Why it's never too late to decide on a career change
"My biggest fear was that I'd be the eldest in a class full of teenagers" says Janet
After her Leaving Cert, Janet Byrne had absolutely no intention of going to university.
"I fell into bathroom design," said Janet, who attended St. Dominic's Secondary School, Ballyfermot, Co Dublin. "Business was booming and it was a great field to be in at the time," she said.
But when the recession hit, business started to go down the pipes and Janet was forced to re-assess her future.
"I didn't really want to be doing it forever, so I thought about going back to education," said Janet (30), who excelled at science in school.
"It was a subject that was very natural to me. I understood it very well and I enjoyed it," she said.
She heard about a one-year pre-university FETAC science course at Greenhills College, located near her home in Palmerstown.
She realised that by achieving five distinctions on the course she would meet CAO requirements to study science at University College Dublin (UCD).
After receiving the required grades to apply for a degree, Janet said she couldn't wait to get to UCD.
The transition was made easy by helpful staff and the presence of 16 other mature students in her class.
"One of my biggest fears would be that I'd be the only one in a class of 18-year-olds," she said.
Now happily heading into third year in microbiology, Janet is torn as to what she'll do next.
"I would love to get out and get my hands dirty in a lab, but I'd also like to do a PhD," she said.
Janet is even considering doing a doctorate abroad.
"My dream job would be to work in a tropical medicine facility, dealing with really unusual diseases and coming up with solutions," she said.