'Choose something that you love in college: you will enjoy it so much more'
Una Sinnott initially considered dentistry as her third-level study choice but, in the end, her passion for agriculture won out.
The 18-year-old from Knockbrandon, Co Wexford, is from a farming background and has always had a keen interest in agriculture and agricultural science.
That interest was nurtured in Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew, Co. Wicklow, where in fifth year she was part of a team at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, with a project aimed at reducing the 'carbon hoofprint' of cattle.
Una is now a first-year BSc Agricultural Science student at University College Dublin (UCD). But her first introduction to the college was actually when she was still at school and attended its School of Agriculture and Food Science programme as part of the UCD Summer School.
That year, she was also part of a team that entered an agricultural science competition, which led to them winning five Angus calves that they raised and then later sold on.
Una credits her Leaving Cert agricultural science teacher, Dr Suzanne Eivers, with further strengthening her love of the subject, a passion that continues in UCD. "Choose something that you love and major in that area - you will enjoy it so much more" is her mantra.
Although a self-confessed homebird, Una says that she doesn't miss home at all. She lives on campus and, from day one, immersed herself into life at Belfield.
She was elected class rep and is involved in Belfield FM, the Ag Soc and the St Vincent de Paul Society, and is a member of the UCD camogie team.
The latter is certainly no surprise, as Una was part of the Wexford senior ladies' team who won the Leinster final in 2016. The final happened to be on the weekend before her Leaving Cert, which concerned her mother more than it did Una.
Her negotiating skills with her mother may be owed in part to her love of debating in school, which she has carried on into UCD. She is now captain and the only first-year on a team aiming to represent UCD in the Great Agri-Food Debate next month.
Una's preferred career path is to work in agri-related media, an avenue she has already developed through relationships with farming publications and Belfield FM, as well as creating podcasts for South East Radio.