Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Family support is crucial in being a student'

Steven O'Rourke

Having been made redundant in late 2008, I was left with an interesting choice.

Should I use the money to fund that round-the-world trip I'd been dreaming of or should I return to college and attempt to forge a new career?

It was an easy decision once my wife indicated her willingness to put her own ambitions on hold for a year.

I applied for a number of journalism courses and was accepted into four of them, before choosing the Masters programme in Independent College.

Although I only have 13 hours of lectures per week, each lecture requires five hours' preparation, so working full-time is out of the question. Thankfully, my family has been very supportive.

At 27, and having spent five years in the workforce, the first day of college was nerve-wracking. Most of my classmates are younger.

However, because it is a Masters programme, we have all been to college before.

Nevertheless, I do feel my age when I realise that when I was completing my degree in Marketing and Languages at the Tallaght Institute of Technology in 2004, some of my classmates were only taking their Junior Cert.

My work ethic has changed radically from when I was doing my degree. Back then I was sure the degree would take care of itself and I could get on with my socialising. Today I spend most of my time studying.

Of course you can have a good social life as a mature student. But as my family have backed me, both mentally and financially, I feel obliged to repay their faith by achieving the highest possible grades.

A supportive family and self-motivation hold the key to being a successful mature student.

Irish Independent

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