As the evenings grow shorter, and dare I say it, the weather gets wetter. Sunset evening strolls may have to become replaced by movie marathons on the couch, as the rain clatters against the adjacent windows. But instead of fighting over viewing choices this autumn, allow me to offer some food for thought, in terms of motion picture choices!
10. Charade (1963)
A film often regarded as the greatest Hitchcock film that he actually never made. However, one could hardly blame anybody for making such an error. Stanley Donen’s comedic thriller shares many a similarity with the work of said director; a series of mistaken identities, the iconic leading lady and of course, the presence of North by Northwest (1959) luminary Cary Grant. Many casual film fans are deterred by the prospect of viewing a motion picture which is over 50 years old; a concept which has always befuddled me. The story and subsequent pacing in this tale are impeccable and would easily put the majority of the big budget blockbusters of modern times to unmerciful shame. Its primary cause for inclusion on this list is the fantastic rapport between Audrey Hepburn and Grant. The two, despite being megastars of the day, have more chemistry than a chunky science book. All too often films are weighed down by a stellar cast, causing the overall product to be clunky and too self aware. Luckily, this isn’t the case here. So for those who sit at home, with a canvas print of starlet Ms. Hepburn on a bedroom wall, but cannot attest to viewing any of her movies, let me assure you this is a fitting place to start.
9. Closer (2004)
The next instalment in our mutually pleasing list of cinematic romance is drama Closer (2004) starring Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. Invariably, the themes of infidelity may not be the most comfortable for young couples to acknowledge, yet this remains necessary viewing. The acting is so irreproachable; one cannot help but be engrossed. Also, Damien Rice’s iconic track The Blower’s Daughter features prominently, adding to its appeal to the Irish audience.
8. The Girl Next Door (2004)
Speaking of memorable movie music, this next entry on our list comes with a soundtrack to rival any compilation. Featuring the exploits of talented musicians such as David Gray and The Who, let me assure you, once you’ve seen and heard it, you will always remember this teen comedy. Despite being met with mere mixed reviews upon release, this flick is right up there with genre classics such as American Pie (1999) and Superbad (2007). Infusing an appropriate amount of wit, humour and heart with an array of likeable characters, this picture really does have something for everybody. If you can get past the obvious crude themes, the juice is most definitely worth the squeeze.
7. Tell No One (2006)
Perhaps one for the hipsters among us! The first and only non-English language film to feature on this list, but for those of you who feel apprehensive at the prospect of reading subtitles, I wholeheartedly feel a single viewing of this Luc Beeson production will totally alter your perspective. Essentially a romance at heart, this French thriller is as pulsating as many of the offerings from Hollywood’s elite catalogue. There was much hype regarding a remake last year, which has seemingly fallen by the wayside. To remake this triumph would be beyond unnecessary, but don’t take my word for it.
6. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
You will most likely remember this fun and quirky film for bringing Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s career to the fore. Much like Juno (2007), this indie style piece somewhat made a subgenre and culture more accessible, as it steadily creeps further and further into mainstream spotlight. What made this sleeper hit so increasingly popular among today’s audiences, was its ballsy yet retrained overhaul of a hackneyed theme. Its subtle criticism on modern relationship dynamics is quite eye opening. Also, not unlike Hepburn and Grant in Charade, the enviable onscreen chemistry between the male protagonist and Zooey Deschanel is the real show stealer.
5. Blue Valentine (2010)
The Weinstein Company
Much to the contrary of popular female belief, not everything Ryan Gosling touches turns to gold. Of course, I am speaking in the cinematic sense! Many old romantics would argue The Notebook (2004) is the best way to spend a Saturday night viewing, but in reality the vast majority of males (myself included) loathe the typical tearjerker. Despite being a very one dimensional performer, Gosling has turned in some very admirable displays. The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), Drive (2011) and this will certainly bear witness to my point. Like (500) Days of Summer, this picture employs a nonlinear narrative to display the alterations in relationship dynamics as time, and indeed life, unfolds. Also, Derek Cianfrance’s colour scheme is incredibly lush amd brings a refreshingly alterative dynamic.
4. Like Crazy (2011)
Definitely the most applicable to the young people of today as its relevancy transcends the face value of the film, which is of adolescent love and its subsequent yet inevitable obstacles. The film features impromptu dialogue, adding naturalism which enables the viewer to become suspended in the realm created. Also, one can easily appreciate the modern day significance of the dominant theme of emigration. This Drake Doremus work pulls no punches, pulls back the curtain on the supposed idealism of young love- a rarity in popular modern cinema.
3. Ruby Sparks (2012)
Enigmatic redhead Paul Dano appears for the second time on this list. This tale led by the young Prisoners (2013) star, focuses on a budding author who wills the girl of his dreams into reality. Moreover, it concentrates on the overemphasised cliché that ‘nobody is perfect’, yet counteracts this with an exacerbation of the often unrecognised notion that despite the former, there are those who are perfect for each other. However, what I most enjoyed about this entry is the casting of Dano as the lead; certainly an atypical choice for a role which had it been allocated elsewhere, may have lost a great deal of credibility.
2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
There isn’t a great deal that can be said about this movie that has yet to be mentioned. A pure master class by all involved, highlighting the positives of existence, even when the chips are supposedly down. In my opinion, the fondest feature of this film is the positive yet realistic way in which it tackles the issues surrounding mental health, quite reminiscent of the uplifting tone rendered by another coming-of-age film It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010).
1. Don Jon (2013)
Certainly one of the best cinematic outings of 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut came somewhat as a surprise. Not because it was any good, but rather as it carried a great deal more depth than any of us initially anticipated. From the outset, it appeared a mediocre pro-bro comedy at best, which seemingly glorified pornography. But instead it used the concept of adult entertainment as a counteraction to female idealisations of on-screen romance. Both concepts are as artificial as the other, albeit one is far more frowned upon than the other. Also, for the first time in such a commercially popular piece of romantic cinema, is the male character depicted as the hero and the female somewhat as the villain. Also, Scarlett Johansson’s performance here is particularly underrated; in my opinion her best role to date.
I wanted to write an article about feminism and about being a feminist in today’s society and I tried, repeatedly, but found it really difficult for a variety of reasons. At best, I had so much in me that I wanted to say about feminism, to tell people that it was a movement, first and foremost that advocated equal rights, and that although women’s rights in many areas of the world have improved dramatically, there are still places where women are second class citizens. I wanted to mention everything, Beyonce, the priceless, foul-mouthed book, How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and outline a bombardment of statistics. I wanted the article to be relatable and funny as opposed to lecturing aggressively which is useless and isolating.
At worst I was worried about the reaction from my friends and not to forget the cruel internet trolls. Feminist. I could imagine the flaming reviews before I had even started typing. Then it struck me that I was afraid to say it, that I am a feminist. I was afraid because although the majority of women expect to have equal rights, some young people today see feminists as archaic, man-hating, she-lions and consequently openly ridicule them. One year ago, I was aware that many people weren't feminists. Naturally it would be both ludicrous and unhelpful if everyone agreed on everything; however, I was quite unaware to the extent to which some people hated feminists.
I was verbally attacked for being a feminist a year ago. I was sitting around with a group of girls when the subject arose and I admitted, rather hesitantly, that I was a feminist. My best friends rolled their eyes indulgently; they had heard it before and accepted my ‘little idiosyncrasy’. One or two of the girls nodded, confirming that yeah, I suppose being a feminist was not the end of the world. The majority of the girls reacted impassively; women have votes and equal rights.
We love guys, Zac Efron, duh! It just didn't really concern them. One girl, who I had been acquainted with for the previous five years, transformed from a friendly peer into someone who was simply scathing of my admittance. She displayed absolute disgust at the idea and her aggressive unwillingness to even listen to my opinion, surprised and upset me. I was paralysed by her vicious reaction and unable to say much to defend myself.
And thus began my extreme unwillingness to admit this secret to the world, this deadly flaw of character; feminism. If I could speak now to that girl (who is usually lovely by the way) who reacted so strongly against feminism, I might say that at its most basic, feminism is about equal rights for women, who historically have been the more oppressed gender. I might reference some injustices at the highest echelons of society, such as the fact that women hold only 19% of the world’s parliamentary seats, that they complete 66% of the world’s work, earn 10% of the total income and own 1% of the property. But more importantly, in everyday life that affects you and I; we are far more likely to get paid less than men for doing the same job, have a much higher chance of falling victim to sexual assault and every week, in the UK, two women are killed by a current or former male partner. At this point most people will begin to argue, how do you know? It must be wrong?
Unfortunately it’s not. The British government even supplied a helpful page about it. These are the facts. Feminism is the hundreds of men and women who work in charities across the UK helping these victims. Dramatic as it sounds, feminists work to save people’s lives. Girls make up 70% of the children out of school and organisations like Girl Effect work to rectify this and follow the ethos that girls are the most powerful force for change on the planet.
Politicians and economists continue to research the potential gain of investing in girls, economically, politically and environmentally. Then I imagine life if there had never been feminists, if there had never been women brave enough to say it and work on behalf of women’s rights. The right to marry whom and when I choose, the right to divorce and contraception, the right to attend school and university, the right to vote, work and own property. The right to drive.
These were rights gifted to us by feminists; try to imagine life without them. If still you are not convinced that feminism is an ideology you agree with, that’s fine. But if you could refrain from victimising young feminists who do, that would be great. Lastly, feminism is not something tangible; it’s not the same as a bloody brick wall! It is a process and dialogue, that everyone can take participate in. We, as young men and women, are what describe feminism; we define what the movement is through conversation and decide whether or not this process will be good for girls.
I’m one of the few people my age that I know of who just hasn’t been able to make a relationship work for any longer than a couple of months. There are many reasons for this. For some, the blame firmly lies with me, others have seen me royally screwed over but I had always been able to get back on the saddle and chalk it down to experience.
I had gotten myself into a space where I was riding the crest of a wave a little bit. My career was progressing well and I had really acclimatised to living the City life, being a man about town and generally always having people to socialize with. Little did I know that a monumental fall from grace was just around the corner.
My last job saw me work very closely with the person I ended up falling for. It was most definitely something that I had repressed repeatedly over the course of the previous months, usually subconsciously and in hindsight it was all to do with protecting what had become a very close friendship, in what was a fairly high-stress environment. I had everything sussed in my head. It made perfect sense to me that we would end up together and nothing was going to convince me otherwise.
We’ve all seen endless films on how these things are supposed to go. Your stereotypical romantic comedy sees the heartbroken one recover as six months passes in the space of 10 minutes. Life, on the other hand, doesn’t allow you to choose the moment that you realize everything that had built up over previous months. It doesn’t allow you to choose the person either. As a matter of fact, there’s very little that you can control. Fundamentally, I had to learn the hard way that there is no way under the sun of controlling how the person you adore will react.
To have the person that you have emotionally invested so much in treat your feelings with disdain is the bitterest pill to swallow. Not to say that I blame her for not feeling the same way, as a matter of fact, I thought a lot about that old quote from Wuthering Heights with Catherine on her deathbed telling Heathcliff –
Not to say either that my broken heart had a profound effect on her. I think she misses the friendship to an extent but the point I’m trying to make is that my feelings are my own, just as her feelings are her own and my broken heart is much more to do with me than it is to do with her. I just wish she hadn’t done so by text message.
Unrequited love is without a shadow of a doubt, the worst thing that I have ever been through. I vividly remember the day I came back home and essentially had to be ‘mammied’ for a week. I didn’t want to eat, I took sleeping tablets, I thought about how I would throw away all of my career progression just to be with her and I have never cried so much in my life. Then when I thought I was out of the woods, full-on emotional attacks would hit me.
All of this was unprecedented for me. So too has been the recovery process. I removed myself from all social media for a solid month so as to stop tormenting myself. I was fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with close friends and my mother, the only person who seemed to really understand what I was going through, may very well have saved my life as I struggled to see the point in anything at all.
Four months on and I’m back to normal again. There’s a tattered friendship which may never be fixed again but as a basic principle, I’ve got to do what’s best for number one for a while. This one I can really chalk down to experience. Next time I won’t be so naive. The above paragraph is only a snapshot of what my life has been like since May. Only I will really ever know the gory details and if you ever go through a similar experience then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Everyone’s pain is theirs and theirs alone but thankfully irrational thoughts of throwing away everything I’ve worked for have perished and I’m even starting to get my mojo back a little bit. If you’re there right now then I feel for you with all of my heart but just try to reach out to your support network, appreciate the time you have alone with your thoughts and at least try to rest safe in the knowledge that we get better. Take it from me, it’s not just a cliché.
A crisis is defined as “a time when a difficult or important decision must be made” but the reality of the accommodation crisis in Dublin is far from just making an easy verdict. The entire situation is a societal convoluted and tangled mess that has been fast approaching for some time, and like every other major societal crisis that crops up in Ireland, it is only when it smashes past the zenith do we own up to the problem. So now we stand about and shrug our shoulders mumbling, “Ah, yeah we’ve made a balls of it”.
The reality is bleak, and frustrating. One reality is queues of 27 people outside in the rain, clambering over their umbrellas, shaking in their rain jackets in Dublin suburbia to view a house only knowing that someone else will be the one who is going to leave them without a home, again. With the arrested development of houses and the scattered surreal plots of ghost estates dotted around the country our little islands population kept increasing.
All the while people were flocking en masse in a hopeful exodus towards the crowded capitol. With internship culture poisoning employment markets, graduates are ashamedly stuffing jobseekers allowance into their pockets and becoming trapped in a poverty circle. Unable to find positions where our skills can flourish, we’re left scrambling for full time employment below living wage or fall victim to internships for pitiful pocket money while masters qualifications are being demanded from us.
Others comment and reflect on how they slaved through multiple jobs during college and that the young adults of today “need to cop on and get over it”. This shared identity created as a tabloid phenomena known as generation Y of pampered, whinging young people is utter nonsense. If you look around you, hardly anyone fits this false persona.
Estranged from my father for over eight years, then forced into immediate independence from home during my final year of my undergrad with nothing, I wholly began to support myself. But this is not a plea for sympathy; it’s to highlight the immense pressure that comes with the accommodation and financial fiasco from just one Irish citizen with one story. Sure, I’ll get a loan like people are barking at me to do, but who will be my guarantor?
How will I repay it along with fees and living expenses (priced at €13,000) when JobBridge isn’t even available to students, and part-time work dominates the market? I have garnered a considerable amount of savings already but it’s not a scratch on the mammoth amount I will need. I left comfortable Cork behind in the dust along with somewhere to live, a full-time minimum wage job and a bank account with some savings to start a new life here in Dublin with no accommodation, no income and those pretty pennies for college fees in my bank dwindling away daily for these fabled opportunities that do not seem to exist outside of the city. For a lot of students, don’t you think we’ve thought about fetching jobs? It’s difficult to find employment when you can’t scribble down a home address on a form.
The housing crisis has left Irish society, especially students, to endure a form of social natural selection and competition for resources. We are like flowers (wilted, but still multiplying) and Dublin is the flowerbed where housing is that vital resource. Darwinism dictates that the stronger flowers will eject and replace their weak counterparts when there is a struggle for scarce resources in competition.
Now, imagine being that one student out of the 27 people in that queue for a house. You’re up against families, so immediately you fall at the bottom of the housing food chain. How can I compete with that? I don’t even want to. But I have to, it is natural selection after all and I don’t want to be the weakest link. The lucky ones who squeezed into houses are then faced with the 17.2% increase in rent. Happy days, they’ll have a roof over their heads but now they have to worry about affording bread. The pressure of returning to education, the cost of living, budget cuts, trying to secure a loan and competing with 79,999 other SUSI applicants has left me and countless others in a state of uncomfortable limbo, anxiety and sleepless nights.
Before we even start the race in education we’re running with an exciting naivety. By the time accommodation, employment, assignments, rent and other psychological or social factors dare come into play, we are left out of breath, dropping to a painful jog gasping for air - and for what? So I can earn €50 extra through JobBridge along with my social welfare. We need to stop strangling the Irish state with short-term quick fix solutions before I am forced out of Ireland as part of this social natural selection, and learn some foresight to prevent further cataclysmic crisis before Ireland becomes one gigantic ghost estate.
Le Cool are hosting a soapbox for a panel discussion on student life in the city, and an open forum for students to talk, complain, and joke about student life in Dublin.
The event is being run in association with AIB and takes place in Roasted Brown, (upstairs from Filmbase) Curved Street, Temple Bar, on the 9th September.
LeCool say: “We're gonna cast our eye-glass over the Pot Noodle stains, the all-nighter essay sessions, and the extra-curricular fun that comes with your carefree college years.”
Speaking as part of this event will be:
Feel free to share your housemate nightmares, your unorthodox bibliography-writing methods, and your weird exam superstitions as we help you kick that back to school feeling with an evening of fun, interesting discussions about student life in Dublin.
This free event will take place at Doors 6:45pm. Refreshments provided (alcohol free). For a chance to win tickets, mail email@example.com with the subject "This Student Life".
Everyone has their own way of getting through final year. I got lots of my friends to input into this blog because it’s important for final year students to know everyone is different when it comes to studying. What works for the majority may not work for you and you need to be comfortable with that.
The workload and time management
Getting all those assignments made my class and I nearly die. Work due in every week plus the regular assignments and a thesis and all those readings! It looked like we would spend all our time in the library buried in books.
I’m a visual person so I decided to buy a wall planner and mark out with different colours when various bits were due in. I worked out a time table as to when was library time and when was friend and relaxation time. The first few weeks weren’t very successful but I got strict and stuck to the time table. Then after a while I felt like I was on top of everything.
Danny - Keeping on top of everything as opposed to it getting on top of me really helped me.
Finding the right place to study is important. I was a library person because seeing other people study motivated me, but for some of my friends they needed noise and distractions to be able to knuckle down and study.
Glenn - Just because all your mates find it easy to use the library doesn't mean you have to. You might prefer to study at home to music or in a cafe. It's important to try find a way that works for you.
Everyone that imputed had different opinions but everyone had a common theme which was having fun! You need to be able to detach from the work, let it go and have a good time. The saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is true but you need to look after yourself physically and mentally in order to achieve the good grades that you want whilst enjoying your last year in college.
Tara – The thoughts of summer and relaxation got me to power through.
Rebecca – From getting involved in college, my eyes were opened by new friends, old friends and family. And lots of coffee, lots and lots of coffee.
Ian – Simply playing music and getting drunk.
Kate – I found the best thing to be exercise and I am no sports junkie but I played rugby two or three times a week and even went to the gym to unwind. I was lucky enough to escape into the world of the students union and work on campaigns and events they were running or I had planned. The best advice is to eat well, sleep well and take care of yourself! It is stressful but if I can do it, anyone can.
What’s for you?
You may know exactly what you are working towards. But if not don’t panic, nothing needs to be decided until you’re ready. I worked towards goals that I wanted and never got but everything is after falling into place for me and I now have a job I love.
Rebecca – My realisation that I didn't have to decide right then that I wanted to be a teacher took a weight off my shoulders.
Natalie - I wanted to go on and do a Master’s so I was all the time working towards that. The feeling you will have when you actually get your degree motivated me to a certain extent.
Tracy - Knowing that if I do well, I have a degree that will stand to me. That I can do nothing for a while I’m deciding what to do next but that I have worked for something that no one can take from me.
Everyone including myself agrees that friends are the saviour of final year. Having my friends helped me keep sane through my final year. They kept me active and dragged me away from the library to go out and do anything but study. I am so grateful to them for doing that.
Lara - Friends. Especially getting to chat to Sorcha every night before bed.
Natalie - Knowing that I could talk to friends in my course who understood exactly what I was going through helped a lot.
Ellie - It was the friendships that arose between people I never would've expected to happen. For most of my college experience I was not an active or popular member of my class, in college or socially, so approaching final year I became so anxious about tackling final year "on my own". It surprised and overwhelmed me that because each person in my class was mature enough to realise we were all in the same boat that any past lack of friendships were forgotten. Essentially, having a common goal and tackling final year together as a class group made it less painful.
There are lots of ways to get through final year. Finding out what works best for you is important. Remember it’s not the be all and end all. Stay active, and keep in touch with friends and family. It’s one of the most important years where you need to be aware of yourself and mind yourself.
Best of Luck!
Show SpunOut.ie that you care by visiting our JustGiving page and clicking the 'Care' button. Each click = a €1 donation to us and it's free for you.
For the month of September, JustGiving are celebrating their Big Irish Care Challenge where you can show support for causes that you care about. You can Care for us here!
If you can it would be great to share the 'Care' with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
It doesn’t cost you anything, you just have to sign in with an email or Facebook and click the care button. It only takes a few seconds.
Each year over 580,000 people visit SpunOut.ie reading over 1.7m pages of information. Donations from the public play a massive part in funding our service. Every €1 we receive helps us help two young readers.
Thanks for helping spread the word!
It’s time to stop just asking people to talk about their mental health, and it’s time for us to learn to listen. ‘Talking’ is the powerful keyword echoed by Mental Health Organisations, young adults, artists, Students’ Unions and those who have finally opened up to the fact that it is okay not to feel okay, and opening dialogue that makes living manageable. It is the cornerstone the Samaritans work by, but it doesn’t translate so well when discussion elsewhere is faltering. Talking and listening is all we have to offer as the health system is stumbling behind any real milestone for supporting mental health issues on so many tiers.
Challenging the public and opening our eyes to our stigmatising attitudes were just the first few sparks in the burning issue that will eventually flame into a hopeful and shining light at the end of a dark, and torturing tunnel. We are too complacent with the Please Talk campaign that we are in danger of simply deflecting and shying away from the real issue at hand. Yes, talking and seeking help is crucial - but who’s listening, and what are we doing about it?
Mental health is a deadly, hidden and isolating beast. It creates waves of intense loneliness and suffering and is a widespread experience. The Challenging Times Two Study showed that 1 in 2 (56%) of young Irish adults between the ages of 19 – 24 experience at least one form of a mental disorder, while 1 in 4 experience more than one over their lifetime. This is more than a startling statistic; it’s the real startling reality about our society and us. It is a reality I am firmly a part of.
There are days where I feel paralysed by an overwhelming sense of sadness, lethargy and feelings of impending doom. With no motivation or drive to even get up or eat, I lie in bed with only my sad thoughts about my past, and anxiety of the future for company. I have had thoughts of suicide, but these were long ago. Luckily for me, my days of being mentally and physically exhausted are less frequent.
My feelings of brief and infrequent heaviness will be my passenger in life. I’m like any ‘typical’ young Irish male: outgoing, driven, sociable and happy on the outside, and on the inside too, except for those days when I am weighed down to the ground. I talk to my friends. But at the end of the day, it’s not a real solution. There are people who are completely crippled by their mental health conditions and how can we expect people to be fully prepared to be able to really help them?
Smashing stigmas to help people shake off the embarrassment, shame, fear of labels, and people ‘finding out’ are the best tools for bringing down the wall between seeking help and isolation. This blockade is being torn down, brick by brick, by so many hands that we’re now coming face-to-face with mental health and we don’t know what to say. We are slowly realising that we actually know very little, and we’re becoming increasingly more aware of how little we can do besides nod and passively listen. How can we expect ourselves to readily be capable of empathising and actively supportive rather than sympathising and passively listening? What would you say, or do, if someone told you they had suicidal thoughts and couldn’t face living anymore?
‘Reach Out’, the National Strategy for Action on Suicide (2005 – 2014) found that young Irish men are willing to talk about their problems. So, we’re talking but are we really just talking out loud? The challenges are now in those confiding relationships where the dialogue starts. We lack listening skills as well as talking skills around mental health. There is training available. We have resources such as safeTALK and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) equipping the public to intervene and actively listen when suicide has been identified in high-risk individuals. Colleges around the country have Peer Support programmes available, and provide these types of training but it can be too late for a lot of young people who suffer alone and never get to this level of support.
Of course we need to keep talking, but we also need to be able to listen. We can share statuses on social media, and keep talking amongst ourselves but at what point does talking about talking become a circular and redundant approach? We need to educate people early on in school just like we do with physical health, sexual health and first aid. We place the onus on people to take the first step by asking them to please talk but it’s up to us to take the next step and learn to listen.
You've just got your exam results and you're planning on heading out tonight. The chances are that alcohol may play a part in your night, and even if you're not drinking, some of your friends might be. So it’s important to remember to drink responsibly and know what to do if things get out of hand.
Keep in mind that if you are feeling down about your results, then alcohol might not be a good idea. Alcohol is a depressant and may add to your feelings of lowness or make you a tad emotional. Going might be the last thing you feel like doing so don't feel pressured in to anything. But if you do drink, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Remember that it’s against the law for a young person under 18 to buy alcohol or drink alcohol in a public place.
Asking about one’s habits between the sheets can be a touchy subject for some young people, but we caught up with festival goers at Bundoran’s Sea Sessions to talk frankly about protecting their sexual health. Choosing to protect yourself and whoever you choose to sleep with is important at any time, but it can be particularly paramount at festivals for those who make the decision to have sex. We chatted with guys who had bought a box of ‘communal condoms’ to share, girls who weren’t intending to have sex this weekend and a group who were negative about girls carrying condoms. See what they all had to in the our sexual health video which will be up soon!
Having one day come across a statistic that 75% of college students have never had an STI test (National Student Survey 2014), I have since been trying to break the embarrassed silence that sometimes arises from talking about sexual health. A casual conversation about STI tests in my class one day had culminated in the logical inclusion from one of the guys that STI tests were subsidised in DIT. However, it had quickly been followed by the caveat that he did not know this from first-hand experience. Why is it that some of us are finally getting comfortable about discussing sex, yet we still have difficulty actually speaking about getting tested for sexually transmitted infections?
It’s a topic that I have often breached with my friends, and despite realising the importance of regular sexual health screenings, they had told me startling stories about the stigma they had faced getting tested sometimes even from medical staff. One of my friends who had simply gone in for reassurance that he was STI-free, had been greeted with, “did your girlfriend make you come in?” from a nurse in his university. Another had said she had two nurses make comments about the number of sexual partners she had had.
This was by no means the first time I had encountered stigma attached to maintaining sexual health. However, I still felt a bit shocked when one particular group of young men we interviewed seemed to be a little disgusted by the idea of a girl carrying condoms, at first joking that they were “sluts” but then pausing to say, “still at the same time, you’re thinking – Jesus!”. That being said, many groups we interviewed were supportive of the idea of young women carrying condoms, using terms such as “fair play” and “responsible”. Luckily, public opinion may be moving towards giving priority to sexual health over potentially damaging stigmas.
Protecting yourself from STIs and unwanted pregnancies is an issue, that if you do choose to become sexually active, matters immediately, as a particularly eye-opening study from UNICEF illustrates. During their first sexual experience 19% said they did not use a condom and 57% did not use birth control, and 62% had consumed alcohol beforehand. Importantly, certain sexually transmitted infections which can be asymptomatic, therefore go unnoticed and if untreated can lead to issues with fertility.
To find out more about sexually transmitted infections and where you can get free screenings, click here.
In February 2013 SpunOut.ie and comedian Des Bishop launched an initiative aimed at reacquainting ourselves with Sunday mornings.
‘Hello Sunday Morning’ encourages us to try life without booze for a few weeks, a few months or even a year, and to write about our experiences online at www.HelloSundayMorning.ie
Check out this video we made with Des:
‘Hello Sunday Morning’ focuses on encouraging people to realise their full potential and not to feel that you need alcohol to enjoy yourself. It is not an anti-alcohol initiative, nor does the campaign urge people to give up alcohol for good, but rather to take a break and see what happens and use that experience to inform your future drinking habits. You can take a 3 or 12 month break from Alcohol.
What is impressive about ‘Hello Sunday Morning’ is that it encourages people to change their lifestyles and have the power to control their lives. Alcohol takes too much of a grip on people and that can never be a good thing. You should be controlling alcohol – not the other way around. The research from the Australian example is clear; when you do take a break from alcohol, you feel better, you feel more in control and you end up – generally speaking – with a better relationship with alcohol.
On the website you can:
Last year, a number of high profile Irish people took the plunge and took a break from booze, you can read about how they got on here:
Finally, check out these two cheeky chappies from Spin 1038 on how they got on with Hello Sunday Morning: