My very (very) last graduation day

its not the road you take but the journey your on, graduation

family, graduation, kids, gown, cap, grass, tree, lyit


5th Time’s a Charm…Right?

A couple of weeks back I graduated with a Masters of Science in Marketing Practice. It was an extremely proud day for me and my family. The 4 kids, hubbie and my mam made the journey to see me put my tassel to the left side! If you spotted this on the N15 hope you gave us a wave!

All in all this will have been my 5th graduation ceremony, my 1st being my leaving cert back when ‘ Mambo No.5‘ was in the top ten… images-14


I have graduated since with a certificate, degree, honours degree and now a masters. Oh by the way did I tell you I am still looking for a job???!!

Go on Enda ya good thing!”

No Clear Path

I love studying and love learning new things, college and qualifications are not the path for everyone and I know they are not the be all and end all. I have learned a hell of a lot through the university of life so far, but personally I love the classroom environment. Don’t get me wrong there were times during the masters where I thought I would never see the end of the semester and I owe a lot to my class mates for getting me through, but this graduation was special to me for obvious reasons but it meant something even more, I had finally figured out what I what to do with my career!

At 34 and 3/4 I had found my calling!

Until the age of 14 I wanted to be a nurse, I was hospitalised a good bit as a child with asthma and it must have come from there. Then came the day I found out I would have to do general nursing before I could specialise in paediatric, that was the end of that dream!

From around 16 I decided law was the path I wanted to follow, my dad God rest him was only delighted, he loved his Judge Judy! I was delighted as I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life. Fast forward 18 years and this is this is what actually happened…

I completed the masters through Springboard which I have to admit has been a useful programme put in place by the government. It offers higher education courses in the fields where employers are actually seeking qualified people. You must be a job-seeker to be eligible for the courses. I had previously completed a semester in the Msc. in Marketing in Sligo IT a few years back but had to withdraw because I didn’t get the grant I needed to complete the masters, thanks SUSI!  So when I saw the MSc. advertised on the LYIT social media I was over the moon and applied immediately! I bet you can imagine me sitting at my kitchen table, coffee on one side, the paper on the other, delighted with life and clicking apply here to progress your career… NOPE

What Actually Happened

My baby was 3 weeks old at the time,  I had 4 year old twin boys running circles around me and my teenager was being, well, to be fair she was just being a teenager… I do not know what I was thinking, maybe the morphine from the c-section was still rolling around my veins or maybe I thought this is the perfect opportunity for me to leave the house alone for more than it takes to grab nappies and pasta from Tesco… but whatever the reason I applied and before I knew it I was accepted to the course. I was going back to LYIT. This was going to be my second attempt to gain a masters. It also took me three attempts to get my degree…

When I walked out of the gates of the convent after my last leaving cert exam (shuffling along to Lou Bega) LYIT was my first choice and I headed up there to study Legal Studies. I adored and still do love Donegal I had amazing time up there, anybody that has gone to LYIT will understand this and agree “It is some spot“. I loved the course and soaked up the modules in law like a sponge…when I was in class. Before the end of first year I found out I was expecting my teenager…some might have used this word at the time but I like to use it as an acronym…download-3So I like to call that attempt one.

When my teenager was 9 months old I thought “Right! lets give this another go”, so the two of us headed up to Donegal on our lonesome and I registered back onto my course. I enrolled the teenager (then baby!) into a creche and everything was going well, a struggle on my own, but going well. The hubster was in college himself in Dublin, he travelled to us in Donegal every weekend. Just before Christmas I was told because I was just 20 years old (not a mature student) and had re-started the same course I was not entitled to the grant anymore… good times. Financially I could not go to college anymore and pay rent, light and heat, pay a creche and food, et cetera et cetera, so I went back to home to Mayo to wait it out until my 23rd birthday… Attempt No.2

September 2005 aged 23 and 3/4 I started 1st year of college in GMIT studying Business…4 years later I graduated with an honours degree in business! Attempt No.3!



I was over the moon I had a qualification. BUT business was not something I longed to study (I still was hung up over Law) and I STILL didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. When the twins were a year and a half I decided I wanted to teach business, so I researched courses and the most feasible was through Hibernia’s post primary. Part of the criteria to apply for the course is to have gotten a ‘D’ in leaving cert higher English, unfortunately I didn’t get the grade I was expecting at the time (English was one of my best subjects ironically).

So I had two choices forget about this career choice or go back to school… I enrolled in my old secondary school that week I was 30 years old.

You know those dreams where you are back in your old classroom wearing your pyjamas surrounded by 17 year olds, I lived it. I thought I could study it at home and head up for my exam the following June…nope! For almost a year and a half I sat in a classroom with girls literally half my age, the teacher I had was amazing she knew exactly the right way to handle the situation and was my peer at all times.

During my English studies I saw a Masters in Marketing being offered online through Sligo IT, I loved the marketing modules I did during my degree and with this course being held online I decided it was too good not to apply. I decided to keep going with my English, mainly because I’m a stubborn bitch and I wouldn’t give it up and you know how that masters ended up  download-15

In the end I didn’t get to sit my Leaving Cert, my baby girl passed away a few months before I was due to sit it and well, English was obviously not important anymore.

The Future

So now I have finished searching for what to do with my career, I love marketing. Although I am currently doing something even more difficult that writing a dissertation with 4 kids at home…job hunting!

I started this post as an informative one for anybody thinking about doing a post grad and its gone on to look like chapter 5 of my future memoirs! I am waiting on Michael Aspell to pop into my kitchen with a big red book and my closest friends and family! (If you are under 30 google him!)

I think what I am trying (and failing) to say is there is no clear path for everybody out there…in over four years my own teenager will be expected to know what she wants to do with the rest of her life, seriously she was collecting Sylvanian Families like two months ago! Okay, maybe maybe a bit longer than that but you get the gist. You know the ‘Suncreen’ song by Baz Luhrmann…

“The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.”

These lyrics are so true. In all honesty I cannot say I will never go back to studying again, makeup artistry is something I have thought about! But for right now, I am settled with the fact I am done with college, I know what i want to do and be, a marketer…I just need something to bloody market!! 

Liam Neeson, graduation, job,experience

Edited to update my current situation as Marketing Assistant for Molloys Lifestyle Pharmacies. You can read a blog post I wrote about going back to work here

Honest to God there are a million paths out there. The journey is different on them all but it is what you make of the journey that counts. 

Don’t let a piece of paper with letters on it dictate your journey, if you are happy tomorrow, fantastic. If you are not, I promise you will be fine. Believe me when I say, it is not the end of the world you didn’t get what you wanted. You are embarking on a lesser travelled path and you know what? You are about to have an amazing journey getting to where you want to go. 


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