As the Leaving Certificate comes to a close and the chatter of college increases, it can be very isolating and scary when the idea of moving away and starting a course is the last thing on your mind.
While it may seem as if trying a different path to college is making you the black sheep, this is a completely normal decision. It does not mean that your options are decreased or that you are lost in life. In fact, it is a very brave thing to do.
Choosing a course that sounds somewhat interesting for the sake of going to college and having a plan in place after the Leaving Cert can be downright disastrous.
Firstly you could dislike the course and drop out, resulting in a waste of time and money.
Secondly it will make you miserable and make you feel even worse than you were to begin with. So if you know that you are not ready for college yet; or that it is not the right path for you, then read on.
There are so many other things you can do before embarking on a college career. It doesn’t have to mean that you are having less fun than your classmates.
If a course close to home appeals to you, then there are a number of ways in which you can upskill yourself.
Post-Leaving Cert (PLC) which can offer you a number of benefits and experience while you find your feet. This course is for both school leavers and adults.
This course offers a sample of different modules to help students decide what area they would like to progress in.
An example of these subjects range from media, engineering, marketing, tourism, sport and much more.
Work experience is offered as part of this course which is excellent for upskilling yourself and building a C.V. A FETAC course is similar to this and is also an alternative to entering third level education.
The next option is to dive straight into the world of work. This is perhaps the most difficult path as chances are you won’t have the same qualifications or skill set compared to your peers who may be older and have more experience.
It is an excellent way to mature before entering the hectic world of college. Ask a friend or family member to lend a critical eye read to your C.V. and always hand it to the manager.
If asked in an interview your reasons for choosing this path instead of college, it is perfectly acceptable to say that you are saving money to travel, for a future course or to take a break from studying after the leaving certificate.
If you have generous parents and/or an incredible savings account, there is always the option to travel the world. Employers love seeing evidence of this on a C.V. as it demonstrates that you are capable to move location and be independent.
This is a brilliant way to build character and see the world before re-entering the real world of work and study. Extra brownie points if you work as you travel.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses are available online and can provide excellent employment opportunities when abroad. Also, a nice addition to a C.V.
Volunteering within your community can be a great tool to show your hidden aptitudes and to build experience. Again, this is beneficial in the long run as employers definitely like to see this.
Remember, you may not have added fifty new Facebook friends in the first few weeks of September or a new album of photos but you do have space and time.
The important thing is that you are doing what you need to do for yourself instead of following what everyone else is doing.
Once you complete your Leaving Cert exams, you will have finished the last obligatory exam of your life. From here on, everything else is your choice, and a very big one at that.
So take your time and a big breath, then release, college will be waiting for you at any point whether it be a year from now, when you are a mature student, even if you are sixty years old. There are always options to consider.