The Scenic Route

Scenic_Route_plate_blue_500pxAs third level students settle into university life, there are those who will have not achieved a place on their chosen course. This will have been a disappointing and frustrating time for them. Their plans seem to have been derailed. Their chosen careers may now seem out-of-reach. Many will have had to watch their friends go to college as their lives seem to be going exactly to plan.

While such disappointment is understandable, these young people shouldn’t despair too much at this pothole in the road.

Firstly, there are now many ways through which one can get a third level education. Universities have multiple entry routes. If someone didn’t gain entry on foot of their Leaving Certificate results, then they could pursue a similar course at a slightly lower level at another institution, allowing them to get a place on their first-choice course later using their success in that subject area.

Secondly, career paths are now far more diverse and less predictable than had been the case in Ireland in the past. New careers and professions are forming on the basis of niches, specialisms and on the crossover of two or more subject areas. There may be another course or programme that, albeit in a different discipline, will ultimately educate you for the role you have in mind.

Thirdly, working in your chosen field now may provide an excellent basis on which to apply to university as a mature student (23 years old). University experience is dramatically different – and so much more worthwhile – for those who have not come directly from secondary education. As a teacher, it is always such a pleasure to encounter the enthusiasm of mature students. It is gratifying to watch them seamlessly join their life experience to the knowledge and learning of university life.

So, while not getting your preferred course may seem awful just now, there are other opportunities. Having taken the scenic route, your eventual arrival at your chosen career will be greatly enhanced by that experience.

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