Nadine O'Regan - Arts Editor at the Sunday Business Post
• Course/subjects studied in UCC
I studied English and Philosophy at UCC, as part of my Arts degree, from 1996 to 1999, before moving to Dublin for an M.Phil. degree in Creative Writing at Trinity.
• Best memory of UCC
In my first year of UCC, I was pretty shy - I had moved from Skibbereen to Cork and it took me a little time to get used to college life. But in second year, I joined a few societies and started making new friends and really getting into the swing of college life. One highlight for me was persuading the college newspaper to let me travel to Belfast to go to the Hot Press Music Awards. (This also involved me persuading the generous souls at Hot Press magazine to grant me a much coveted press pass.) Having managed that, I went to the awards and wound up interviewing Sinéad O'Connor in the Europa Hotel that night. It was a thrilling evening.
• How has your time at UCC helped you to get to where you are now?
UCC helped me enormously because it provided a brilliant environment for me to explore areas that I was interested in -- the lecturers were extremely supportive and friendly, and my friends were all very creative -- everyone was playing music, acting in plays or writing fiction or poetry. Cork is a perfect place to go to college, because it's big enough for you to feel like you have the space to grow without feeling judged, but small enough that you feel supported. These days, in Today FM and The Sunday Business Post, part of my job is to interview people in the arts -- and even though I wasn't actively studying journalism, my time at UCC really helped me to develop that skill.
• What is your advice to current UCC students?
Don't be afraid to try new things and make changes in your life. Pursue your interests; risk embarrassing yourself and do things that scare and challenge you. College can be an inspiring environment -- don't let the three or four years fly past in a blur. Use your time well and wisely. Get out and surprise yourself.
• What person/people at UCC had the most positive influence on you?
My English lecturers were very inspiring -- Graham Allen in the English Department was great; I always enjoyed his lectures. And Colbert Kearney helped me to get departmental approval to move from doing a joint honours degree in English and Philosophy to majoring in English in second year because he could see how much I loved English. He told me that if I applied myself, I could get a first class honours degree. For him to have that belief in me was amazing, so I did apply myself, hit the library and came out with a first. I've never needed that degree for anything in my work life, but knowing that I had a goal and achieved it set a kind of template for me in life; it made me realise that many things are possible, if you want them badly enough.
• Were you involved in any Clubs or Societies?
In second year, I joined a lot of different societies -- I acted in a play as part of the Dramat Society, I also joined a classical guitar society for a while, and I began writing for the college newspaper. Speaking of which, is it okay now to admit that I still have the Dictaphone the college newspaper gave me? I promise I have put it to excellent use. . .
• Favourite UCC legend or superstition
Well, naturally I never walked through the centre of the Quad before graduating -- and to be honest I still wouldn't do it now. Old habits die hard, right?