“I got a place at Coláiste Dhúlaigh and took the pre-university science course” – The Irish Times

I took my Leaving Cert in 2016 and basically it didn’t go too well. I knew I wanted to do science, so I chose biology, chemistry, and math. I ended up failing math and got a D3 in chemistry, so I got by with the skin of my teeth. The results weren’t high enough to enter into my CAD choices, which were in DCU.

I remember the moment I got my Leaving Cert results, and saw how bad they were, my family and I were like, “Oh no.” We knew right away that this wasn’t going to get me into another DCU class. It was a moment of great panic.

One of my teachers, she offered me a CPL and immediately we almost shunned our noses. But when we watched it, we realized it was just another year, and it would help me get the course I want. He went from snobbery to realizing it was a saving grace.

I got a place at Coláiste Dhúlaigh and took the pre-university science course, which was like a stepping stone to DCU. It was basically a backdoor and going through it you could basically get a zero round offer through the OAC.

So I went to apply and started. At PLC, we did the basics of everything, and I felt like this was my last chance and I couldn’t really waste it. To get a DCU offer, you had to achieve a minimum of merit in your certificate, which was an average minimum of 65%. I ended up with an average of 77 percent.

I entered DCU and did common entry science in first year. I then headed towards chemical and pharmaceutical sciences for the rest of the degree. Once I got into college, that was it; I lowered my head because I had this in my head because I had to go through the PLC. I fought for four years and graduated with a 2.1 degree in chemical and pharmaceutical sciences.

I ended up graduating in the summer of 2020. Because I graduated in a pandemic, it was very difficult for me to find a job. I was looking for a job, then in the end I ended up getting a job at WuXi Biologics. I work here in the quality control department.

If I had gone straight to DCU, I would have spent my entire freshman year at 17, which is pretty young. It gave me the year to grow. I gained some experience in some subjects like biology and physics which I was not very good at before going to university.

A lot of the guys I met at PLC, we’re still best friends to this day. A lot of my friend group is actually made up of people I met at PLC. He formed a big part of my life.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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