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My story: 'When the results came out I was still unsure about what to do next'

Ailish Connolly

Jade Nolan

Published 17/08/2011 | 05:00

Ailish Connolly has sound advice for students who, like her, were unsure of the next step when the Leaving Cert results came out.

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She is a good example of how it pays off to explore the opportunities offered by further education, such as Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses

Ailish, from Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, was sick for a lot of sixth year, and as a result, missed a lot of school.

"When the results came out I was still a bit unsure about what to do next, and I didn't feel confident moving away.

"It was suggested that I should take a year to do a Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) course, to find out what I really wanted to do and reapply for university the following year," said Ailish.

She opted for the one-year Cultural and Heritage Studies course in Cavan Institute.

"It gave me time to think about what to do next," the 20-year-old said.

"People think that because it's not a university course that the workload is lighter -- but from speaking to my friends I realised that I had the same, if not more, work to do than people starting college."

The following year Ailish was offered a place in arts in NUI Maynooth, to which access is possible through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS).

"I had found something I really enjoyed learning about and it gave me a solid foundation for Maynooth."

She said moving away from home and starting a new course is a daunting experience for anyone, so "take the time to consider all your options and explore what FETAC has to offer before rushing into a decision".

Irish Independent Supplement

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