You can still do whatever you want to do and more!

Life after the Leaving: Aoife Dooley is a freelance illustrator and designer and author of Dublin Hun book ‘How to Be Massive’

Aoife Dooley: freelance illustrator and designer. Photograph: Ruth Medjbe

Aoife Dooley: freelance illustrator and designer. Photograph: Ruth Medjbe

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I work as a freelance illustrator and designer and my office is located right at the end of my nana’s kitchen table. I also write and illustrate books as well as doing stand-up comedy which I’m hoping to do more of this year.

I went to St Mary’s Secondary School in in Killester and studied art, geography and French for my Leaving Cert.

I loved art because I was good at it. It was just as well because I was awful at pretty much anything else I did in school and had no interest.

I didn’t do too well in the Leaving Cert; I think I got something like 260 points but that didn’t stop me getting to where I wanted to be. I was just happy I passed everything if I’m being honest.

I went on to study graphic design in Coláiste Dhúlaigh for three years and got my diploma there. I went on to get a first-class honours in DIT where I studied visual communication.

I felt like I really came out of my shell after studying for six years and knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I enjoyed my degree but it hasn’t really affected my career. Whether [the work] is freelance or in an office [I] have never asked about it.

For the area I’m working in, it’s more about your skill-set and how your mind works and how easily you can problem solve.

If I was to go back and fill in my CAO choices again, I think I’d do the same thing! I think I was meant to do what I’m doing but if I had to pick something else, it would either be animation or fashion; not that I have any clue about it!

My advice to anyone awaiting results is not to sweat it. What’s done is done and the Leaving Cert is only the tip of the iceberg; in a good way.

It doesn’t define you as a person and it only helps you get to where you want to go a bit quicker.

If you don’t do so well you can still do whatever you want to do and more! If I can do it, anyone can, once they put their mind to it.

irishtimes.com/life-and-style/fashion/spicebag-up-your-life-how-to-be-massive-1.2834112

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