Pretty much everyone I know who studies science have completely different reasons for doing so. Some like the idea of a practical experience that doesn't involve always working at a desk, some are in it for the money and some have known since they were five years old that that was their calling.
I didn't always feel that science was for me and when I did choose to go down that road it was far from easy ! Growing up all I wanted was to study law and be a police woman. Two very different ends of the spectrum.
This was my plan right up until 6th year. I went to the higher options show in the RDS for those of you not from Ireland the higher options show is basically a gathering of all the main colleges in Ireland as well as the army and guards. They also have talks on for specific courses like science, law and business.
I went into a law lecture and fell asleep in the first 10 minutes I realised then that their was no way I could sit through that for 4 years. I left the lecture early and went to find my friend who was in a science lecture in the next hall. I sat down and my interest was immediately peaked as was everyone else's in the room.
The lecturer started by saying she studied chemistry and worked in the pharmaceutical sector for years then when she was at the top of her field she decided she wanted a change. She left a very well paid job to start from scratch as a computer scientist at a time when this was an area just starting up. Within a few years she was earning more money than she had been previously. She showed us how much money a scientist starts off at what the maximum amount you can get is and how many jobs are available each year. Let me just say the results were staggering. I left that hall knowing science was what I wanted to study.
Choosing to study science was the easy part. Finding which type of science was for me and getting their was the hard part. As soon as I decided on science as my perfered choice I knew I wanted to go to Dublin Institute of Technology. They had small class sizes and dedicate most of there curriculum to practical work. I knew a hands on approach was for me so DIT suited me perfectly.
I then had to decide what type of science to study. I only studied biology for my leaving cert no other science subject, but I knew chemistry interested me also. My choice was not made any easier by my school guidance counselor. Every week I went to her with a course in mind and each time she told me not to bother looking at colleges and university's because I could never get the points. She told me to stick to a FETAC college.
I refused to believe I was incapable of getting what I wanted. I worked day and night 7 days a week but in the end it was worth it. When the results came out I got the points I knew I needed. I was then offered my place in DIT for Chemical Science and medicinal chemistry. This was a chemistry course at its core and since I had not studied chemistry before I deffered my place and entered a FETAC science course for one year. It was the best decision I ever made and I encourage everyone to do a FETAC before jumping into a four year degree. I learned that I loved chemistry as well as getting a basis in lab techniques, communications and physics.
I then entered my degree in DIT. I'm in my second year now and love every minute of it. My advice for students wishing to pursue an education in science is to trust yourself you know what you are capable of no one else. The hours are long and sometimes the work is hard but every day there is something new to do.
I hope that this post will help other students who are interested in science.