Shelley (31) has college bug after working since age 13
SHELLEY Lumsden (31) had no expectation of going to college when she left school.
The daughter of a welder, there was no culture of third-level education in her family and her older brother had not blazed that particular trail.
For Shelley, who had worked part-time since she was 13, the most obvious thing to do was to go from school and straight into employment.
"I never really considered university. I was brought up on a council estate. Neither of my parents went to university. I didn't live in a university town."
And work she did. For seven years, she laboured in the kitchens on oil rigs.
In an ideal world, Shelley thought sometimes that yes, it would be nice to go to college.
"I felt I was bright enough and loved reading," Shelley says.
But cost was one of the things that put her off.
Now, she is a third-year of an English literature student in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and living in Inchicore.
Somewhere along the way, Shelley got the college bug in a big way.
"At the end, I didn't care how I would would sustain myself, I just decided, 'I have to do this.'"
The access programme for disadvantaged students at TCD became Shelley's route to her degree programme.
She says it is without any doubt whatsoever "the singularly best thing I have ever done".
Shelley added: "This qualification is going to give me a radically different lifestyle than what I had expected at the time that I left school."