Survival Guide

Good things take time

I am a first year studying Journalism and New Media at the University of Limerick. I moved to Connemara when I was ten and, having no Irish at the time, was kept back a year. Because of this reason, I specifically attended a school outside of my local area as I wanted to skip Transition Year, so I wouldn’t be “too old” (in my own opinion) starting university, and the local secondary school wouldn’t allow me to do so.

During my Leaving Cert year I experienced great inner turmoil, trying to study for my exams and also trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I hated maths and was almost certain I would fail, having failing every maths exam that year, including my mocks.

I contemplated English teaching, I considered arts. By now, I was getting extremely stressed because most of my friends had a clear path planned of where they wanted to go and I still wasn’t sure.

I then considered psychology and sociology but the points were ridiculously high and I knew I would never get them. I am taking sociology as one of my electives now and I don’t enjoy it at all, so I’m extremely grateful that I didn’t get the points to study it permanently.

I came across the Journalism and New Media course. I thought it sounded interesting so I put it on my CAO. But, having not done Transition Year, I didn’t have a chance to get any experience and due to the place I live, and because I do not drive, it would be impossible to get to a place to gain experience as the buses are so irregular and the times are so inconvenient.

Due to pressure and stress, my exams went horribly wrong. I dropped 60 points from what I received in my mocks and was devastated. I didn’t get the points for the journalism course, nor did I get the required grade in English.

On the day of the CAO offers, I was asleep. I thought I wasn’t going to get offered anything. Surprisingly, I got offered the course, but I still wasn’t sure if I even wanted to take it.

In the last hour that I had to make my choice, I decided to defer it. I already had a part time job in the local shop and they were willing to keep me on for the year. So that’s what I did; I spent every day working and saving and the time came around again to make my choice. Would I accept or not? I am a creature of habit and by now, I had settled into a routine and was enjoying working and the money I received. Again, in the last hour, I accepted.

I was worried that because I didn’t get the required points and grades, I would fall way behind everyone else, but that wasn’t the case. I am just as good as anyone else on the course and I do not regret one choice I made. I’m happy I am 20 in first year, there are plenty of others. I am not an immature person, but if I accepted last year and started the course, I feel like I wouldn’t have been as ready and as determined as I am now.

My point is, just because you weren’t the best at school, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get far in life. I love my course and I’m surprisingly quite good at it- I’m definitely on the right path! It might have taken me longer to get there than others but it was worth it. I’m not sure where I want to go with it, but I have another three years to decide, so I’m not worried (yet).