I originally accepted a place on the Arts degree at Maynooth University with the intention to study Law and Business. I studied Law, Business and Music in my first year. After I completed that year, I decided that I didn’t want to study Law anymore and was offered a place on the Business and Management course. I had really enjoyed studying Business in first year and I found that the modules were very interesting and working in groups for assignment was a great new experience. I had support in making my decision to switch courses. One of the major benefits of my course was having the opportunity to study abroad. I went to study in a Business school in Brittany, Rennes in France and, although I wasn’t studying French, I was able to go to a University in France where classes were taught through English; that year abroad now counts as part of my degree.
I already had two brothers in college ahead of me and it would not have been financially possible for my family to have me in university without the HEAR programme. I first heard about the HEAR programme in 6th year of secondary school from my guidance counsellor.
I decided to make an application to HEAR mainly because of all the benefits and supports that were available. The main attractions of HEAR to me were the possibility of being eligible for a reduced points place at University and the orientation programme that were offered by the colleges. In the end I didn’t require a reduced points place, as I gained enough Leaving Certificate points for my course.
The HEAR orientation programme that I attended before my course began gave me a huge advantage compared to other students who did not come to college through the HEAR programme. I got to meet many other first year students who were in a similar boat to me. I made plenty of friends, many of whom I keep in regular contact with today. I got to know the campus very well for my first day, which made the whole experience of starting university less daunting. Since my first days at college, I have been involved with the activities run by the Access Programme at Maynooth University. I was a Leader on the TAKE5 programme twice and I was a Leader on the HEAR orientation at the end of my second year and became a Head Leader last August. I didn’t expect to have this experience when I filled out my HEAR application.
I would highly recommend the HEAR programme, as it offers an entry route that makes third level possible for students worried about whether they are able for it. It offers personal, academic, social and financial support. Even more importantly, having people to support you on campus is a great feeling. I may not have completed my degree without this support when times were tough for me. I recommend the HEAR programme because it gives Leaving Certificate students the opportunity, regardless of your situation, to be successful at third level; you just need the right support to get there and benefit from the experience.
My plans for the future are to go on to do an internship in the Marketing section of a company and possibly do a Masters Degree in this field.