Inspirations: Susan Hawkins

In this day and age it’s so important to have someone to look up to as a role model to keep you on the straight and narrow while taking full advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

Over the past few months, I have built up a strong relationship with the person who inspires me. You will often find me sitting in her office and just nattering away to her like she was one of the girls. I find it so easy to talk to her about any of my problems and she always gives me the best advice and leads me in the right direction.

Susan Hawkins is the Outreach Officer for the Access Service in DCU.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Access service is a scheme that offers students from a disadvantaged background the opportunity to go to college by offering reduced points and financial aid.

I first met Susan when I was in sixth year when she came to my school and spoke about the different routes to third level education; The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE). She was the first person who said to me “Why wouldn’t you be able to go to college, you can.” From that moment on she made me believe that I would be able to reach college and that my background would not affect that. Little did I know that the following August I would be accepting my first choice on my CAO through DCU’s Access Service.

My first few days of university life were spent in the Access Service’s orientation, where I joined my little Access family, which she is at the heart of. From that day on, Susan has always ensured that we reach our full potential.

Throughout the past year I have had some great opportunities to volunteer with the Access Service, whether it was school talks, volunteering at awards ceremonies, or giving a hand at one of the various events she held to introduce second level students to third level education.

An opportunity I really enjoyed and got the most out of was going to various schools in the North Dublin area with Susan and giving a talk to the senior students about the HEAR option for college, that same very talk that she inspired me to go to college with.

Susan Hawkins believed that I would succeed in university. I believed in myself too. Since then I often think to myself, why didn’t I believe that I could be here?

Michaela Gaffney

Image Credit: Karl Conyard

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