Life after the Leaving: ‘Worrying won’t change the results’

Deborah Somorin is a chartered accountant with PwC

Deborah Somorin studied Accounting and Finance at DCU and is now a chartered accountant. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

Deborah Somorin studied Accounting and Finance at DCU and is now a chartered accountant. Photograph: Maxwell Photography


I’m a chartered accountant with PwC and a young mum to an amazing nine-year-old son. I’m also the founder of a social entrepreneurial project called Empower the Family. The project will open student accommodation with affordable quality childcare for lone parents between 18-23 in third-level education.

I sat my Leaving Cert in Margaret Aylward Community College in Whitehall, Dublin. My school was a very disadvantaged school [Margaret Aylward College is a designated Deis school] so we were very limited in what subjects we could do for our Leaving Certificate.

I did maths, English, French, business, geography and home economics [had an Irish exemption]. I was happy with my Leaving Certificate results because they got me into my first choice at DCU through the Access programme. My first choice was Accounting and Finance and thankfully I got it.

I then went on and studied accounting in DCU for my masters. I loved both courses. I always preferred sitting down doing budgets etc as a kid and so although it was a hard course I really enjoyed it.

I loved how tolerant and inclusive the campus felt for everyone. No matter who you were, you’d find a group of friends you could relate to or get on with. I really loved that.

There was this friendly atmosphere with everyone – students, lecturers, the student union bar staff etc – that just made it a really amazing experience overall for me.

Young mother

Being a young mother and a student at the same time was tough but I made it work and DCU were very supportive. I used to bring my son Liam to the library while I was studying or doing assignments sometimes and it was never any issue. He would sit there with the books just in awe. He loved the place so much he has already decided he’s going to DCU when he grows up. However, he plans to take a gap year before going – he’s nine going on 19!

If I was doing my Leaving Cert again I would pick the same type of course – accounting and finance.

I’m not sure if I’ll be an accountant for the rest of my life but I feel it’s a good well-rounded business qualification that will stand to me in whatever I do professionally in life.

My advice to anyone awaiting results or who are worried about the Leaving Cert is that worrying won’t change the results. It will only make you more anxious. Enjoy your time off, you’ve worked hard and you did your best on the day.

That was all that was required of you. It’s 2018 and there are so many ways of getting into your dream course and/or profession. It is important to remember the Leaving Cert is only one of them.

In conversation with Áine McMahon