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0 In Careers/ School

CAO Offers: What To Do Now

How To:CAO Change of Mind

The motto of the CAO really should be “May the odds be ever in your favour” because its pretty tense and you literally can never guarantee how it’s going to go.

We’ve talked you though the whole process of the CAO from the initial application to the change of mind, but now it’s finally time to see what the next step is for you because the CAO offers are out.

Panic and confusion can start to set in, so here’s a quick guide about what to do and the options available to you…


If you’re happy with your course and it’s 100% what you want…

Firstly, congrats!! Secondly, accept it now. Yes, the deadline is Friday, but why wait? There’s a lot to do now that you’re college bound, so tick that one job off the list. If you miss the deadline your place will be offered to someone else.


If you got offered another course…

The big question that you need to ask yourself is ,will this course still give you the qualification that you need to pursue your chosen career? If the answer is no, you need to walk away from this offer. Don’t get side-tracked about what you want to do with your life. There is no point going to college just for the sake of going. Yes, it’s so much harder to admit that it didn’t work out for you, but honestly no one is going to judge you. The LC is hard and the CAO system leaves a lot to be desired.

And another thing; it would be awful to think that you might be taking the place of someone who desperately wants to be on the course. All courses not accepted go back into the system and are then offered to people in Round 2. Which also means that if someone turns down the course you want you *might* still get it.


If you got no CAO offers at all…

It happens and it’s awful. We’ve already put together a comprehensive guide about your Leaving Cert options if you need to up your points. Another avenue worth considering is the vacant course options. Again, don’t take something if it’s not what you really want.


If you’re not ready for college

So, you got a course that you do actually kinda like the sounds of, but you’re not quite sure if you’re ready for the whole college thing right now? Well, you have the option to defer the course for one year. This usually means paying a deposit to hold the spot for you. A gap year can be an invaluable experience in life, IF you do it correctly. Think traveling or trying out a new job and not sleeping in everyday!


This can be a super exciting time in your life, but it can also be filled with uncertainty and anxiety. If you need to chat to anyone to set your mind straight we have a list of helplines. The best of luck to you all and please do pop us a message to let us know how you’re getting on!

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle

#GirlsInSTEM: Niamh Kavanagh Chats About A Career In Physics

Niamh Kavanagh


Welcome back to the third part in our #GirlsInSTEM series! Make sure that you are all caught up on Part 1 (Why We Need More Girls In STEM) and Part 2 ( Andrea Gonzales Talks Girl Code).

As part of the series we intend to interview 4 women making waves in STEM. First up we’re chatting to Niamh Kavanagh about what it’s like to work in Physics.


What is your current role and what does it involve?

I am a PhD student, which is a strange mix of college and a job. I get paid to do my research but I also have to do a few courses here & there. One of the goals of my PhD is to build a new type of optical communications system, so I spend a lot of time in the lab doing that. An optical communications system is made up of lots of different components. Basically any time you send information over the internet, you’re using an optical communication system. Computers talk to each other in a binary language of 1’s and 0’s. We turn this digital information into pulses of light using lasers, e.g. turn the laser on for 1 and off for 0. These pulses of light travel around the world (across continents and under oceans) through optical fibres, this is why the information can go so far so quickly. What I’m trying to do is make a new system that’s based on new types of optical fibres that could allow us to send more information, faster than ever before. So my job involves a lot of time in the lab, designing the system, running test & tweaking equipment to get the best performance. But there’s a lot of other aspects to my job outside the lab too, I have to read a lot of papers to learn about my field, write papers of my own to communicate my findings to other researchers and attend lots of different trainings so I can learn new skills. The communication side of things is a big part of my job, I present at conferences all around the world to share my work with other researchers but also I communicate with people outside my field; I visit schools, take part in public events & do interviews like this! I think it’s important that the public can stay informed about science if they’re interested & I want to make that as accessible to as many people as I can.


What subjects did you study for the Leaving Cert?

I did English, Irish, Maths, France, Geography, Music & Physics.

I actually didn’t pick Physics to begin with, I chose Chemistry initially. I knew I wanted to do a science but I was never a fan of biology & I didn’t know anything about Physics. I chose Chemistry, but it turned out to be on at the same time as Music, so I couldn’t do both & I knew I wanted to do music because I had learned the piano outside of school & thought that would make the subject much easier. So for that reason alone, I ended up doing Physics!


Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I went on to study Physics at University College Cork.

For a long time I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college. I used to think I wanted to be a primary school teacher, but in Transition Year I did work experience in a school & quickly discovered that that wasn’t for me. This threw me into a spin because I hadn’t a clue what else to do.

I spent a lot of time worrying about it. I remember being very good at knowing what I didn’t want to do (lawyer, doctor, chef etc.) but I couldn’t think of a job I would like to do. In one of my sessions with my careers teacher, she asked me what my favourite subject was & I told her it was Physics. She said, well, what about that then? I was pretty doubtful but I looked into it & was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I learned that a degree in Physics gives you a wide variety of transferable skills that can be applied in lots of different areas. This sounded perfect to me, so I went for it.


What made you want to pursue a career in STEM?

I wasn’t especially passionate about science as a child I don’t think. I liked to read a lot, I enjoyed learning & I didn’t mind maths. I had a great Physics teacher in secondary school who didn’t mind me asking lots of questions, so that helped me enjoy the subject a lot. But really I think I chose STEM for quite practical reasons; I thought a degree in STEM would give me lots of options to have a good job & an interesting career.


Were you aware that women are underrepresented in STEM?

Yes. Even in secondary school when I told people I was going to study Physics in college there was raised eyebrows. I knew it wasn’t “normal”.

It’s not right that that’s the case. Anyone that’s interested in STEM should be able to pursue that interest, without being seen as abnormal.

In college I was very lucky to be a part of a very supportive year, we all worked together on everything & helped each other every step of the way. But when we graduated in 2014, I was one of two girls in a class of 20.

I remember at the start of college, feeling a lot of pressure associated with that, feeling like that if I did bad in a test that it reflected badly on my gender as a whole. That I had to do well or it would further confirm the incorrect assumption that Physics wasn’t for women. It made the first few months of college even harder I think. But I had to let that expectation go, it was too much pressure to take on. All you can do is do your best. It shouldn’t matter what gender you are. But as I said, the year I was in was very supportive and I think that helped a lot.


Did this underrepresentation give you any doubts about pursuing your chosen career?

Yes. To be honest, more-so as I’ve gone on in my career, I have found working in a male-dominated atmosphere more difficult. The culture can be very traditional & unwilling to change to be more welcoming to women & LGBT people. Also, the academic career path (from PhD to Post-Doc & then maybe lecturer) is very difficult to manage as you are expected to move around a lot internationally to gain experience & because there are not a lot of available positions. It can be very competitive & I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice my personal life in the way that might be necessary to gain a good position in academia.

I know from looking at the research that these are challenges that impact women more than men & although improvements are being made, it is off-putting. An alternative career path to academia is to go into industry & work for a company (rather than a university or research institute). I am strongly considering that route at the moment. Since I’m in the final year of my PhD I’m thinking a lot about this at the moment, one thing I’ve certainly learned though is that very few people have it all figured out. Very few have a plan. No one really knows for sure what they what to be when they grow up. You’re constantly questioning yourself & trying to make the best decision for you & your family at that particular time.


Do you feel you are at a disadvantage by being a woman in STEM? i.e. Do you feel your male colleagues are given better opportunities, promoted more often, taken more seriously etc.

This is a difficult question because from my own personal experience it is difficult to point to serious examples of when I have been obviously disadvantaged because of my gender and, on the flip-side of that, I have some examples of times that I have received specific support because of my gender (i.e. programmes to encourage more women participating in STEM) but I think this is because you can never really know the opportunities that you weren’t given because of your gender, unless someone tells you, which often is not the case.

So, for example, in 2012, over 100 US STEM professors were asked to rate the CV of a student applying for a pretend laboratory manager position. Based on the CV, they were asked: Do you think this person is competent? Would you hire them & would you personally mentor them? The catch was that all the CVs were absolutely identical, except half had a male name, John & half had a female name, Jennifer. The results showed that, even though both CVs were identical, John was rated higher than Jennifer in all aspects of competence, hire-ability & mentorship. The kicker was that they were they asked to assign a starting salary for the student. John was offered a mean salary of nearly 4000 dollars more Jennifer, again for the exact same CV. So, the research shows that women in STEM can be disadvantaged in comparison to their male colleagues by being given better opportunities, promoted more often & taken more seriously.

I don’t think this is a reason not to do STEM, I think it is still a field full of fantastic opportunities and exciting careers. I just think it’s very important to be aware of these disparities that do exist so we can work towards fixing them.


How do you suggest girls in school now get involved in STEM and work towards equalling the field?

So, I’m going to address the first half of this question first, if you’re interested in STEM please get involved! There are lots of different initiatives to support young people, and young girls especially, who have a passion for STEM. Try to talk to anyone you know who works in a STEM-related job. Ask at your local university or Tech Company to see if they have outreach activities or support structures that you can get involved with. There’s a lot of national initiatives as well around Science Week and Engineers Week where there are lots of events on around the country, so keep an eye out for those! The internet is an endless resource, where you can find anything about anything, so take advantage of that!

Secondly, I don’t think the responsibility should be on women to work towards equalling the field. The field is currently suffering because of a lack of diversity. Research has shown that diverse teams produce better results, make fewer errors and make more money. It is in our best interest to foster a diverse workforce. Women can of course support equality initiatives by getting involved, supporting other women & mentoring younger women, for example. We need to create a better, more welcoming, more inclusive culture in STEM so that when women do enter into STEM fields, we don’t see them leaving at higher rates than men (which unfortunately is the case currently). At the end of the day, in my opinion, we can’t put the responsibility on the few to change the culture of the many.


Even with a gender gap in STEM fields would you encourage young girls to still pursue this field, and why?

Even with everything I’ve said here, I still would encourage young women to pursue a career in STEM fields. STEM is such a wide field, full of exciting opportunities that can really take you anywhere. I know so many brilliant women in STEM doing amazing things to make the world a better place, they inspire me every day & I’m so glad that they chose STEM. But also, the unfortunate reality is that sexism exists everywhere. Gender disparities at higher, decision-making levels exists in many fields outside of STEM. You can’t let these things stop you from pursing what you’re passionate about.

If you’re interested in STEM, go for it.

You can follow Niamh on Twitter!

0 In Books/ Careers

#GirlsInSTEM: Andrea Gonzales Talks Girl Code

Andrea Gonzales

In the latest part of our #GirlsInSTEM series we chatted to Andrea Gonzales who wrote Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done with her friend Sophie Houser. Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous.

Andrea is a classically trained pianist, but when she discovered coding her life took a different turn. We spoke to her about her early desires to become an engineer, the challenges she faced being a woman in tech, and how Tampon Run has helped to destigmatise periods.


You have previously said your parents wanted you to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer. What made you choose engineer? 

When I was younger, I really admired this character in an old animated movie called Atlantis: The Lost Empire, named Audrey. She was this young, fiery, talented, and driven mechanic…I wanted to be just like her! I also liked video games, and my sisters had already called dibs on doctor and lawyer. I made the “decision” to be an engineer when I was around 5…so the choice to become an engineer was for several reasons that really only a kid would find motivating.


Were you and your parents aware before you decided to be an engineer that there was a gender gap in the STEM career paths?

Yes. I had never experienced it for myself before, and wouldn’t really experience it for a while, but I had a strong tomboy identity, so I felt that it wouldn’t be that hard for me because I was already so “boyish.”


If so, did this cause you to rethink your choice at any time or drive you to prove girls can do anything boys can do?

I’m a bit competitive, which both drives me to prove people wrong and raises the stakes of failure. I never liked the idea of not being able to do something, and especially not being able to do something because of my gender. It seemed like a challenge—a very daunting one, of course—but one that I was willing to take on.


Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser.

Why did you apply for Girls Who Code

I had already been coding for a few summers at a co-ed summer camp, and while I loved my time at that camp, I wanted a change. Girls Who Code is more than just a 101 course in computer science, it offers an incredibly supportive network and a foothold into a number of tech companies and connections. I also wanted to see how I would change as a programmer if I were surrounded by women. In some ways, Girls Who Code was more daunting to me than the co-ed, since I was such a tomboy and was intimidated by the idea of hanging with only women for nine hours a day. But honestly, it was because I had become accustomed to the idea of being surrounded by men. I’m glad I made the decision to apply!


We know your game Tampon Run was created to help deal with the stigmatisation of periods, how has the reaction to that been?

For the most part, it’s been incredibly positive. Even for me, when I first released Tampon Run, I still felt uncomfortable talking about my own period and about periods in general. After Tampon Run went viral, I had to adapt quickly, to say the least. People of all ages have played with the game, from parents who want to show the game to their kids, to middle school students who have started educating each other about the stigma surrounding menstruation. The message is that menstruation is a natural bodily function that young children should know about from an early age and without shame. Of course, there have been trolls and people who don’t get that, but Sophie and I have taken critique in stride; it’s made us stronger and more driven. Tampon Run has made lasting impact beyond our wildest dreams, and at the end of the day, we’re proud of that.


What advice would you give our readers if they want to get into coding or any STEM career?

Persevere! I’ve said this from the beginning and I’ll keep saying it. Going into STEM and coding is hard, period. Going into STEM and coding as a woman or other marginalized gender is even harder. But if you’re doing what you love, it’s incredibly rewarding, even if it is challenging. It will take a little more effort but find those other women in your STEM communities. Become an advocate for other women who haven’t taken the leap. You’d be surprised how just being in STEM as a woman can encourage others to join you. 

Can you recommend any online resources for those who might not have a class or camp close by?

For sure! Codecademy, Khan Academy, and are great places to start when learning to code. There are countless other online resources to get started; all you need is a computer and an internet connection.


How did you find putting your book Girl Code together? Did you enjoy the writing process?

We had a very short amount of time to write the book, and at the time I was finishing my senior year of high school. There were times where I’d be with friends but sit in a corner of their apartment editing a chapter or responding to my editor. I spent most of my school breaks with Sophie working on the book. I felt very exposed – it was tough talking about my life, knowing people I knew would read it…especially my parents. It was definitely a challenging time and it took a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and academically, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I never had so much time dedicated to thinking about my life, how I’ve changed, and how to articulate it all in writing. I grew so much as a writer and a thinker, and it was amazing to see that two years of work on Tampon Run manifested in a real, physical book. I cried when I got my first copy! And of course I’m so lucky to have gotten the chance to reach more young women by sharing my story in Girl Code. It was an incredible experience.


Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done is available now!

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle/ School

CAO Change of Mind: What To Do If You’re Having Doubts

How To:CAO Change of Mind

CAO Change of Mind

You filled out your CAO ages ago, you’re feeling confident in your choices, you know the grades you need to get and the Leaving Cert is new in the rearview window. However, maybe you have that niggling feeling at the back of your mind… maybe your top choice isn’t what you want to do. Are you doing this course for you or because your parents/fav teacher has pushed you towards it? It’s perfectly ok to have a change of heart, and we’re here to tell you exactly what to do if you feel like you might have changed your mind.

The Facts

  1. The CAO reopens on the 4th of May 2018 @ 12 Noon, and closes again on 1st July 2018 @ 17.15 sharp. This is also known as the CAO Change of Mind.
  2. There is no fee to change your CAO at this point.
  3. By submitting a CAO Change of Mind, the system automatically cancels “all the previous course choices in any category in which changes are made” However, the two course categories of Level 8 and Level 7/6 are treated separately. Changing a Level 8 course only effects other Level 8’s and vice versa.
  4. If changing, make sure you list the course you’re changing in the correct category. Also ensure all other courses you choose are in order before re-submitting.
  5. You can change your mind as many times as you like between the 4th of May and the deadline on 1st July 2018.

Knowing If You Want To Change Your Mind

You may be very confident in your choices and that’s great, but it won’t do you any harm to double-check your choices when the CAO reopens. Have a scroll through the list, make sure your first choice is still definitely your first choice. If you’ve only got 2 or 3 courses down, maybe do some more Googling and pop a few more down, it’s always good to have options, and there are so many courses out there to choose from.

You checked your courses and everything was in order. Now though, after sitting that exam, you’re a bit apprehensive, it wasn’t exactly what you expected. Self doubt will only stress you out in these situations.When under pressure we often make mountains out of mole hills, as they saying goes. You will probably surprise yourself once you open your results in August, so don’t jump the gun and change everything because you feel you mightn’t have done as well as you hoped. The best thing is to stick with what you want as your top choice, but throw in a few back-ups further down the list, just incase.

You’re more than likely over thinking things, but if you feel you want to avail of the CAO change of mind, there are a few things to consider.

Research, Research, Research

We can’t stress enough how important it is to research the course you want to do. This will be your life for the next 3/4 years, and perhaps your career after that. It’s important you have a keen interest in the subject, it’s even more important you see yourself being happy in the course. When doing your research we recommend you check the course outline, read the in-depth description of each module (both core modules and choice modules), and see what the course structure for years 2 and 3 etc is like. A great way to see what your course might lead to is to check the “careers” tab listed on most course pages. This page usually contains testimonials of past graduates sharing how the degree helped shape their career.

Go Broad or Go Home

If you’re on the fence (we don’t blame you, choosing a career path at the age of 17/18 is overwhelming at times) it’s best to look into courses that offer a broad range of material. Rather than choosing a course that is very specific and may lead to a smaller amount of career paths or future study, pick something that is a bit broader in its structure. Your friends/family/teachers may have opinions on these types of courses, but when you’ve graduated and can dip into an abundance of careers or postgrads you’ll be reassured you made the right decision for you when it came to the CAO all those years ago! Check out QualifaX for a range of info on all things education.

Don’t Follow The Crowd

If you check your CAO and it’s a list of courses at a college or uni where your friends are going, perhaps take a moment to re-evaluate. Going to a certain college just because it’s where a majority of your friends are going is not always a wise choice. Especially if you’re having doubts about the course you’ve chosen on your CAO. Going to college is a life experience like none other. It’s often an opportunity to evolve, try new things, evaluate who you are, and “find yourself.” (Perfectly ok to graduate and still not have a clue of any of this, but it’s always nice to think it’s an option).

So, if you’re doubting your CAO choices and want to go to a uni that isn’t a popular choice among friends, go for it. This is your life, choosing a path based on other people’s ideas and opinions is something you may end up regretting.

PLC Please

If you’re panicking about how the LC went, cover your back and look into some PLC courses. It’s not going to do any harm having back-ups if things don’t go the way you wanted. Look up the courses on your CAO and see if they accept PLC courses as another means of entry. PLC’s are also a great way to get a taster for the course you’ve chosen to do. So, if things don’t go right in August, rest assured that there are other options than just those you listed on your CAO.

We will have more about your options once the Leaving Cert results are out.

Have you any questions or concerns about the CAO change of mind? Let us know in the comments below.

0 In Careers

Irish Women In Business: Girl Boss Inspirations

Marissa Carter
Cocoa Brown Tan cover
Aug 13, 2017

When we think of the corporate world we often envisage men in suits talking stocks and bonds. However, women are now more than ever, taking on the business world; turning their passions into award-winning companies. For such a small island, Ireland has produced some of the best of the best women in business. We’ve compiled a list of some of our fave Irish Girl Boss inspirations.

Cocoa Brown

You’ve obviously never stopped foot in a Penneys or Pharmacy if you don’t immediately know Cocoa Brown.

The founder, Marissa Carter, worked hard to establish her brand Cocoa Brown. Unable to afford beauty college, Marissa was sponsored by The Galligan Beauty College and graduated with an honours as a beauty therapist.

Starting her first business, Carter Beauty Salon, in a house she was renting at the time, Marissa’s business soon grew and by 2012 was one of Ireland’s leading beauty salons!

That same year was the birth of Marissa’s tan, Cocoa Brown. Having attended the Circadia Institute in the US, Marissa gained a certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry and Skin Histology. Later that year, Cocoa Brown hit the shelves and the rest is history. Marissa’s brand now carries an abundance of different products and is sold out in 20 countries worldwide. Kylie Jenner is also a fan!

Not content with dominating the beauty business with Cocoa Brown, Marissa is about to launch her own makeup range, Crater Beauty Cosmetics, in July.

Marissa’s story shows that hard work, dedication, and investing in yourself and your education can lead to becoming the ultimate Girl Boss!

Izzy Wheels online teen mag ireland

Izzy Wheels

Izzy Wheels was founded by Dublin based sisters Ailbhe and Izzy Keane.

What started off as a college project for Ailbhe, turned into an amazing award-winning business for the sisters.

Inspired by Izzy, who was born with Spina Bifida and is paralysed from the waist down, Ailbhe noticed the first thing people saw was Izzy’s wheelchair. The wheelchair was not reflective of Izzy’s bubbly personality, and so she designed wheelchair covers that expressed personality and style.

Izzy Wheels is an inspiring story of two sisters coming together to form a creative fashion brand. Their success has been amazing, having been featured on The Late Late Show, as well as in Vogue Magazine. These sisters are ones to watch! Check out their Instagram for pictures of their amazing designs.



Born in Wicklow, Chupi Sweetman spent her early career as a designer having been scouted by Topshop at just 21! After 6 years in fashion, Chupi had a change of heart and decided she wanted to “create something that lasted forever and celebrated Ireland’s incredible design heritage.” In 2013, Chupi the brand was born!

Chupi now has a team of 23, her pieces feature in London Fashion Week, and has a global fan base from NYC to Tokyo.

Chupi puts incredible work into her individual pieces, each one telling its own story. Follow the Chupi Instagram for beautiful pics and lovely background stories as to who or where the piece is going to! We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but… Chupi may be the sweetest Girl Boss going!



We here at Missy are big advocates for women and girls in STEM. When we came across Nuritas, a company founded by Dr. Nora Khaldi, a mathematician with a PhD in Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics, we were all sorts of excited.

Not only is Nora a successful mathematician, she is also branching into the business world and holding the title of ultimate Girl Boss. Nuritas is aiming to tackle the health challenges facing the world, with their unique capabilities. Their technology is used to mind peptides in natural foods that can help in curing and preventing diseases. Impressive, right?   


ÍON Herbs

Another Girl Boss who has come from a STEM background, Dr. Aoife Kelly has developed her brand ÍON herbs. Having always been interested in herbal medicine and with an abundance of scientific knowledge, Aoife quit her job as an engineer in 2014 to pursue her passion.

ÍON drinks are used for a range of health needs. Aoife is dedicated to producing high quality herb drinks that are 100% plant based. ÍON’s can be purchased in a number of stores such as Lloyds Pharmacy and The Happy Pear.


Simply Fit Food

Developed by fitness fanatics Luke and Evelyn, Evelyn is obvs the Girl Boss of this company. Inspired by the idea that keeping fit can take up a lot of time and energy, Simply Fit Food was established to deliver healthy meals that are freshly packed straight to your door. Making cooking and staying healthy that little bit easier. Evelyn began her journey to exercise and healthy eating when at 16 she was diagnosed with an under active thyroid. A self-proclaimed foodie, Evelyn understands the stigma around healthy food but thankfully her Mam taught her that healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless.

Simply Fit Food is an award-winning business, but we’re not surprised considering it’s such a great idea!


0 In Books/ Careers

How To Become An Author With Holly Black

A few weeks ago we were super lucky to get the chance to sit down and chat with author, Holly Black, about her latest book, The Cruel Prince. While we were chatting to Holly she was very generous with her advice to aspiring authors. And we just had to pass it one because it was just so real and valuable.

So, if you fancy a lifetime of crafting words, here’s how to become an author…


Writing Her First Book Was Hard

It took me about 5 years to write my first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale. And I didn’t really know how to write a book. And so a big part of it was just trying to work that out. I went back all the time. And I think this is often a problem; you know when you are a good reader and a critical reader and you know you are not doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing and so you write it and you’re like “woa that is not book-shaped“. That doesn’t work. But I don’t know why it doesn’t it doesn’t work because I’m writing my first book. And I have no experience as a writer. I have tons of experience as a reader. And I think that was a huge part of both how I found my way, but also what got in my way.

I had that inner critic that said “This is wrong. Its wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong“. And I had to go back and I would change it and change it and change it. And then finally I found my way through. But I really despaired at finishing. It became “I wonder if this will ever end?” It takes time, especially the first book. And it will never be as hard again because you learn so much.


Holly’s Writing Process

I try to write everyday. I write about a 1000 words a day, which isn’t that much. I’m not that fast. Sometimes I can maybe write 2000 words on maybe a red-letter day. I have been trying what I call fast drafting which is basically bashing it out for maybe the last book I wrote, which is the sequel to The Cruel Prince. I’ve finished Wicked King, which is the sequel to The Cruel Prince. It is finished. I’ve never been this far ahead. I’ve written 20,000 words of it. I have a rough idea of where it’s going. I have a pretty good plan. Fingers crossed.


You Have To Write Even When It’s Not Fun

I think sometimes people think that writing is fun for me. It’s not! She says with a laugh. “It’s just as unfun for me as it is for you. I don’t know what’s happening either. And its frustrating. And I can’t wait for it to be fun.

For sure, sometimes it’s fun and when I was young I would only write when it was fun but I can’t do that. If you’re going to write professionally you have to write when it’s not fun. And I think sometimes that we worry that the stuff we write during those times is worse. But when you look back I guarantee you will never be able to tell which days were the days that if felt like pulling teeth and which days it came out of you easily. I always think it’s important to know that it isn’t you, that you feel this way where you’re like oh, why is this so hard?” It’s just hard.

And the other thing that I realized is that you have to write the book that your reader self would want, not the book that your writer self thinks you ought to write. You know, don’t challenge your writer-self. Do the thing your reader self is really excited about.


The Key Ingredient When Writing…

Showing and not telling. There are many cases where you need to show and not tell, but as an absolute rule I think it can really trip people up because there are times when you just need to tell the readers somethings and showing them to the reader will take a reeeeally long time and in fact just being like ok here’s this fact now we go to the story. Because what the reader care about is the story.


Criticism Is Necessary

I had a critique partner which was really helpful because at least it was one other person who was expecting it. It was a huge help for me. It can be helpful. It’s a person who will keep you accountable. And I think also it’s great to have someone who critiques your work, someone to tell you what’s working and really telling you this part is great. And it’s great to be able to critique their work because we learn to be a better reader of other people’s work and a better reader of our own work



The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, the first book in the The Folk of the Air series is available in hardback now.

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle

Tips To Land Your First Summer Job

Tips To Land Your First Summer Job

There comes a time when you realise summer can be spent earning yourself some dollah dollah bills (well, Euro, but you get what we mean…) Finding your first summer job can be a daunting task. It often feels like people are looking for you to have a lot of experience in the job, but you need the job to get said experience. A vicious cycle if there ever was one! But never fear, we’re here to help you land that first summer job with these tips and tricks!


1. Put Together a CV

First things first, you need a CV. This should include your personal details, your education history, and any relevant experience or qualifications you may have. If you did TY, you should defo pop down whatever job you undertook as part of your work experience. Any sports, activities, and computer skills should also be listed. If you’ve volunteered doing any charity projects pop that down too, it always looks great on a CV.

It’s important to include a brief “About Me” section on your CV, it not only gives the hiring manager a sense of your personality, but if you don’t have much experience it bulks things out a bit. Keep things short and sweet when composing your CV, 2 A4 pages is the recommended amount. You’re one step closer to landing that summer job!

Canva offer a great CV builder, with loads of different designs you can personalise to suit your tastes. This is a great way to get creative, and convey your personality to an employer! And did we mention that its free?

2.   The Search

Searching for your first summer job can seem a very long and dull task. Websites and Apps like indeed make searching a whole lot easier. With most of these sites you can tailor your search to suit your needs by entering a title and location. It’s possible to sort jobs by the relevance or date posted, or distance from your location. It’s also possible to create job alerts. You’ll receive an email informing you of any relevant summer jobs that have been posted.

3.  It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know (Sometimes)

Often, landing you first summer job is through some kind of connection. Your aunty’s best friend has a nephew looking for wait staff, you get the gist. Put some feelers out amongst family and friends saying you’re looking for a summer job and you could find that you’ll be inundated with potential jobs.

4. The Interview

Possibly the most exciting thing about summer job hunting, the email (or phone call) arriving asking if you’re available to interview! You say yes, arrange a time and date, hang up and… panic! “What do I say?” “What do I wear?!” Take a deep breath, calm yourself, Missy is here to help.

You want to ensure you exude confidence. Interviews can be daunting, but when you think about it, it’s basically a discussion about yourself, and what do you know better than you? Walk into the room with a friendly smile, a polite greeting and an extended hand (the handshake is always very important, seems a pretty strange outdated thing but just roll with it…).

Don’t forget to read our tips on building confidence!

Make sure you’ve done some research into the role and the company. Even your local café has some history to it so ask around and see if you can suss out when it was established, who owns it, get to know the menu a little bit. All this info will impress the interviewer and show you’re a fast learner with a keen interest.

If they ask about experience and you don’t have any pertaining exactly to the role play up any skills you have. For example, if you play sports you’re a great team player. If you’ve volunteered highlight any project or leadership skills you may have acquired. It might seem irrelevant in your head but you’d be surprised the lessons you’ve picked up along you life so far and how they can come in handy, helping you adapt to the work environment!

5. You did it!

Congratulations on your new job! It can be a bit of a shock to the system adapting to working life, but rest assured you’ll get the hang of it no time. Go in with an open mind and a can do attitude and you’ll fly it! You’re also now a taxpayer.. (not so yay…)! This can seem overwhelming at first, but Revenue have a great source of information on their site about registering your first job and how you’ll be taxed etc.

Good luck on your adventure to being a #GirlBoss!

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle

#GirlsInSTEM: Why We Need More Girls In STEM

Welcome to the first instalment in our new series, Girls In STEM!

Missy recently attended the Dublin Tech Summit. Throughout the informative presentations we noticed a recurring theme. Many of the speakers were talking about women and girls becoming more and more interested in pursuing STEM subjects, and how important it is that women feel like they have the option to join these career fields.


What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Read More About STEM: Smart Features 


Never Heard of STEM?


We didn’t know an awful lot about it either, and we think we know why…

For years girls and women have been told there are certain subjects and careers more suited to them. In school girls are often encouraged to pursue Home Ec. rather than the likes of Metal Work, or Technical Graphics. The latter subjects are seen as more “hands on” and “manly” so why would a girl want to pursue these?

Feeling slightly confused at to why this sexist element to our education system exists? Us too…

Interested In STEM? Go For It…


…But, there is a way to break the cycle and that’s what we here at Missy hope to help in doing by producing content that informs you, the reader, of the endless possibilities in choosing a career in STEM. We’ll be investigating each path throughout a series of articles. This first one is dedicated to seeing the gender gap that exists in STEM career paths.

So next time it’s suggested to you you should take Art over Wood Work, ask yourself “is it cos I’m a girl?” “Are they suggesting the same thing to my male peers?” It’s 2018, a woman is more than capable of using machinery (and her brain), so you do you and pick the subject you want to do, even if the class will be 90% boys.


The Gender Gap in STEM


“In the European Union (EU-28), women accounted for less than half (42.2%) of tertiary education graduates in the natural sciences, mathematics and statistics, and information and communication technologies combined in 2015.” – This means that men equate for 57.8% of graduates in most STEM Subjects (yikes!).

We Need More Girls In STEM!

This male domination of the STEM fields often means women are put off the idea of pursuing these careers. Often, if they do, women are more likely to leave their career in STEM. This really isn’t good enough if you ask us. We don’t think it’s right that women are feeling they should let go of their dreams of being a scientist or an engineer because men dominate the field. That’s why we’re hoping to educate and inspire young girls to pursue these STEM careers. And encourage you not worry about the fields being male-dominated.

If enough of us girls are inspired, and motivate others, we’ll soon see an equal representation of men and women in STEM. (Who knows, STEM might even be female dominated one day!). We can already see things are changing, “in 2016, women made up more than a third (40.1%) of scientists and engineers in the EU-28, an increase of more than 20% since 2007.” –

Keep an eye out for our next instalment focusing on Girls In STEM!

0 In Books/ Careers

An Interview With Cecelia Ahern

An Interview With Cecelia Ahern perfect

We are massive fans of YA here at Missy. So, we were really excited to hear that bestselling Irish author Cecelia Ahern was writing a YA series. Fast forward to now and Cecelia has written two books in her first YA series, Flawed and the soon-to-be-released Perfect. We had the chance to chat to Cecelia about the series as well as becoming an author, breaking rules and the importance of find your own voice…

Growing up did you always want to be an author?

I never knew that I wanted to be an author, but I loved writing from a very early age. It was something I did privately and never showed anybody else, and I never considered that it could actually be a job. I wrote a diary every day which I found was really important to help me figure things out. I also wrote songs and poems. At fourteen I attempted my first book ‘Beans on Toast and a Bottle of Beer’ but when my English teacher discovered I was writing it, and wanted to read it, I stopped writing because I was so embarrassed. I studied a degree in Journalism and Media Communications in college and so I always knew I liked writing and that I wanted to tell stories but never thought about writing books as a career.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your career footsteps?

Write as much as you can. Write because you enjoy it, not just because you want a book on the shelf. For most writers it’s not an easy career to make a living from and so I think that your passion for writing has to be the number one reason. If you want to take it seriously, I recommend seeking out an agent to represent you because the agent will be best at finding a publishing house for you. It’s a very confusing big industry and I’m still trying to figure it out. Write what moves you, not what you think other people want to read. Write with your own voice and immediately you will be unique, because nobody thinks exactly like you and therefore nobody can write like you. Be brave with your writing. Break all the rules that those writing classes teach you!

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who are independent thinkers, creative people, people who follow their own path and use their own voice. I love positive people, and I get great energy from kindness. I love meeting with artists and designers, my good friend is a sculptor and I love that we can talk about our creativity without sounding weird to others. Hearing how they work and view the world inspires me. My husband is a great out-of-the-box thinker and we can have the best ‘what if’ chats.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

It’s all going to be okay. I worried about a lot of things, I always felt left out and I think I turned to writing to try to understand all of those feelings. I didn’t feel like I thought like everybody else and that can be alienating, but I realise now that that is a strength. It’s good to be unique, it’s good to have your own ideas, thoughts and opinions.

An Interview With Cecelia Ahern perfect

Before Flawed you focused on Adult Fiction. What made you decide to start writing YA?

The story decided it for me! The idea for Flawed and Perfect arrived with a bang in my head one day, Celestine arrived fully formed. I held the pen but honestly, these books wrote themselves. I couldn’t write fast enough, I was so excited, and loved every second of writing these books.

Where did the idea for Flawed come from?

I was inspired by the fact that I believe that we are living in a very judgemental society, one that is quick to point the finger at others, that there can be witch hunts for people who make decisions that the rest of society frown upon. It feels like we already have the court of public opinion and I wanted to make that a reality in the story. We already brand people who have done something that is frowned upon, I just decided to make that branding a physical thing part of a society that is afraid of making mistakes.

Although Flawed and Perfect are set in a dystopian future there are a lot of similarities in society today, especially with the pressures to be perfect. Was that something that was important for you to focus on?

I have always argued the dystopian label because what I wrote is based on what’s happening in the world now. It’s also inspired by history, by apartheid, by world war 2, by penal laws in Irish history and so it’s impossible to read this book and say ‘that could never happen’ because it’s already happening. I’m not sure if the pressure to be perfect is more important now then it ever was, I think societies have always been judgemental on each other, but I think with social media, online media, the world is a very small place and one little thing becomes huge, one small mistake becomes enormous and it gives people little opportunity to have a second chance.

For teenagers, without a doubt there is more pressure to appear physically perfect, and that is so wrong on so many levels. It’s a strength to be different, it’s a strength to be unique, and there is no such thing as perfection. Everybody makes mistakes. The only way you can become better is by learning from them. I wish we could all know this at birth, but we have to figure it out the hard way!

How do you think readers will relate to Celestine?

Celestine begins as the perfect girl. She’s an A grade student, she has a boyfriend, she is popular, she is confident, she really has no anxieties. But when her piano teacher and neighbour is dragged from her home by the Whistleblowers, and branded Flawed, suddenly her viewpoint starts to shift. She starts to question things she always accepted. When Celestine is branded Flawed she starts to see things as they really are. She finds her own voice. She stops listening to the authorities in her life who she always trusted and realises that she has her own thoughts and her own developing opinions. When she just wants a normal teenage life, she is forced to speak up; she’s brave, she uses her logic and compassion to give a voice to those who are second class citizens. She is so inpsiring to me.

What’s the one thing you would like readers to take away from following Celestine’s journey?

Find your voice. Don’t follow the herd. Don’t be judgemental. Try to think of what it’s like to walk in other people’s shoes. Be kind. Be aware of injustices and right them when you can. And most of all, don’t stress about not being perfect. Nobody is.

Have you any plans for any other YA novels?

Yes! I have SO many ideas for YA novels there just isn’t enough time to write them. I have to focus on my adult novels for a while but as soon as I get a free few months, I’m getting straight to work on all of these other ideas, or my head will explode.


 by Cecelia Ahern is available now and Perfect will be released in paperback on the 25th of January.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy head over to our Facebook and Instagram pages.

You can follow Cecelia Ahern on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

0 In Careers

Everything You Need To Know About The CAO

Everything You Need To Know About The CAO

Everything You Need To Know About The CAOIt felt so far off, didn’t it? When all your teachers were yapping on about the CAO months ago you thought it was too silly because it was ages away. Well, it’s here now! No need to man the panic stations we have the lowdown on everything that you need to know about the CAO.

Making Your Application

Firstly, read the CAO handbook. Don’t mess about and try cut corners. Read the whole thing so you’re well-informed. Make sure to check the minimum entry requirements for each of the courses and take note of any restrictions, such as early application dates, supplementary information that may need to be submitted, or if an interview forms part of the qualification process. The fee for an online application is currently €45. There is an online discounted fee of €30 if you apply before 20th January (17:15). There’s more about the deadlines below. You can make your online application here. You have until the 1st of February to put courses down on your CAO in the order of 1 to 10 in terms of preference, but don’t get too worried about that just yet. Once you’ve completed the application keep everything safe. Make a special folder in your emails to keep all correspondence and if you receive any letters from the CAO put them in a special folder to keep them safe. And keep and eye out for any mistakes. You are responsible for yourself.

Know The Deadline Dates

Ok, first up this upcoming deadline. Get your application in. The 1st of February is the main cut off-date. Even if you’re not 100% what in the name of God you’re doing come next September, get your name in the system. It’s good to have a general idea of what you want to do but even if you don’t put something down for now like Arts or Business, and then you can change it later. It’s always best to keep your options open. Oh and those deadlines are there for a reason. You are not a special snowflake in the eyes of the CAO. Excuses and exceptions won’t be made just for you, so get your application in on time. If one of your course choices is on the restricted courses list you must have your application with the course on it in by the 1st of February. This is really important if you have you heart set on a medicine course.

The closing date for late applications is the 1st of May. You can read the full list of deadlines on the website.

Making Changes

After this cut-off the CAO will close and reopen for you to make changes. Changes cost €10 each time. We recommend not changing your CAO until it’s free to do so because who actually wants to spend more money especially when you can get it for free? Unless that is one of your courses falls into the restricted categories because early assessment for these may start as early as February. You can read more about restricted courses on the website. Hold off obsessing about you CAO. Keep looking for courses and researching. Once you have the Leaving Cert over you might have a better idea of how you fared. The Free Change Of Mind option opens the 4th of May and closes July 1. Fun story our Editor, Dani, found her future course in Trinity only a few ways before applications closed for good.

Know What You Want

Only put courses down that you’re actually interested in. You don’t want to be stuck in a course come September that you’re going to hate. Back-ups are great. Ideally have one. But only if it’s a viable and useful one. Talk to people who you know who have been through the process. Also seek out people who are in the course that you’re thinking about or people who are now working in the job that you’d like in the future. Colleges will gladly try put you in contact with someone if you have no-one to ask. is a great way to research and compare courses and CAO points. Another useful site is  Career Projector , which is a great way to help you find the right career path for you. Put your courses in the order that you genuinely want them. Don’t undersell yourself. Just think, you’d be raging if you get the points in August, but you put the course further down because you didn’t think that you’d get it. Believe in yourself! Like we said in our What you need to know about starting college  piece, making sure that you’re in the right course is so important.

If you think you might qualify for a Grant make sure that you start getting the ball rolling on that now. Take a look at the SUSI website for more information about the process.

The very best of luck to you if you’re applying to the CAO this year. May the odds be ever in your favour!

0 In Careers/ Lifestyle

Michaela O’Shaughnessy: How I Got My Job At Teen Vogue


an-interview-with-michaela-oshaughnessy-teen-vogues-social-media-producerMichaela O’Shaughnessy is living our dream life. Not only is currently residing in NYC, but she might just have the coolest job ever..Social Media Producer for Teen Vogue. Actual goals!

Along with running Teen Vogue’s Social Media Michaela also has the cutest blog ever, Life Of A Lady Bear, and one of the loveliest any most enviable grids on Instagram. Oh and did we mention Michaela is actually from Galway originally? Yep, this Irish girl is making big waves across the Pond and we couldn’t be more delighted for her. We nabbed Michaela to chat all things school and social media as part of our new Career Corner series…


Growing up, what did you want to be?

When I was growing up, all I wanted to be was a doctor! I absolutely loved studying Biology and Chemistry in secondary school and thought pursuing a path in Medicine would be the best option!


What did you study in college?

For my undergraduate, I studied Biomedical Science which I absolutely loved, especially studying subjects like Anatomy and Physiology. After I graduated from that I decided to switch lanes altogether and study business with the hopes of pursuing a career in marketing or something along those lines.


What advice would you give your teenage self?

I would tell my teenage self to not put so much pressure on herself! In school and college I was always very stressed about every little test and I wish I knew back then that worrying would get you nowhere, and if anything it would makes you get less work done!


What does your typical workday look like?

My typical work day starts around 7.30am with a little search on the internet to see what happened over night in the news and then I catch up on emails that came in overnight. I head to the office for 9.30 and plan my day around meetings, talent visits and shoots which are always a lot of fun! Then around 6.30/7 I head home and take a workout class, finish a few emails and hit the hay before 10pm because sleep is personally vital for my productivity the next day.


What’s been your biggest challenge?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far was trying to figure out how to switch fields from Biomedical Science to Business. I knew I didn’t want a career in science when I graduated so deciding on what step to take next and to change careers was a scary time but thankfully it paid off. Another big challenge was making the move to NYC from Ireland. I’m a definitely a home bird at heart so leaving behind my friends and family was definitely challenging but worth it for the wonderful opportunities that the city has given me.


What’s been a personal highlight in your career so far?

I think my personal highlight has to be getting to attend The Met Gala on behalf of Teen Vogue. I’ve always watched the red carpet from across the street since moving to New York so to get to be there in person was such a dream come true. There were so many amazing celebs there and the fashion was just out of this world! Definitely a once in a lifetime event.



What’s your next step?

It’s hard to know what my next step will be especially when you’re living in a city where literally anything could happen! At the moment I’m just focused on working hard at my job and continuing to grow my blog which is my side hustle and then after that, who knows! I definitely see myself moving home to Ireland in the next few years. So, I’m determined to make the most of the Big Apple while I’m here.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your career footsteps?

I would say that having a social media presence of your own is really important if you want to work in social. It shows that you’re capable of creating interesting content and building a following. Besides that, I truly believe that if you work hard and are kind to people then opportunities will come your way.  


When did you decide to start your blog?

I started my blog in my final year of Biomedical Science as a creative outlet when I was studying! It really gave me an opportunity to teach myself a lot of skills like photoshop, basic coding and website design as well as social media management, all of which were really helpful in me building the career that I currently have.


How useful was it to have a blog?

I think having a blog was fundamental in me getting where I am today! I truly believe that a prospective employer can learn more about you from spending 5 minutes on your blog than reading your resume. And I think it really helped set me apart from other applicants in the job hunt. Besides that, having a blog is a great way to meet people in the industry and network with like-minded people.



Who inspires you?

I genuinely feel like any woman who is working hard to achieve her goals while supporting other women along the way is truly inspiring to me. My Mom is also a huge inspiration to me, purely because she’s such a great mother and has always worked hard caring for others as a nurse.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

The best advice I’ve ever gotten is to not give up and keep your eyes on your own path!


A big thank you to Michaela for taking part in our first ever Career Corner! We think that Michaela is a great example of what hard work and determination can achieve. And also proves the point that you can always switch lanes when it comes to your career. If you want something just go for it!

If you are inspired to follow a similar career path check out our post on how to start your own blog.

You can follow Michaela O’Shaughnessy on Instagram @lifeofaladybear and visit her blog,