'I bottled it up for ages that I wanted to change my course'
Emma Kavanagh | Multimedia Studies, DCU
When Emma Kavanagh started studying journalism, she never expected that the following September she would be starting a different course at the same college.
Emma, from the Navan Road area of Dublin and who attended St. Dominic's College, Cabra, had put business and law courses at the top of her CAO, but the points went up and she missed out. She was offered journalism in Dublin City University (DCU) .
After putting some thought into it, Emma decided she didn't want to be the only one of her friends not going to college. She took the offer but, despite her best efforts, the course was not right for her.
"I basically bottled it up for ages that I wanted to change," she says. "Before you go to college, you don't understand about all these different things that can happen."
Emma spoke to a counsellor at DCU about her options and decided that she would prefer to study multimedia. She was told she could transfer at the end of the year but would have to pay full student fees the following year. Alternatively, if she withdrew before the start of the second semester, she could start multimedia studies the following September and pay only standard charge.
Emma chose the latter, and hasn't looked back. "It was very hard because I never thought that I'd be the person who'd be dropping out of college so early on… but honestly it's been the best decision I've ever made."
Emma says that when she returned to DCU to study multimedia she was "a bit nervous that everyone was going to be younger than me". But she quickly discovered that the opposite was true. The class was full of people who had entered through alternative routes.
She loved the course and has just finished her final year.
Emma (22) says that students should trust their gut instinct when it comes to deciding their CAO offer: "You're normally never wrong about it!"
She also says not to be disappointed and not to bottle things up. "Completing the Leaving Cert is a triumph in itself," says Emma.