By Paul Brady
Ninety new mature students began their university life in DCU this year.
The number of mature students is down compared to last year with DCU having made 160 offers to people who have applied through the CAO for mature student places. There are also students that are considered mature (over the age of 23) who gained a place through the CAO on points without having to go through an interview process.
The number of mature students going back to education this academic year should be confirmed in a few weeks when all institutions have completed registration and the Higher Education Authority plans to publish a full report. For comparison, Trinity College made 227 offers for mature student places.
The overall feeling amongst the new mature students was a mixture of apprehension and excitement. One woman, Claire Faughey from Malahide would prefer to be known as a “slightly older student”.
Claire is a mother of two whose children are just as excited as she is about starting in DCU to study for a degree in enterprise computing. Claire like all the mature students has invaluable life experience which she hopes she can share with her fellow students. She spent 6 years working in IT in Silicon Valley in California and bucks the recent trend of emigration in this country by returning to her roots after years of travelling. Claire feels very lucky to be getting the opportunity to study in DCU but does worry that her brain won’t be able to work.
It is believed that many people decide to go back to education because of the economic situation in the country, the lack of jobs and opportunities and also an aversion to the thought of emigrating.
Fionn Daly is one such new student that could easily have emigrated and found work but decided to start studying for a degree in Business at the age of 26.
Fionn is a fully qualified carpenter and a native of Clondalkin but now living in Glasnevin to be close to DCU, moving in with his younger brother who is a second year student in the college.
Having completed his apprenticeship three years ago Fionn was laid off and started working for himself but work soon dried up when the recession started to bite. The time he spent running his own business inspired him to learn more and pursue a business degree.
Fionn is also nervous about the challenge of studying but was helped by the college over the summer by a refresher course in maths run by the university
Darren Rowe and Robert Rusk are two locals from Artane also starting University life in their mid-20s. They are childhood friends and have both taken the same path into DCU by doing a PLC access course last year. They share a passion for science and will be studying for a science degree and feel lucky to be getting the opportunity as they wouldn’t have had enough points to get into DCU when the finished secondary school.
Beverley Maughan is a lone- parent coming to DCU to study for a degree in law and society. Beverley has a keen interest in human rights and social justice having had to at times fight for her own rights.
Through the community employment scheme Beverley studied courses in criminology and legal studies and now feels ready to study for a degree. She feels life is on the up for her and her son as she now has a home to be proud of having been relocated from her.