My story: 'The PLC course prepared me well for my first year in university'
Gavin Dooley | Dublin City University
In his Leaving Cert year, Gavin Dooley wasn't sure what he wanted to study after school and admits he didn't put the work in for the exams.
Having no CAO offer, the Trim, Co Meath native rang Dunboyne College of Further Education and found it still had a place in a Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) journalism course. He took it up but soon realised it wasn't for him and left the course around Christmas time.
Gavin (22), a past-pupil of Boyne Community School, Trim has family in London so decided to head off there for a year.
"I did some security training and worked in a bar."
He followed that with a stint in Limerick, where he worked in hospitality "but I knew that sector wasn't for me in the long run," he says.
In 2015, he decided to return to Dunboyne College and, this time, he enrolled on a PLC course in pre-university law. He excelled, graduating with a distinction.
It opened the door to a place on a Bachelor of Civil Law (Law and Society) degree programme in Dublin City University (DCU), where he is about to enter second year.
The course prepares graduates for entrance exams to the Law Society, as a trainee solicitor, or for entrance to the barrister-at-law degree at King's Inns.
Gavin says the experience of the PLC helped to prepare him for the transition to university.
"If I didn't do the PLC, I think I would have found it a bit overwhelming.
"On the back of doing so well, I was more prepared. If I went straight from school I probably wouldn't have lasted," he admits.
The one-year course covered all the basics and Gavin says that it made studying in first year easier and he arrived in college already familiar with many important legal cases.
Although attending DCU means taking two buses from home every day, Gavin wouldn't give up the opportunity he has landed to pursue his interest at third-level. "It has to be done," he laughs. "Going to college is the best thing to do."
Gavin is making the most of his time in university, grabbing every opportunity that comes his way.
DCU, like other third-level colleges, offers a wide range of societies and clubs. An obvious choice for this budding legal eagle was the the Law Society, which, he says, is an ideal way to meet like-minded students.
"Societies are a great way to make friends. The Law Ball is good craic; it was good to get dressed up and have a bit of fun," he says.
Gavin is looking forward to getting back into the books in September.
While this is a three-year courses, students have the option of extending it into a fourth year by going to a partner university in Spain, Scotland, China or Poland.
Gavin feels the range of subjects he is studying has given him a broad spectrum of careers from which to choose, with options ranging from a legal journalist to practising law.
Right now, he is not sure what road he will take.