When the ‘I can’t do this’ mentality sets in

This week saw the launch of our student newspaper The Voice. This is an online publication that us fourth year journalism students will work on for the semester. I have been assigned the role of investigative reporter and photographer. I am also required to submit stories on what’s happening in Limerick city and county. Photography is one of my loves and something that I will do naturally, so I may as well get credit for it.

Heading into week four of the semester when assignments are starting to pile up, my reading list is sky high and the letters FYP (Final Year Project) are being thrown around, feelings of ‘I can’t do this’ have been circulating all week and I can’t get rid of them.

We filmed the launch video of The Voice on Friday. Three cars drove into the city to the train station, where we would be getting our first shot. It was lunchtime and traffic, as always, was mental. I was sitting at a red light, chatting away to the three others I had with me. The light switched to green but my car would not move. Handbrake malfunction, excellent. I stuck on my hazards and repeatedly switched off the ignition and started it again. The others in the car freaked, while the lady behind me helpfully pressed repeatedly on her horn. Somehow, I remained completely calm, despite holding up all of Parnell Street’s traffic. What could I do? By the time I got the car moving again, the light had switched back to red. The event may seem insignificant but, for me, it served as an apt reminder that panicking won’t not get me anywhere.

This event has stayed with me since and it has been helpful. Every time I find myself thinking ‘I can’t do this’, I remind myself to remain calm; the car moved again. This may sound ridiculous but nonetheless as I walked towards Henry Street Garda Station on Saturday afternoon, I reminded myself that the car moved again.

Camera in hand, I was feeling oddly nervous about covering a fundraiser for the Little Blue Heroes Foundation.

The foundation provides financial and emotional support to seriously ill children. Members of An Garda Síochána buddy up with the kids and visit them, take them out on ‘a day in the life’ trips doing checkpoints and things like that. I met the Munster Representative of the foundation, as well as honorary gardaí from Limerick. It was a heartwarming event and an excellent opportunity to meet people.

As I went inside the station and introduced myself, one garda walked me through the procedure of taking a person into custody. He showed me the initial room they are taken to if they need to be searched, which is partially covered by CCTV but fully by audio recording for the safety of the garda and the person in custody.

It was a strange sensation being in the station, which was filled with balloons and children with butterflies and spiderwebs on their faces, while the garda explained that people in custody must be checked every half hour when they are often found slamming their head up against the cells door. The cell itself consisted of a single toilet in the ground on one corner and a mattress a blanket in the other.

I asked him about policing Limerick city. Shop lifting and heroin are among the repeat offenders, it’s a good career however he recommended getting a degree first, warning against going straight in at 18 or 19 . While he feels safe on the force, he does fear being pricked with a dirty needle. He sees a lot of the same faces coming in and he wasn’t referring to his colleagues.

Overall, I really enjoyed covering the event. I met loads of people and got my story completed and submitted. Most importantly, I walked away from the station feeling confident in my abilities to complete this project.

* Gemma Good is from Killeshandra and a fourth year journalism student in University of Limerick


What’s driving so many young people abroad?