Wednesday 25 April 2018

'I was devastated with my Leaving Cert results, but it wasn't the end of the world'

My Story Aaron O'Connor Computer Science, UCD

UCD computer science student Aaron O'Connor.
UCD computer science student Aaron O'Connor.

Aaron O'Connell will soon be entering third year BSc Computer Science in University College Dublin (UCD), an achievement he could never have imagined when he opened his Leaving Cert results and was "devastated".

He was determined to study computer science at Level 8, but missed out on points. He had not been aware of the option to transfer to university through the FETAC Higher Education Links Scheme until some online research and talking to family friends in the days after the results.

Aaron started a Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) Level 5 course in Information Technology in Galway Technical Institute (GTI) that September and, aged 17, the option to stay home for another year was also welcome.

He followed that with a Level 6 in Networks and Software and, armed with two sets of eight distinctions, the former pupil of Coláiste Éinde, Galway landed his place in UCD.

Between securing on-campus accommodation, getting involved in societies like the UCD LGBTQ and availing of supports such as the maths support centre and the computer science support centre, Aaron (21) quickly adjusted to university life.

Ultimately, his dream is to become a pilot and a BSc will be an important step in securing a cadetship. Since he may need to part-fund a cadetship, he plans to work after college in the booming ICT sector. Aarons's advice for anyone disappointed with their results? "It's not the end of the world. It all looks a lot better looking back."

He strongly advocates the FETAC route: "It really builds you up as a person, it really helps your transition. The opportunities are huge - I got an EU-funded work placement in Krakow."

Irish Independent

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