Monday, 12 January 2015

The Irish Education System

I'm one of those lucky few that know exactly what they've wanted to do from a young age, since transition year (three years ago) I knew I wanted to study journalism and new media in UL, then go onto become a radio presenter, I knew that. It was the dream then, and it's still the dream now!!
Obviously in the mean time I want to become a brain surgeon, a maths and Spanish teacher and obviously go to space like, but the day time dream is to be a radio presenter.
See that little blue thing sitting beside Conor Murray in the chair?? - It's my dream for that to be me, well obviously not to be a smurf with bright yellow hair, but to be sitting in a radio station interviewing Conor.
However, for me that dream isn't exactly possible at the moment, why you ask?? well, the leaving cert.
The Leaving Cert is the one thing that can get in between every single student and their dream in this country, well only if you let it, and I refuse to let it.

Firstly, like I said I'm lucky that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew this was the move for me when we set up a school magazine called 'What's The Banter?' a couple of pages with 'nail tips' and 'hunk of the month'. We put so much work and effort into it that it became a part of my life for the year and it's since then I knew this was the path I was born to take.
I've done my fair share of research, making contacts, gaining experience. I've been told no, I've kept trying. I've worked hard, I wrote as much as I could, I interviewed people, I spoke to as many people as I could but one thing I couldn't do was study, and that's where I fell down.
I know there will be people reading this out there that will say 'look if she wanted it so badly, she'd have worked harder for it' but that's not always the way. I never had the capability of sitting there with an open book. I'd do it, I'd sit there, I'd make notes, I'd learn it inside out, the next day doing a test I'd go blank and wouldn't remember a thing, studying wasn't for me and it's because of this that I'm never going to get to live my journalism dream in UL, but there's one thing for sure, there are students in that course with their 500 points and I can guarantee you I've more ambition for that course than every single one of them. I'm not saying they don't deserve to be there by any means, they worked hard so they get to live their dreams, but what about working hard in terms of getting pieces published? doing work experience on your holidays and weekends??- That's my problem with this Irish education system, it's based entirely on your academic ability and sometimes that just really isn't good enough.

It's not just me who feel this, take primary teaching for example. Honours Irish is hard, a very hard subject that not everyone can do, I personally LOVE Irish and it's one of, if not my favourite subject but what I don't understand is why student's that want to do primary teaching have to do honours for their leaving cert?
When I look back on my primary school days I don't remember learning anything other than asking to go the bathroom, so why would students who can't physically adapt to another language have to take the honours paper. Yes there are ways around it, but what's the difference between two students getting the same points but just because one student didn't take the honours paper cannot become a teacher, is it fair?

Another problem I have with the Irish education system is why the state is forcing teenagers at 16/17 to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives it isn't fair, and lets not lie about it from before fifth year even starts you have to know what you want to be because if you don't you may not have the requirements and if you don't have the entry requirements then there is no helping you.
Take physics for example,  you aren't given a list of things you can't be if you don't take a subject. You don't do HL maths, you're not studying physics. You don't take a science subject you're not being a nurse. These are basic examples but even once again using primary teaching. Going into fifth year, maybe you've no intention of EVER becoming a teacher you're 16/17 you want to be a hairdresser. Half way through sixth year you realise you want to be a primary teacher, what happens then?
You simply can't pick up HL Irish in the middle of sixth year, it's impossible so yeah because you didn't know what you wanted to be when you're 16, you won't be a teacher.

I genuinely think the Irish education system is a joke, it shouldn't be solely based on your points and grades. I think it should be at least part interview based, experience based, have at least ten places in each course that are dedicated to students who will never get enough points for the course but can prove themselves to course directors.

But see the thing is, the education system can only destroy your dreams if you allow it too. It might stop you from getting the college course you want, but not your dreams.
So you don't get into college your first time, so what?! Take the year out, try again, keep working get experience, it could possibly benefit you in the long run.
When I dropped out of school, I thought I was screwed, absolutely no hope, no way I can get to college now, but I'm still studying from home, so many doors opened for me. I write for the fastest growing online news website, I've made so many contacts, I've gotten amazing experiences and this is all before I even get to college.
At the start heading to bed on a Thursday night with my accounting book whilst all my friends were heading out to nightclubs was tough, it was the worst feeling ever, but this year has been such an amazing opportunity and I know for a fact, college wasn't meant for me last year, but come September I'll be in Limerick some how, and that is a promise.

Finally, before I go there's one other thing I have to say and that is what you actually study in college doesn't define what you will do for the rest of your life. I could study gardening and that doesn't mean I won't be writing for a paper.
For example, Nessa Harney from Spin South West, she studied business in UL, shes now in the process of doing a masters in accounting, she's one of the top radio DJ's in the country.
Lucy Kennedy from TV3's Late Lunch live, she didn't go to college, she repeated her leaving and went onto become one of Ireland's most loved TV presenters.
Aoibhe Devlin from 'The Secret Obsession', she studied business and she works in the fashion industry and has done amazing things with fashion so what ever happens you can turn it around and you can do whatever you want. There's always light at the end of the tunnel, even if it takes a while to drive through.

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