Changing Course

I can’t help it—I always want to know what other people are thinking.

That unbridled curiosity is what attracted me to journalism in the first place. At its core, journalism is about people—what they do, why they do it, and what that means for the world. In that sense, my master’s course in Dublin—Creative Digital Media, with a focus on design and user experience—is a natural crossover from my work as a reporter. As a reporter, I aim to convey information—if readers don’t understand the story, then I have failed as a journalist. Likewise, if users don’t understand a product, I have failed as a user experience designer. Both fields focus on discovering what makes people tick, and synthesizing that information into a simple, comprehensible package that others will understand.

I am studying at the Dublin Institute of Technology, which is a relatively uncommon choice among Mitchell Scholars. I was attracted to its industry focus and emphasis on technical skills. I’m learning about visual design, interactive media, digital games, and web and mobile development, and the knowledge and experience I’m gaining is unparalleled. Most of my classmates have backgrounds in design or programming. Given my journalism background, the learning curve is steep, but I am enjoying the challenge.

Because of the time-consuming nature of my course, my weekdays are fairly predictable. I go to class in the mornings, work on group projects in the afternoons, come home and make dinner, chat with my Irish suitemate, study some, catch up on emails, and go to sleep.

Despite my busy schedule, I have taken advantage of living in a new country. I’ve spent a fair number of weekends traveling through the island. I have explored Galway, the Aran Islands, Derry in Northern Ireland, Wicklow, and Killarney, largely traveling with my fellow Mitchell Scholars based in Dublin. I know that a large portion of my learning has to take place outside the classroom.

Now that my final projects are in full swing, I plan to hunker down in Dublin for the next month until semester’s end. My projects include creating a mobile game, building a dynamic website, and designing a mafia-themed board game. I will be spending the winter holidays in Dublin, as well as traveling to Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic with my boyfriend. This has been a truly memorable year so far, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

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