The 5 year plan
Five students tell Gráinne Fallertheir hopes, dreams and plans for the next five years
Cormac O Meadhra
Former school: Presentation College, Bray, Co Wicklow
I was very happy on the whole with the exams. Honestly, the biggest relief was the poets of English Paper 2. I had Larkin covered and it was a nice question, so I managed to avoid the Plath and Heaney fiasco. That for me was a huge relief.
My first choice is engineering in UCD. It was a toss up between that and maths in Trinity, which is higher points. A professor in UCD told me that engineering is comprised of a lot of problem solving and maths, but you also get hands-on practical learning. That was what convinced me. That, and the fact that it’s easier to get postgrad funding for engineering than pure maths. For engineering I need around 450 points, so anywhere above that and I’m happy.
My five-year plan It’s a five-year course so the plan is really finish with good grades. I hope to travel in the meantime and build up some experience.
My ideal job At the moment I think something in academia – maybe lecturing?
Travel Definitely want to travel. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and America are at top of the list.
Places I’ll have seen by the time I’m 25 All the places mentioned above. I would like to spend my summers away and experience life abroad. I’m thinking about an Erasmus and maybe I could spend a year in America. But who knows? It could all change over the next few years.
Heroes I want to have met This is too hard to answer. I honestly don’t know who I’d choose.
Best life lesson I have learned so far It’s not that bad. Things could always be worse.
From: Craughwell, Co Galway
Studying: Science in NUIG, going into second year
I absolutely love the freedom of college. Everything is so monitored in secondary school – your attendance, your uniform, your study – and then you get to college and all of a sudden it’s up to you. I was like, “I can do whatever I want. This is epic!” I moved in to college so I did have to deal with the responsibility too. Some days I’d be lying in bed and thinking, “I can’t do this,” but I’d drag myself up and get to the lecture.
I opted for an undenominated science degree to keep my options open. When I was younger I wanted to do marine biology (I can probably trace that desire back to the time I watched Flipper when I was five) but then I did a stint of work experience in an aquarium. It wasn’t exactly working with dolphins – there was a lot of tank cleaning. Now I’m massively interested in stem cell research but I’m not going to get all obsessed again. I’ll keep my options open until I learn more.
My five year plan There’s a lot of study in my future. If you’re in science it quickly becomes obvious that there isn’t really any point in stopping at a BSc. You need to get your Masters and your PhD and whatever else you can under your belt. I’ll have at least a couple of those letters to my name in five years time.
My ideal job I’ll sound like such a geek here but I really would love to be doing some sort of research. I love the idea of continuously learning and researching. I can’t see myself working in a company lab but then again I don’t want to rule it out either. I don’t know enough about it yet I suppose.
Travel I want to go everywhere. A J1 is definitely on the cards but my boyfriend wants to go to Canada because the drinking age is lower so that could be fun either. The idea of Australia really appeals to me although I’m not so sure about the whole 24 hour flight thing. I’m also not very good at packing light. If I went to Oz there’d probably be no room for anyone else’s luggage in the baggage hold.
Places I’ll have seen by the time I’m 25 The pyramids. I want to have been on every continent, I just want to have seen lots of different cultures. I’m not too fussy!
Heroes I want to have met I don’t really have any famous heroes. My hero is my mum and I’ve met her.
Best life lesson I have learned so far If you have a goal, keep your eye on it. Don’t get distracted by the little things.
From: Castlerea, Co Roscommon
Former school: Castlerea Community School
If I manage to pass French and maths I should be fine. Those papers were disastrous for me but if I do get the pass, I think I’ll get the points for my course. I want to do history and English in UCD. I’ll need a minimum of 360 points for it. Obviously I’ll have to repeat if I don’t manage to get my course. I’d much rather not have to do it all again.
The summer has been grand. The whole transition is a bit stressful if I’m honest. I’ve all this time on my hands. No jobs going though. I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning to pass the time. When you’re in Roscommon, there’s not a whole lot going on.
My five year plan I want to be a journalist so I’ll hope to have got through college. Perhaps I’ll have my Masters by that stage. Hopefully I’ll be working and building up my journalism contacts.
My ideal job Writing of some kind. I’d like to be working for one of the national papers, or maybe working in radio news.
Travel I’d love to see New York or Paris.
Places I’ll have seen by the time I’m 25 The Paris galleries. Eduard Manet’s my favourite so I’d like to go and see his works.
Heroes I want to have met JK Rowling. She’s such an inspiration to so many young people.
Best life lesson I have learned so far Live life to the full.
From: Portumna, Co Galway
Former school: Portumna Community School
My number one course choice is BESS in Trinity, with a view to focusing in on business and economics with an Erasmus in Paris to improve my French. I would also love to get my number two; Commerce International with French and Chinese in UCD.
BESS is a broad course which particularly suits me as I’ve so many interests across the worlds of business, politics, journalism and law. It allows me the opportunity to suss out a variety of areas while getting involved in loads of clubs and societies. It’s so difficult to narrow your interests and decide on a course during Leaving Cert as all your time is spent at the books. BESS was exactly what I was looking for.
Points wise, I’d hope to hit the 560 mark in order to receive an entrance scholarship, but if I get my course at 480, I’ll be happy.
My five-year plan Hopefully, I’ll have finished my degree and be returning from a year’s travelling in Asia to a great job in Google, Apple or the like.
My ideal job I definitely want to be self-employed with my own huge technology enterprise to rival companies like Google. It’s a huge goal, I know, but why not? My parents are self-employed and I think it’s the only way for me too.
Other than that, I want a job that will allow me to leave some sort of stamp on the world; a career that will allow me to somehow help people and not just make money, like Richard Branson or Mary Robinson (right).
Travel When I was looking at a course, I judged it by my questioning my ability to travel and work internationally afterwards. I definitely want to do a language which I feel will help. Trinity and UCD are great universities and will hopefully provide a good base for my international career.
I’d hope to be working for a company that provides me with loads of opportunities to travel, especially in America and Asia.
Places I’ll have seen by the time I’m 25 Well, hopefully space travel will be ready for me... Besides that, everywhere! Not just the far-off places of Australia and Asia, but I believe Kerry is a nice spot.
Heroes I want to have met: Peter Sutherland (for his law/business career), Mary Robinson (for her political career), Richard Branson (for his huge business success), John Hume (for his peace keeping missions) and Nelson Mandela.
Best life lesson I have learned so far: Keep going.
The Leaving is a battle of wits, just stick it out.
From: Co Louth
Former school: Our Lady’s College, Greenhills, Drogheda
I really want to get a general degree. I’ve quite a clear idea of what I’d like to do with my life but I think it’s wise at this point to keep my options open. I’m aiming for arts in NUI Maynooth which was 380 points last year. If I get 400 I should be grand. I think I’ll be fine. I got 460 in the mocks and I think my exams went well. The ideal would be to study French, history and Irish. I’m having a great summer. I’ve a job working as a cúntóir in an Irish college. It’s hard work but it’s fun. It’s sort of helping to keep my mind off results day although I had my first Leaving Cert nightmare a couple of days ago.
My five year plan I’d say I’ll emigrate, if not because of the recession, then for the life experience. I’d like to go to Canada or Australia. Canada would be good for my French and I just love Australia. I’ve been there a load of times. Hopefully I’ll have finished my degree and done a Masters by then.
My ideal job Teaching. At the moment I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I loved school. It’d be great to go back and teach in my old school.
Travelling I’d love to do a road trip in the US. I’d love to see New York and LA. I’d be really keen to visit Egypt as well. I’m really into history and I’d love to go off the beaten track a little there.
Places I’ll have seen by the time I’m 25 Italy. I’ve never been and I’d love to see the Colosseum and Vatican City. I’d also really like to have visited the sites connected to the second World War like Auschwitz. I’d like to see the Berlin Wall as well.
Heroes I want to have met Either of our female presidents. I think Mary Robinson’s election in particular brought about a change in Ireland. They’re such heroes of mine.
Best life lesson I have learned so far You meet many friends in life but the ones who stick by you are the most important ones.