Sunday 17 December 2017

My story: Orla McCarthy

There is never just one way of doing things, especially when it comes to finding the right college course. This proved to be the case for Orla McCarthy, who realised that she was heading down the wrong path after choosing a course to which she wasn't suited.

Orla originally chose to do a Media degree, but soon into the course she realised she wasn't happy. "I knew I wasn't right for Media when I couldn't see myself working in that field for the rest of my life. When you know for definite you're just not right for a course you could end up miserable if you stay."

The 23-year-old from Portmarnock, Co Dublin, had always been interested in Engineering and had taken the subject in secondary school. So, with huge support from family and friends, she decided to switch courses, and discovered it was the best thing she could have done.

"I was thrilled I had changed course. After a year in the wrong choice -- knowing what the alternative was -- made Engineering much more worthwhile for me and it made it easier to work through stressful times."

Orla opted to study in Trinity College Dublin, where the common entry programme allows students to study general Engineering for the first two years, leaving plenty of time to decide their specialist area for the final two years of study.

So, for two years, Orla took subjects across all streams -- Electronics, Computing and Civil -- before specialising in Civil Structure and Environment.

A male-dominated area, the Engineering course had a gender balance of 80/20 in favour of men, but that didn't faze Orla.

"We all just got on; there was no competition between sexes, only between students," she says.

Now Orla is "over the moon" with the results from her degree and considers the hard work and long hours time well spent.

After doing an intensive course for four years she is now "delighted to be taking a break from future plans". She does, however, have her ambitious sights set on London and will be applying for a graduate programme there in the autumn.

Irish Independent

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