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Don't get overwhelmed by college choices

It can be tough to make decisions when you're not sure what you want to do.

Written by Daithi Finnegan | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"After a number of weeks I began to realise that perhaps this wasn't the course for me"

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Don’t know what college course you want? Don’t worry! This time of year can be a very stressful time for young people in their 6th year of school. Mocks are only around the corner, last preparations are going into making sure you are as prepared as possible for the leaving cert and while all of that is extremely testing to any 17/18 year old perhaps the biggest stress is choosing your college course.

You are coming from a world where you need to ask permission to use the toilet to making the biggest decision of your life so far. While there are plenty of support around you in the form of friends, parents, teachers, guidance counsellors and the likes, the decision is, ultimately, your own.

It’s difficult to know exactly what you want to do for the next four years. There are so many choices in so many different areas of study and if you are worried because you have absolutely no clue what course you want to study; don’t be. I can guarantee that you are not the only one in your year feeling the same. I know that is how I was when I in school. I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to do it. In the end I chose a course in DIT and I got accepted.

I was in and it marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Or so I thought. I picked the course on the basis of what I had been sold by the college website and handbook and was left thinking it would be something other than what it actually turned out to be. After a number of weeks I began to realise that perhaps this wasn't the course for me.

But I held out and completed first year. ‘Ah it will be grand, it will pick up’ I kept telling myself. But it didn't and I was left with a decision to make; continue on with this with the hope it will get better and force myself to attend every day, or look for something else. I decided that it would be best for me if I dropped out. I felt that if I continued on with it I was only making things worse. I took the decision to leave the course and it stood to me, I felt I grew a little as a person. I made a tough decision, but it was my decision. As a result of that decision I went on to do a one-year PLC in journalism and from that I went to DkIT to study creative multimedia.

I am still finding myself at the minute and I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do but I do know I have a better idea after taking the decision to drop out and pursue something different. If I am to give any bit of advice to a young person in 5th or 6th year now it is that there are always different options, different paths to take and the first one isn't always going to be the right one. Never be afraid to stop and take a different one. It is okay to not know what you want to do just as much as it is okay to know exactly what it is you want to do, and to those people I wish you all the luck and success in the world.

While this is a stressful time, always know that it is your own life, everything is in your hands, and time is on your side. Do the best you can in your exams and then see where things take you. If you feel something isn't right for you, a course in college, a sport you may be involved in, a job, don’t be afraid to stop and try something else. Life is all about these types of choices and trying to enjoy yourself as much as you can.

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Published Jan­u­ary 19th2015
Last updated July 31st2018
Tags education college decision making
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