Ah would ye look! It's the......
When I left school in 1998 [a great year, the Spice Girls were the biggest group in the world] I went to Dundalk IT to study Business Management. I attended about 8 lectures and after 2 months I packed it in. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but I knew it didn’t involve sitting through lectures about the Irish tax system and commuting to Co. Louth every day for the next 3 years!
I had all the intentions in the world to go back to study and of course I didn’t. I’ve done pretty OK on my own without any 3rd level qualifications but I always felt like I was missing out on that particular life experience. It has also been a barrier with some companies I have encountered over the years. If you don’t have 3rd level they don’t want to know. Which considering the amount of halfwits out there with 3rd level qualifications this isn’t an exact science. Common sense and life experience are unfortunately not on any curriculum.
After a rollercoaster few years with redundancy, working in London and Vancouver and having my first novel published I found myself at a stalemate. I spread myself too much and realised I needed to upscale to move forward with my career. I found out through social media [not Intreo] about a Springboard open day in Dublin Castle and decided to attend. In my head Springboard was a new name for FÁS and, if I am honest, was not expecting too much and I certainly wasn’t expecting to find what I did entering Dublin Castle that day - a multitude of prestigious colleges and universities with an array of courses on offer.
Then the doubts started to kick in. Every college representative I spoke to asked me what my degree was in.
“I don’t have one.”
But there was a silver lining. An elusive RPEL [Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning ] application process. The courses which stood out to me were Digital Marketing at NCI and DBS and both explained the process to me. If I have enough prior experience which was relevant to the course content I would be eligible to apply via this application process. I spent a huge amount of time teaching myself about social media and online marketing throughout the process of marketing my novel with my publishers. I had achieved a lot and it was time for my achievements to be validated.
The RPEL form was initially daunting and after a couple of days writing, rewriting and doubting myself every 5 minutes I had completed the application forms and submitted them to both colleges.
Now it was a waiting game. Checking my emails hourly. Biting my nails and then realising I was just chewing and not biting, what was the point?
A week had past and I got an email. Congratulations Brendan!
Then, a second email. Congratulations Brendan!
Shut the front door.
After careful consideration I accepted the offer from NCI. The first part of the process of becoming a mature student was complete but by Jaysus there was a lot ahead of me.