'Choosing a smaller college helped me out of my shell'
My Story: The call that changed everything for Patrick
During his Leaving Cert year, Patrick Erhard studied hard in the hopes of securing his first choice - a business course at a leading university.
When it didn't work out, he thought his dreams were lost. But 24 hours later, he got a call that changed everything.
"The National College of Ireland (NCI) called and invited me to have a look around," said Patrick, who had listed the college on his CAO form.
Patrick, whose mother Pearl was unwell at the time, felt reassured by the warmth and positivity of NCI.
"I didn't know much about the college but I was really impressed by its close community, worldly lecturers and its dedicated maths support section," he said.
Patrick (22) enrolled in a two-year higher certificate course in business, and hasn't looked back.
"I've had work opportunities that I never expected so early in my career," said Patrick, whose confidence also grew from joining the badminton, fashion and lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clubs.
On top of his academic commitments, Patrick is NCI Student Union Officer, running its 23 clubs and societies.
"In school I was a very shy person, but choosing a smaller college made me burst out of my shell, I would have been lost in a big university," said Patrick, who won club person of the year.
Having received his cert, Patrick, from Clongriffin, Dublin has progressed into second year on the human resource management degree.