Two of our Chief Adjudicators have been appointed, there will be over 40 adjudicators in total who will arrive in the Sheraton Hotel for training at 11am on Wednesday 15th of April.
I met up with Aoife and Bob earlier in the week and asked them a few questions.
Describe your first encounter with BICS, and have you any advice for attendees?
I wasn’t lucky enough to be involved with a Society that got to the BICS Awards so my first experience was being part of it as a judge. Coming to BICS for the first time was overwhelming. I would advise any student that hasn’t been before that the most important thing is to just meet as many new people as you possibly can. My judging experience in the past has involved being on the panels for judging Best Event, Best Fresher, Best Individual and Best Civic Society. I can still remember almost every person and group that I met. Sometimes I think the BICS Awards is 48 hours with the most awesome students in Ireland all in one place. Everyone you talk to is going to have done something special in the past year. You can start every conversation with, “How well did your society do this year?“….
What is it like to be an Adjudicator?
The adjudication process demands that as a judge you have to get to know everything about every applicant. Everybody has been nominated as they have inspired and impacted within their own college, this has to be respected. The best Societies and Individuals have had to overcome barriers to achieve. What I have learned from it is to never shy away from hard work, nothing worthwhile comes easy and BICS nominees have shown what is achievable when you get a committee of like minded people together. It can be magic! The positive energy around the adjudication and awards banquet is electric. Being involved in co-ordinating the BICS judges brings a lot of responsibility to ensure each of the groups and individuals is given a fair chance to tell their story. I am certainly going to do my best to ensure this continues for 2015, and I look forward to meeting many of you in Athlone. For those of you who weren’t nominated now is the time to start preparing for next year. Look back at the year gone by and see what you can improve on and do better for next year. How do you get to BICS 2016? Being the best on your own campus first and foremost.
Bob Ó Mhurcú
Bob has been an adjudicator for many years at BICS and is a former winner of Best Individual so I decided to find out what he was doing now and what winning Best Individual meant to him.
Hi Bob What are you doing now?
After winning Best Individual (Large College) in 2007, I carried on my studies at DCU for another year, completing my Masters Degree in Multimedia (still managed to stay involved in societies though!). While I was completing my Masters thesis, I applied for a post in DIT as Mature Student Officer and was fortunate enough to be offered the job! I started working in DIT in September 2008 and I’m still here, though I’ve since changed roles and am now the Head of the Disability Support Service. It’s a challenging but ultimately very rewarding role, and I’m really enjoying it. In my time at DIT, I’ve represented the Institute on the boards of a number of national organisations like Mature Students Ireland, the Disability Advisors Working Group (DAWN), the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) and the Confederation of Student Services Ireland (CSSI), so I’ve plenty to keep me occupied…
I’ve kept active in the world amateur drama since leaving DCU, producing the musical RENT for the Helix and Olympia theatres in 2009 and being a member of the production team for Spring Awakening in 2010 (Helix) and Jerry Springer: The Opera (Grand Canal Theatre) in 2011. I was a founder member of National Youth Theatre Ireland and am also involved in another theatre group – Refractive Lens Theatre, with which I’ve been involved in a number of productions. I even managed win a national cocktail award in 2008, so I’ve kept myself nice and busy!I haven’t been as active as I’d like to have been in the past couple of years, as I got very ill and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain condition. The picture I’ve included is of myself and Trisha McDermott, another sufferer, with Dr. Sinead Beirne on our recent appearance on the TV3 Morning Ireland show to promote awareness of this debilitating lifelong disease. But I keep the sunny side out, and still manage to get involved as much as I can. I still come along to BICS every year to serve as an adjudicator, and it’s my favourite time of the year.
What was the importance of your involvement in societies?
I can’t underestimate the importance of societies to me while I was a student. I was involved in a number of societies, and chaired the Societies & Publications Committee at DCU for two years, but my greatest love was for the Drama Society. I was a mature student, so being a 29 year old fresher was a bit daunting, but I got roped into recruiting for DCU Drama before I even joined the society myself, and the rest as they say is history… I first used the nickname DramaBob as my ID for DCU’s RedBrick Society, and it’s stuck like glue to me since.I have so much gratitude to society life, and to DCU Drama in particular, during my 4 years in DCU. We got the chance to experience the highs and lows of running a society, staging productions, event management, people management, budgeting – you name it, we did it! It prepared me for my post-university career in so many ways. Plus, I met the love of my life through DCU Drama – we got married in 2012 – so I have much to be thankful for!
Society life meant so much to me, and I was so actively involved, that when the time came for me to put together my CV for job applications, the first 4 or 5 “jobs” I had on my resumé were society-related! I think the actual paid work I was doing (waiting tables) was at the very bottom of the page. I learnt so many new skills that were transferable to the workplace, I doubt that I would be where I am in my career had I not engaged in so much extra-curricular activity while a student. What did it mean to win Best Individual at BICS?
It was an incredible honour, just incredible. As I’ve said, I was a mature student, and I had failed out of college in 1994, so going back into first year in 2004 was a scary step. I was determined to do all the things I hadn’t done in college the first time around, so I really threw myself into things. I felt that I wanted to make the absolute most out of my second chance at going to University, so to be honoured by my peers for my society activity was the icing on the cake for me.For me, winning BICS served to validate the effort I put into my university life the second time around, and it exorcised the ghosts of my past failures. Winning the award at an event hosted by NUIG, which was the university I had failed out of 13 years previously, made it a very emotional experience for me. But the good kind of emotions mind!
I still love coming along to BICS each year to adjudicate, and it’s brilliant to see the fantastic achievements that the students come up with, year in and year out. 2015 will be my 11th BICS, and long may it continue! I am lookingforward to takining on the role of Chief Adjudicator this year.