2. Notebook/ Diary
While some people may create lists on their phones and use their Outlook account to manage their schedule, a good notebook and diary allows you to jot down ideas, activities throughout your day and other important lists with just the click of a pen. Whether its a work to-do list, a phone number or simply the shopping list, a notebook or diary is the quickest way to keep everything organized.
3. Healthy Snack
A balanced diet and brain fuel is vital for optimum performance. Vitamin rich food like fruit and nuts are ideal for focus and concentration, and dried fruits are ideal in the afternoons to help in avoiding that 3pm slump!
However, the single most important item in every successful woman’s handbag should be her water bottle, hydration counteracts fatigue and keeps appetite regular, to keep strong and healthy. We should drink up to half our body weight in water for proper concentration and superior work performance.
4. Gym Membership
In the most typical New Year, New Me fashion I signed up for a months worth of swimming in the gym closest to my job in the attempts of a making exercise a staple in my day. I now swim each day before work which appears to be improving productivity and reducing the stress before it even appears.
A good workout is filled with overwhelming benefits and releases endorphins, all while gaining strength and stamina to withstand anything the world can throw at you- prepare for world domination!
5. A good pair of flats!
While I have personally given up on my high heels, I reserve them for special occasions and car to bar outings, it doesn’t mean you have to!
Just carry a pair of flats in your handbag for a quick change, and just because their flat doesn’t mean they don’t have to be stylish!
6. Power Lipstick
Studies have shown that women should wear a bolder colour in presentations and meetings compared to their usual everyday look, to appear more confident. Regardless of the rest of your makeup, a quick swipe of good lipstick and you look put together in seconds.
Just make sure to pick a color that compliments your skin tone to make sure you look healthy and chic!
Red is my favourite pick for power lipstick; fair and medium complexions should pick a blue based red and embrace the pale, whereas olive and deeper complexions should choose a rusty, burgundy or berry tinted red.
7. USB Flash Drive
Keeping a flash drive on your keys allows you to check and back up important documents at all times. A life saver when traveling and giving presentations out of office.
8. Card Holder
Gone are the day where we could fit all our cards in our purses, from our gym membership cards, to our bus passes and even to our coffee loyalty cards, modern women are inundated with various important cards and keeping them safe in a separate compartment is paramount to quick and easy access. A cardholder is for the woman who has everything!
Do you carry any of these in your handbag- what are your essentials?
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.
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!
Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.
Some of you may not know this about me, but I am a recent Electrical Engineering graduate, I even managed a 1.1 in a level 8 degree!
Some of may also be unaware that I have never desired nor wished to be an engineer.
My engineering degree capped off the most taxing four years of my life, it signalled my lack of social development and the omission of that so-called college experience.
I will always remember my induction day at my local institute of technology, that tumultuous moment when the student leader named out our class list, the sickening nodules that formed together in the pit of my stomach as I willed the senior student to call out one more name that would mean I was no longer alone amidst the sea of boys, but alas no such name was mentioned, no such solace arrived and on my first day of a new adventure I realised that I was the only girl in my year!
The ugly truth that no one tells you about engineering is that girls should do it, it is a course perfectly suited to our over analytical young adult mind-sets and attention to finite detail, but seldom girls ever choose it and why would they? Because unfortunately the overly male orientated world of engineering hasn’t changed or vastly improved in the last thirty years and undoubtedly won’t in the next.
Throughout my degree I was the only one asked in my course why I chose Electrical Engineering, I was the one whose possible sanity was questioned, I was the one stared at like an other world alien as I was a girl who had chosen this course. The men however, their decisions were never questioned, as if they had obviously chosen a logical college course that would root a smooth and rewarding career path, I on the other-hand was an unnerving enigma.
I chose engineering because it was logical, 2012 was a difficult time, in the peak of recession there was a job drought and a future decision for an 18-year-old was an obnoxious task during leaving cert year, so I took my first adult breath and made a decision that would stay with me forever, I am good at maths, I am going to be an engineer.
This was not the answer I told lecturers and my peers, I simply informed them that my dad was an electrical engineer and that relaxed them, they could compute this, that made sense to them. The only girls they had ever met in engineering were following in familial footsteps as god forbid a girl could make up her own mind.
Life is difficult in minority, I quickly realised guys find it awkward when you’re the only girl, it irritated them, it resulted in me eating lunch alone. At first the canteen wasn’t so daunting sitting at a lunch table alone, you could pretend you were meeting someone or that you were too busy studying and happy to be alone with your thoughts, but that novelty soon wore off and I retreated back to the engineering department and spent my time isolated, hiding from the world, defeated and embarrassed.
I began to excel academically from the excess time spent on assignments, that no one noticed that my social skills were depleting at such an intense rapid rate that towards the end of my second year of college, I struggled to maintain eye contact with others. My ability to converse with others was diminishing and small talk was a thing of the past. No one noticed that eight-hour college days past without someone so much as looking in my direction, let alone speaking to me.
And yet despite everything, I owe my whole self to Electrical Engineering. If I had done a different course I may not have gotten a retail part-time job, where I discovered the sheer love I had for makeup, blogging and in turn marketing. Had I ended up in any other situation my life would’ve amounted to numerous different possibilities, none of which leading me to where I am now, to a Masters that challenges me daily but sparks my appetite for learning and to an internship that is everything I could have ever asked for.
Engineering broke me, my heart and my spirit but it triggered a series of catalytic occurences that caused me to flourish into a person with the strength and resilience to tackle any challenge and any opportunity.
To Electrical Engineering and CIT, you have made me everything I am today.
Remember that everything that is happening around you, good or bad, is in some way conspiring to help you.
― Debasish Mridha
I have decided to put together a collection of products I have been loving so much I have used them all up!
Kerastase Ciment Thermique
This is a heat protecting hair serum from Kerastase. It is a hair repairing balm which protects hair from heat styling and repairs hair that is over processed and over styled. I use this on towel dried hair just before straightening it. It reduces overall frizziness and makes my hair feel silky smooth. It also smells amazing!
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat
Everyone in the beauty industry freaked out when YSL changed their holy grail foundation formula and re-branded it as a full coverage foundation, but not me! This is my all time favourite base. It is light in formula and doesn’t feel too heavy on, but it is full coverage! It comes in a range of shades, both yellow based and pinky based, I wear the shade BD01, it is a little pricey at €42 a bottle, but it last ages!
It gives a gorgeous dewy glow while perfecting the skin and blurring any imperfections on the face. It lasts all day and due to the lack of SPF in it it is perfect for nights out and photographs as it has a no flash back. I am also completely in love with the gold YSL packaging! I buff this into the skin daily using the Real Techniques buffing brush! I bought this from Brown Thomas Cork but can be bought on YSL counters nationwide.
Lancome Mousse Eclat
I bought this on a whim when I needed a new facial cleanser. I prefer foam cleansers as I find them a little gentler on the skin. I was nervous about trying this out as I had never used the Lancome skincare range before but I loved it. It lasted ages as one pump of the foaming cleanser washed my whole face. It removed any scrape of makeup or dirt from it leaving my face feel squeaky clean. I will definitely be repurchasing!
Nuxe Precious Scented Shower Oil
I love this range from Nuxe, it literally smells like you have stepped into a spa. I got this shower gel as part of a free gift and I love it so much. I normally don’t have much of an affinity with shower gels but this one was different. It has the same scent as Nuxe’s cult classic multi-use oil and its oil infused formula leaves the skin feeling super soft. It also has gold flecks throughout the shower oil which gives your skin a beautiful glow, it’s gorgeous with a tan!
Lancome Advanced Genefique
I have been using this serum for a good while and I can seriously see what the hype is! It is a FANTASTIC product. Its youth activating concentrate promises younger-looking, radiant skin! Skin is immediately soothed and smoothed, soft to the touch while its anti-ageing properties plumps and nourishes the skin for an all over radiant glow! While it is expensive at €73 for a 30ml bottle this serum should last you a long time as you need only apply 3 drops of the serum across the face and neck!
Lancome Grandiose Liner
The latest innovation in liquid eyeliner comes from Lancome’s bendable brush. It adapts to everyone’s unique eye shape for easy application. It has an incredibly thin tip allows for a precise line and its highly pigmented formula gives a long lasting matte finish that dries in super quickly!
So there you have the products I have loved so much that I used up!
Until next time….
Not So Dumb Blonde X
**I was gifted these products with the aim of writing a review on each, all views and opinions are my own**
I was recently gifted two Nuxe products to review on my blog from the lovely Joanne in Sam McCauley Chemists, the multi use Nuxe dry oil and their new roll on radiance boosting face mask, Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Re-Plumpling Roll-On Mask!
Nuxe Multi Use Dry Oil
I had used the Nuxe dry oil before and I love it, the first you’ll notice about this product is that it smells AMAZING, its oil is infused six different botanical oils which results in the closest thing to a Spa Day in a bottle!
Its vitamin E infused oil nourishes, repairs and softens your face, body and hair in a single go. It leaves your skin velvety soft giving a lasting subtle fragrance. I have also used it during the summer months on my hair to keep it silky soft and protected against the heat and colour treatments.
It is suitable for any skin type, even my own super sensitive skin, as it is 100% hypoallergenic.
This is a gorgeous beauty treatment for all, whatever their age, skin and hair type!
It comes in both 100ml and a 30ml size are priced from €19.50 to €33.00 and you buy this little beauty here
Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Re-Plumpling Roll-On Mask
This is the newest mask on the market from Nuxe, its lotion type texture glides on to the face to provide a rejuvenating, hydrating treatment specially designed to tackle any signs of ageing on the face!
From the get-go the skin looks smoother, firmer and more youthful, all in all more radiant.
The thing I loved the most about this product is the unique massaging applicator which gives an extra freshening technique, it also reduces bacteria on the skin as your hand don’t touch your face. It’s a win win beauty product.
It is encapsulated with saffron and bougainvillea extracts which stimulate the production of new skin cells and the hyaluronic acid hydrates deeply so that your skin appears plumper, more rested and wrinkles appear reduced!
It can be used daily on cleansed, the mask is left on for 10 minutes and then removed either with a dry cotton pad or a facial cleanser. It can also be overnight to wake up with refreshed replenished glow!
It retails at €32.95 and I got mine from Sam McCauley Chemists Blackpool, but can also be bought online from here
Until Next Time…..
Not So Dumb Blonde X