Transcript for 2.6 Niamh and Hollie
Transcript for Sharing things 2.6 Niamh and Hollie
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Hi, I'm Amalie, I'm a current student and I'm the host of Sharing things. Sharing things is a conversation between two people who have just met but who share a connection to the University. We start with a meaningful object that they've brought to the studio and we take it from there.
In this episode you will meet Hollie Davidson and Niamh Martin-McGarrigle. Holly is the first and only full-time female referee in Scotland and Niamh is a second-year student studying French and Linguistics, as well as the project manager of FreshSight Consulting.
Let's see where this takes us.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Welcome to Sharing things, Niamh and Hollie. How are you?
Niamh: I'm good thank you, how are you doing?
Hollie: Very well thank you. Thank you for having us.
Amalie: Of course.
Niamh: Yeah absolutely.
Amalie: I'm going to start with the question: what have you brought to the studio and why?
Niamh: So today I have brought my daily journal/notebook. For those listening it is a maybe B5 notebook. It's ring bound, it's got like a plastic cover which you can put little photos and stuff in, and it's [elastic snapping] elasticated as well, which is very nice. Listen to that [elastic snapping]. [Laughter]
That snap there. And yeah, it's how I organise myself. I'm a person desperately in need of order in a world of chaos so this is where my entire life goes, and things I collect and things I think and ideate about all go in here.
I like being a planner, I'm not naturally one so I'm trying to force myself. I think organisation for me is something that's learnt and not natural, but I try and keep it all together in the same place as much as I can, it just helps me reflect on things.
Hollie: Like, nice memories?
Niamh: Yeah, yeah, it's got a bunch of like lessons that I've learnt and things from over the summer.
Hollie: Oh nice.
Amalie: Oh look at that.
Niamh: So, over the summer I went to the USA and Belgium. I was doing Camp America, so things that I collected from that I stuck in with like my little glue stick [laughs] and my washi tape and yeah I just wrote my like reflections about it and what I learnt and the things I did. Like I went to the EU parliament and that was amazing, like that was really, really cool.
Amalie: What did you write about the EU parliament?
Niamh: So I did a year of law before I changed to my current degree, so I wrote that it would be really cool to be in the place I'd been learning about law that year but also very overwhelming and emotional to be at the site of like such a significant institution, like I-- I went in and definitely cried.
Niamh: It was a bit overdramatic. I was like calm down.
Hollie: So I brought my first refereeing whistle. More because it, for me represents a change of a period in my life and someone that probably means a lot to me now. I used to play rugby and I went along to my first sort of referee course and turn up to my club training on the Thursday later and someone came up to me with an envelope and it had my first whistle and my first set of two cards in it from a guy that is now my coach. He's been my coach since I started, and it was probably a big transition for me from accepting that my playing career was sort of over. And it opened up a completely new chapter in my life to be now a contracted referee and no longer in the sort of corporate world and yeah, that guy now comes to pretty much every single one of my games and he's now my mentor and I owe him so much for that transition in my life. So, I've used this whistle for the last three years and I just changed and it was a sad, sad day when I unhooked my sort of wrist strap and put it on to my new whistle, but that will always stay with me. I'll always keep that.
Amalie: So why did your rugby career-- why was it over?
Hollie: Erm, for myself it was just through injury and it gets to a point you probably have to make that decision. Do I continue to play and risk potentially picking up other injuries? And I got to a point I probably wasn't enjoying it as much as I previously was and a new opportunity sort of came on the horizon and they sort of said look you could go places if you, if you want to do this. So, it was at the year of the 2016 Rio Olympics and I was like, I could maybe make the next one if I start now. So, decided to hang up the playing boots and pick up the whistle and fingers crossed I make it to Tokyo this summer.
Niamh: Good luck.
Hollie: Thank you very much. I'll need it [laughs].
Amalie: You also mentioned that you changed from law to your current degree. What kind of sparked that?
Niamh: So, I didn't really know what I wanted to do in high school. In Scotland you leave school at 17, which is a very young age to be making decisions about what you want to do for the rest of your life. So, I was like you know I'm relatively smart, I've got good grades, you know, how hard can it be? Not remembering the fact that I wanted to do something that I enjoyed [laughs]. So, I got into Edinburgh, I came here, I was in halls, I was in Robertson's Close in first year which was the best time, so much fun. Still like really good friends with the people I met there. But I think at the end of the year once my grades improved a bit, I was like ok I can do it, I just don't want to. And in high school I had done advanced higher French and I'd love it and I'd always been really, really interested in languages generally. You know, I would always-- every week I would like pick up different phrases and different languages. Taught myself the Korean alphabet, stuff like that.
Niamh: I was always very interested. I didn't know Linguistics was a thing really until I got to uni and people were like, oh I'm doing this and I was like oh well what is that and they're like oh you know, you study how languages fit together, how they work, the different parts of them, how words are constructed. And to anyone else that might have sounded terrible but to me I was like wow that sounds really cool.
So, I thought to myself, yeah ok, take the leap. Law's not making you happy, this might. At the end of the day, it sounds like something you're going to be more interested in and you've enjoyed French as well so why don't you see if you could do a joint honours degree in French and Linguistics. And I applied to change and very luckily over the summer they said yes.
Hollie: Will you go to France next year on...?
Niamh: Yes, I'm going to Paris.
Niamh: University in Paris for my year abroad. So, I'm so excited for that.
Hollie: That'll be fantastic.
Niamh: Yeah, it's going to be really good. Did you get the opportunity to do a year abroad when you were at uni?
Hollie: No, so I did Economic History so my whole four years were here.
Niamh: That's so cool, Economic History.
Niamh: That's amazing. So how is that different to Economics?
Hollie: Economics is very much erm, sort of maths-based and your models in business, erm, Economic History looks at the economic models from-- through historic periods.
Niamh: Ok that's really cool.
Niamh: Is there like a particular one that's stuck with you? You’re like that's so much better than what we have now.
Hollie: Nah I actually-- I did my dissertation very strange, on the sugar economy in the Caribbean.
Niamh: That's so cool.
Hollie: During the 18th century and how hurricanes actually impacted that, so very niche, very niche. But it was erm…
Niamh: That sounds really interesting though.
Hollie: It was, it was pretty cool, yeah I didn't expect that. Similar to you when you go to university and you fill in your forms at 16/17, never did I think four years later I'd be doing a dissertation on the sugar economy, but hey.
Niamh: I feel like university is a large-scale equivalent of just falling down a Wikipedia hole.
Niamh: You know you start looking up something that's relevant and then four hours later you're like looking at the history of this one particular ship that Hillary Clinton rode one time. And you're like oh wow ok, how did I end up here?
Yeah, but it's like-- it's a fun journey and you enjoy it and you know whether it's the sugar economy being disrupted by hurricanes or like inflectional morphology, [laughter] like you find things that you're just more interested in than others and I think that’s such like a nice thing to discover about yourself.
Amalie: You mentioned earlier that you went from like a corporate background?
Amalie: To refereeing. How did-- I feel like there's a theme of like path change here.
Hollie: Maybe we just get bored really easily.
Hollie: Erm yeah, so I graduated and I went and worked for JP Morgan for two years which look, I loved. I was-- I'm not a finance background but...I kind of felt as you do, I think at that age, you think you probably feel quite confident and oh nothing will phase me but you go in, and I felt out of my depth. And it got to a point, that period of two years was probably the best learning-wise.
It's such an intense environment and when I got offered my new job they were almost like kicking me out the door they were like if you don't take this, like we're going to be so upset with you. Which is really good because I still have really good relations with my old job but now going into my new job all of those soft skills etc. they're so, so beneficial so everything that you learn from each path change, as much as it might not be for you at that time, there is something to take from it.
And, I think there's always that perception in the corporate world that they're all sort of like suits and ties and whatever else but they're actually like, I worked with such a sound group of people, sound group of folk. And like, one of them was my best friend and you know, I was actually very lucky he was a big rugby guy, Australian. He allowed me to go off because you can't allow your job to then just take over your life and not have stuff on the outside, like your additional interests, so he was fantastic and...
Niamh: That's amazing.
Hollie: Yeah. I've been very lucky in the sense that you need people backing your corner that are as open to that enjoyment sort of side of life as you are and aren't just work, work, work, because that can get boring.
Hollie: Real boring.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: When do you guys feel like things haven't gone to plan?
Niamh: Uh I think. Oh, it sounds like you mean that in a way like when have things gone wrong, but I think things rarely go to plan. You know, like you can plan as much as you want but you can't-- there's so many things out of your control. And I think the only thing you can do is your best.
You can get rejected, um, but I think it's not really a personal thing a lot of the time, it's just, ok try again, try a different thing. Um, fill your time, do what you love. Like, I have just started painting again. Um, I've never really done it before, apart from when I was like very, very, very young and I love creating. I'm a very creative person and my kind of whole motto going into this is like, it doesn't matter if you're good at it. You know it's just for me, I enjoy doing it. I'll start off bad and then maybe I'll always be bad, but that's fine. Like I just need some way to like express myself in a different way that's new to me and fun while it lasts. And maybe I'll hate it in a year’s time, but I like it now [laughs].
Hollie: That's a good question though, I think when you ask when something's not gone to plan, you're right the automatic assumption is that when has something failed or when has something been bad. And I liked your answer that you know if everything went to plan then we'd be living this rosy, rosy life wouldn't we? It would be on cloud nine all the time. But I think it's when things maybe don't go as smooth as possible that's when you learn the most. And for me when things haven't gone to plan it's if I don't get, for example, selected for something or I've had a bad game and I'm getting absolutely trolled on social media or on Twitter.
Amalie: You get trolled on social media?
Amalie: Oh no.
Amalie: Also, who are trolls, like?
Hollie: Yeah, I think...
Amalie: That concept is weird to me.
Niamh: It's like, why are you even spending your time doing this?
Hollie: My job? Or what...?
Amalie: No, no the trolls.
Hollie: Oh yeah.
Niamh: I'm like, ‘take up painting’.
Hollie: [Laughs] yeah.
Niamh: This is your time.
Do something actually beneficial.
Hollie: Yeah. No, it's-- it's so easy, everyone's like oh who are these people or why do you-- why are you looking at things? But if people are writing stuff about you, you're going to look at it.
Niamh: So easy, like if you ever hear someone being gossipy about you, even if it's negative, you're like what...
Hollie: What are they saying?
Niamh: What have they said? [Laughter] Who am I in the eyes of other people?
Amalie: Yeah and you take it to heart also.
Hollie: Oh my gosh totally, totally and that's kind of what happened is that it was my first experience of this trolling situation [laughs]. And I went through and pretty much like read-- and was reading, and reading, and reading. And yeah, it really affected me and that's when things didn't go to plan in terms of it wasn't the whole sunshine and rainbows, it was the definitely dark and dreary days.
Hollie: But similarly, you learn the most out of those. I'm probably now a-- got a slightly harder shell and those trolls you know [laughs], I'll learn from them [laughter].
Amalie: Have you learnt to like to look past the haters now?
Hollie: Yeah, I definitely have learnt to put the goggles on yeah. To put the visor down and just try and ignore them some way or another. It's tough at times but…
Hollie: It's the nature of the beast.
Amalie: Haters gunna hate.
Niamh: They really are.
Niamh: You're there and they're not so...
Hollie: Yeah, yeah true, of course and that's sometimes...
Niamh: Who's the winner in this situation?
Hollie: Who is the winner? Remember that.
Amalie: When I think about trolls I literally think about trolls.
Niamh: Like under a bridge?
Amalie: Like yeah, like trolls.
Niamh: It's obviously people being really horrible on the Internet, but you think of trollers you're just like ha. I think of those little troll dolls with the hair.
Amalie: Yes! Me too.
Niamh: And I’m like, imagine if they looked like that [laughter]. Imagine one of them telling you like you're worthless, like oh you made the wrong call, you made the wrong decision. It's like what, who are you?
Hollie: Maybe that's what I need to remember when I'm reading those comments, I just need to see it coming out of one of those little fuzzy haired things. That will make me smile.
Yeah, so everyone has their opinion and the nature of my job is everyone wants to view that opinion and it's never black and white, it's always grey in the sport that I ref. So yeah, you just ride the waves, peaks and troughs, and you're always going to have really highs and there's going to be lows and it's how you can just sort of mediate between those two. And the places that I'm able to go and see and the people that I meet, make all of those trolls [laughs] worthwhile.
Niamh: Melt away.
Niamh: They disappear under the bridge.
Hollie: They go back under the bridge when I’m yeah...
Niamh: Back into the troll doll box.
Hollie: So, it's fantastic. At times you have to have that tougher shell and that resilience. And as long as you are able to speak to people and you know, express probably when you're not having those good days because it's so easy when you're on those cloud nines to talk about how great it is but it's not as easy when you're not on cloud nine to talk about it. And as long as you do then that's how you get over things and that's how you become more resilient.
I know what it's like at uni sometimes, it's tough and just being able to actually talk about that when you're going through your hand-ins or you're going through your exams [laughs].
Niamh: Just going through it.
I feel like everyone has some kind of experience, you know mine isn't people on Twitter telling me what my opinion should be. It's just like the voice in my own head being like oh you've done a terrible job and I'm like have I though? Like it's a piece of work, you know, I did the work for it, I researched, I handed it in, you know. I hated doing it but I did it, right. And then there's other pieces where I'm just like this is amazing, I’ve done it and like all of my friends are like ok that was a great exam, that was a great assignment. And then we'll all celebrate together, we'll all suffer together. Like you're not in it alone, which is I think the nice part about being on my course and having friends like who do the same thing and who are interested in the same thing.
Amalie: What are some tactics you guys have used to tackle the haters?
Hollie: The only way for me to challenge them at all is to-- for me is you just, you prove yourself.
I think the best thing is when someone has an opinion of you and you completely prove them wrong. And for me that's the sort of satisfaction when, you know, they have something negative to say and they, they're saying it because either they-- that's obviously their opinion, but I think also sometimes they just don't like people being in certain positions or places or you know...Yeah exactly, erm...
Niamh: I made a face.
Hollie: Yeah [laughs]. So, for me it's about proving myself, erm and then just being sort of humble in that sense that, you know what you can have your opinion, but this is, this is what I have to offer and yeah.
Niamh: I think mine is similar. But I've let go of that need to prove other people wrong. Like it would take up too much of my time and energy if I spent my time going around trying to disprove everything everyone's ever said about me. So, I just do my own thing and if someone doesn't like that...ok if it's a valid criticism I'll take it on board [laughs], you know within reason, but I think sometimes people are just going to judge what you do for no reason other than they can.
And I think 2020, my year, is of internal validation, you know. I'm going to stop looking for other people to approve the things I do, again within reason, and stop kind of seeking for permission to do what I want and be myself. And I'm trying to walk that line between confidence and over confidence, but I think this year I've really admitted to myself like you do enough. Stop taking on responsibilities, stop trying to overwhelm yourself to impress other people just do what you love and do what you can. Like it's better than enough, you know, you're doing stuff that so many people don't know about and aren't trying to find about and you're lucky you have the opportunity to be able to. So just appreciate it.
Hollie: I think if you're, if you're happy in yourself as well when it's a-- if someone says something about me personally then I'm happy in myself to know who I am and they can have that opinion.
Hollie: Erm, and I think it is about knowing yourself, knowing what you-- what makes you happy, what makes you tick and having that support network around you.
I do sometimes have that voice in my head when it comes to my work. If someone has something to say, like she shouldn't be there because she's a woman, then I will prove them to say and that's where I have that...
Niamh: People say that?
Hollie: Yeah, definitely.
Niamh: Like people you work with say that?
Hollie: Not people I work with.
Niamh: Ok, ok. But yeah, I can imagine the wider, the wider general...
Hollie: Yeah and that's where I have that probably, that voice in my head that is like no you should be here and that's where I will use that sort of energy to say I'm going to do everything I can to get to the top of where I think I should be.
Hollie: Not where people say I shouldn't be.
Amalie: Have you encountered a lot of sexism in your workplace?
Hollie: Within, within Scottish Rugby it's very, very good. There are always going to be people that have opinions and when you're either in the middle of the pitch or on the side of the pitch, people are going to have stuff to say. But coming from a family of four I've got very good selective hearing [laughs] so, it goes back to what you listen to, what you don't.
If you listen to absolutely everything, similar to what you said, it would be a tough world, but I have a very good support network and I’ve got a lot of people sort of in my corner so, I just have to remember that.
Niamh: I'm so lucky for my friends and family, like....
Niamh: They're amazing people, just on my course as well, you know, you say one thing in self-doubt and they're like 'why are you feeling like this? Ok that's not valid, you're amazing' and I'm like 'oh I love you guys'.
Hollie: I think sometimes, especially Scottish people are scared to be confident [laughs].
Hollie: And we shouldn't be.
Niamh: No absolutely, I, I see that with people sometimes, but I also think like, stop being self-deprecating because the more you say it, the more you believe it and I feel like you know, even if you start being confident as a joke at first, eventually it will settle in [laughter].
Amalie: Yeah, what makes you guys feel confident?
Hollie: I think when you are happy in yourself and you stop craving people wanting you, and craving people and their attention, and their feelings, and their appreciation. I think when you stop craving that and you have that confidence in yourself that, you know I am good enough and I get on with these people etc. then that's where for me, I'm quite happy.
I know that what I have to offer as a colleague or a friend or a sister or a daughter is enough for those people and I love all those people with all my heart and that's enough for me, that gives me confidence.
Niamh: Yeah, I feel that as well, I think it can work the other way as well. I feel like if you maybe aren't the most self-confident but you surround yourself with people that are, you know, your inner confidence can start from the outside [laughs]. Because the people you surround yourself with have such an impact on how you interact with others and how you see the world and like, my friends will call me out if I do something they don't agree with or if I'm doubting myself or if I'm talking to someone I'm like oh you know like they've flaked on me again, they're like why are you, why are you treating yourself like this because you can't control the way they treat you but you can control the way you react to it. It's so like self-help book.
And again, like Scottish people, it's very common that we are like...
Hollie: It's a huge generalisation, but yeah.
Niamh: No like...yeah very much painting five million people [laughter] with one very wide brush stroke but I do think it does tend to run in this kind of like, this pride of being Scottish or... I'm from Glasgow, being Glaswegian where you know, don't get ideas above your station, don't be above yourself and I think that's just a tool to keep us down. Like, do be above yourself like, what, what does that even mean?
Hollie: I was definitely probably like, at uni most of my friends were Scottish and I was probably quite sheltered in the sense of the cultures that I was exposed to and the different backgrounds, but then when I go away with work, I then meet up with a group of other referees and they're from all over the world so from Japan, from Brazil, from Spain, Italy.
So I was say 24 on my first sort of trip away and to be exposed to that from going from a pretty Scottish kind of upbringing and a Scottish environment here at university, apart from like the work I was involved in and the social groups, it was a big shock and you like to think you know different cultures and how people act and how they sort of conduct themselves, but you really don't until you're in those environments and it was a big eye-opener for me and I think that's been one of the best things for me.
How you just appreciate different people's lives, what's important to them what's not important. How they go about just their daily business is just...
So, one of my good friends, her name is Sakurako, she's from Japan and she is just the most kind and caring person. And how she just goes about her business and her daily life is completely probably alien to how I went around mine and, if you can just pick up on those little things and actually realise the bigger picture of life, what it's all about is, is great and kind of going back to your original question, that is about like appreciating other people, identifying the differences and I think as well just actually being sort of understanding to people's differences. It's so easy to say 'oh yeah, yeah I get it, I get it, I get it' but to actually understand and give them their time when it's needed and that's how I think you grow as-- grow as people, is to have that wider appreciation for things in society not just your own like little bubble.
Niamh: I'm going to sit with that for a minute.
Niamh: What do you think you've picked up from like your referee friends? Or your friends from other cultures, like is there any way that they've influenced your life?
Hollie: Yeah, I think before I was so uptight, everything would just stress me out, I was such a nervous wreck and especially-- so Saku, another girl on the circuit, Alhambra, she's Spanish and Spanish are very 'yeah, yeah, it's ok, it's ok' [laughter]. And that starts, like you said with your friends, that starts rubbing off on you and now like when I go away I'm nowhere near as nervous.
I don't have the same sort of anxiety with pre-game or post-game that I used to have. Just little things around how to interact with people, how I used to speak very, very quick whereas now you have to slow yourself down. English is not their first language, which actually allows my dyslexic brain to just take everything on board and try and construct my sentences a little bit better than probably I previously did when I was going a hundred miles an hour.
And just actually the small enjoyments of things. Saku's little thing, she used to bring us a tiny little gift to each one of our stops and that-- to me, before I'd have been like aw yeah that's fine, but it meant so much to her giving a gift. My favourite one was, i've got it on my keys, it just, it literally just says like Holly D and a little rugby ball and it's just the nicest. It was my first trip to Japan, so it's her home country and it was just amazing, and I've now probably taken that in that I'm probably a lot more giving in, in love, time, affection, erm than I probably was before.
Niamh: That's one of the love languages isn't it? Like giving and receiving gifts. I think oh that's so nice to pick that up from other people.
Hollie: Because I think we're probably, well I definitely was, I was a bit-- I was very you know...
Hollie: Yeah, ‘whatever’. Whereas now, to see that appreciation from other people in other cultures is lovely. So, so nice.
Amalie: When was the last time that you gave a gift to someone?
Niamh: Well as I said earlier I paint, so I've been practising painting and um before Christmas I did some paintings for some of my friends, just like little silly cartoon ones, uh like the little uh cartoon emojis you get on Facebook Messenger, you know the rabbit ones that are really cute. I did one of them because that's like the ones we always use in our like conversation [laughs].
She's obsessed with like cute things and plushies and stuff like that, so I was like oh she'll really like this. So yeah, I think that was the last gift I actually gave, something I made myself.
Hollie: Eh the last gift-- I wouldn't say I'm very artistic [laughs]. So, because I'm away all the time I don't get to see my family that much, so the little things mean the most to sort of-- when I see my mum, so she came down and you know, just the basics of like, got her some flowers, took her out for some lunch and stuff and then yeah...Then we went and erm...It was actually just-- it's an old photo of the two of us, I'm a little-- I'm a baby and when she was a kid as well we looked the absolute spit of one another.
Hollie: So, it's those two photos together. Yeah but, but I think when, when you have the ability to see your family all the time you probably take it for granted and I get like one weekend off so to be able to go up and see Mum is wonderful.
Niamh: And spending time with them as well is so nice.
Hollie: Totally. You know, I'm not a material person at all, so I'd much rather say come and just spend all that time with me that you were going to give me a gift or whatever else, and that is so much better.
Amalie: I feel like you become way more dependent on your Mum like the older you get.
Niamh: Every time I get remotely sick, I'm like can I come home?
Just like yes, it is great. I go home and I sit on the couch, put the fire on and I’m like aw this is...Some flat lemonade, like aw this is the one. It's great [laughter].
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Ok the last question I have for you is: If you could associate your object with one word, what would it be?
Hollie: Mine’s definitely ‘enjoyment’. I've got an absolute dream job and when I think about it, it just puts a smile on my face.
I'm there to help 30 men or women enjoy the game that they absolutely love, and for me that also brings enjoyment to see the smiles on their faces like during the game, after the game, before the game. Bringing families together to watch their sons or daughters I think is great and it has brought me so, so many great memories. So far hopefully many more to come but yeah, that would probably be the one word, is enjoyment.
Niamh: Erm, I would say mine is ‘reflection’. It's kind of a planner, but it's mostly a journal. So, looking back at things instead of looking forward, and I think that's really helped me appreciate and learn what I like, what I don't, because I think a lot of the time you go through life very passively and you just do things out of routine. But this has helped me kind of clarify my thoughts on you know, well, how can I allocate my time better to things I enjoy as opposed to just lying in bed, sitting scrolling on Instagram for four hours at a time, [laughter], which is a horrible habit and I need to get off.
So, I think everything that I do now in my hobbies, the things I've picked up have come from this and come from auditing my time to be more me.
You know two years ago people could have been like so what hobbies do you have? And I’d be like 'uuh' and now I've picked up guitar again because I used to play in high school. I paint, I do extra-curricular, like I go to the gym...rarely, [laughter], sometimes. And I think that's all come from like having a think about who I am, who I want to be in 2020, in 2019 as well. So, reflection, that's my word.
Amalie: I like that.
Hollie: That's lovely.
Amalie: Thank you for being on Sharing things.
Hollie: Thank you for having us.
Amalie: And I hope you have a good time [laughter]. Um and yeah that's it.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Thank you for listening to Sharing things. Make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or your favourite podcast platform to catch our next episode.
See you next time.