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6 September 2010

Features Asking stupid questions

this week, I needed a day’s sleep after the social marathon that is Fresher’s Week. After only one whirlwind week of college, it feels like I’ve never left.

Societies Day on Wednesday

Margaret Perry Features Editor

We’re back, we’ve settled in, and college has finally burst into full swing. What with the Clubs and Societies days, nights out with friends I hadn’t seen in ages and the extreme stress of my 3 lectures

and Clubs Day on Thursday accu- rately demonstrated this whirl- wind, with Devere Hall bursting at the seams with enthusiastic and not-so-enthusiastic students eager to promote their society or to find a new club or society to join. Re- laxing on the couch after the week, absorbing mostly useless online in- formation, I discovered that today is World Ask a Stupid Question Day.

Freshers, take full advantage of

this! When I started first year, I thought the Orb was a giant bub-

ble-shaped café. Trying to go to a meeting on the 3rd floor of the Stu- dent Centre in my first week, I went to the Student Union com- mon room and asked what had happened to its 3rd floor. In these next few weeks, ask all the ques- tions you possibly can, stupid or otherwise, while you get used to your new environment, learn to de- cipher the building codes on your new timetable and find your way out of the Orb. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know and soon it will feel like you’ve been here years. By next September you’ll be fully equipped to scoff at the incoming first years as they attempt to find their way around!

Even though I’m no longer a first year, the phrase “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” still

The Future is Bright!

Deputy Features Editor Karen O Mahony explores the options available to graduates within the Ernst and Young Entrepeneur of The Year programme

For final year students and gradu-

ates, the future may seem bleak. Ireland is still mired in economic trouble and despite claims that we are out of recession, the paucity of jobs suggests otherwise. While sur- viving countless nights fuelled only by coffee, poring over tedious articles and struggling through your exams every summer, you would always tell yourself, “It’ll be worth it in the end.” But when the end is in sight, it can seem as if the prospects you had when starting college have suddenly vanished into thin air. It’s hard to appreciate the value of a degree when the treasured scroll of paper lies under- neath a growing heap of rejection letters. But if the dole queue beck- ons, there may be light on the hori- zon.

Every year, Ernst and Young recognise the prodigious talent, success and hard work of Irish businessmen and woman by run- ning the Ernst and Young Entrepre- neur of the Year programme.

Broadcast on RTE 1, it is Ireland’s premier business awards pro- gramme and is a prestigious hon- our to simply be named as a finalist, let alone actually win an award. Previous award winners in- clude Denis O’Brien and Eddie Jordan– both of them a world re- moved from your nearest dole queue.

If you are a final year student or

graduate, you may be wondering what relevance these wildly suc- cessful people could possibly have to you? In fact, they may well be your ticket out of the gloom. This year, for the first time in their his- tory, the awards have an added di- mension. Each of the 24 finalists has agreed to take on someone for a three month internship, begin- ning in June 2011, with the possi- bility of the contract being extended if the person impresses. It is a marvellous opportunity, offer- ing an escape route from unem- ployment and the chance of some hands-on experience with some of

Ireland’s sharpest entrepreneurial minds.

At this point, many potential

candidates who aren’t from busi- ness-orientated courses, may switch off and deem themselves in- eligible. After all, when you hear the word entrepreneur, you often associate it with the business and finance world. However,


year’s finalists have a diverse background, spanning such sectors and industries as engineering, med- icine, dentistry, IT and food. For this reason, this internship is a wonderful opportunity for final year students and graduates from a wide array of courses. It could be the boost you need to propel your- self to meteoric success in your chosen career. And if you have be- come bored of Ireland by now, it could be your chance to make a break for sunnier climates also as some of the finalists are based abroad in places such as California and Spain.

So, how do you apply? This

year, RTE will be broadcasting three shows prior to the October 21st awards which will profile

each of the finalists. As the awards are divided into three categories, each show will feature the entre- preneurs from a particular cate- gory. The first show will focus on the

Emerging category and will feature people such as Dylan Collins (from Jolt Online Gaming), Liam Griffin (from the luxurious Monart Desti- nation Spa) and celebrity chef Neven Maguire (from MacNean House and Restaurant). The second show will deal with

finalists from the International cat- egory, those entrepreneurs whose businesses have an international reach. These include Richard and Peter Cullen (The Jelly Bean Fac- tory), Philip Reynolds (C&D Foods) and Brian Conlon (First Derivatives software and service provider).

The third show will be centred

on the entrepreneurs from the In- dustry category and will meet such people as Colette Twomey (Clon- akilty Black Pudding), Jim Barry (Medicare Pharmacy Group) and Jim Barry (Barry Group Wholesale

and Distribution). In these programmes, each en-

trepreneur will discuss their busi- ness, what they do and what they look for in an employee. Any bud- ding candidates should firstly choose which entrepreneur they wish to work for. They then must submit their CV online as well as a 300-500 word pitch detailing what contribution they could make to that particular business and the merits of being selected.


of the 24 entrepreneurs will per- sonally choose the candidate to whom they wish to offer the intern- ship. It is expected that competi- tion for these internships will be fierce but, as the saying goes, if you’re not in you can’t win. Every- one benefits from a helping hand at some point in their life and, for those who are interested; this in- ternship scheme could be the step- ping stone that you need. The closing date for applications is Fri- day, November 19th. More infor- mation can be found on

tends not to apply to me. From wondering aloud if Samuel L. Jackson was “that guy who di- rected Lord of the Rings” to being completely baffled by my new oven, I demonstrate regularly that there really can be such thing as a stupid question. I’ve managed to ask lots more of them in this past week since my induction into the Features section. I’ve pestered the editor with questions about page layout and word count, begged my friends for ideas for articles and grappled with the technological wonder that is the Dictaphone, holding my breath in fear of delet- ing interviews if I pressed the pause button.

However, there are no stupid an- swers and I’ve also learned that cu- riosity and total cluelessness can provide the impetus for many arti- cles. Writing for Features is teach- ing me daily that articles are built on questions and answers. Setting

out to discover what Keith O’ Brien does all day, uncovering the rationale behind UCC’s new online alcohol survey, E-Pub, and won- dering why anyone would want to wear a meat dress were just some of the questions asked in this issue of Features. If you don’t question things – the status quo, university funding, how to use the grill setting on your oven – you’ll never change or discover anything, or learn to make toast without a toaster.

If you’ve got questions you want answered, writing for Features could be for you. Or maybe you fancy questioning us? If you like or hate, sincerely agree or vehemently disagree with something in the Ex- press, let us know! Get in touch at or send letters to the editor to editor@ucc- Feel free to ask us stu- pid questions; we’d love to hear from you!

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