My name is Emily. I studied Midwifery in UCD and have just started in a new role with the Wealth Advice and Distribution team in Bank of Ireland (I do not know how that makes sense either!).
I think it was third year when I realised that midwifery was not the career for me. I always had doubts, but I listened to everyone around me, promising that I would like it when I knew more, or when I was on placement, etc. This is the first lesson I learned – listen to your gut instinct! I went to my student advisor to discuss my options. If I dropped out, I would receive a level 6 or 7 (I cannot even remember) in Health Sciences. I knew this would not allow me to go on to do much with regards to further study.
I weighed up my options and concluded that the most sensible option was to continue with the course. It pained me to admit it, but I made the decision to knuckle down and get through it. I wrote out a countdown at the back of one of my notepads, and would put an X through the shift afterwards, and honestly I feel like that visual tool helped me to realise I was getting through it.
I cannot describe the relief I felt when it was all behind me. I decided to return to retail, where I had worked part-time during college, because I really enjoyed it. I went traveling for a short time and returned to retail. However, I realised that working weekends, bank holidays, late evenings, was not something I wanted to do anymore.
I enrolled in an Accounting Technician evening course. Just before I started the evening course, I had applied for anything 9-5 Monday – Friday. About 1 month after starting the evening course, I was successful in applying for the position of Cashier/Welcome Advisor with Bank of Ireland. I was absolutely delighted. It was about halfway through the accounting technician course when I quit. I did not have any interest in it, and I was not good at it. I did not feel guilty, or like a failure as you would expect. It is my life, my time, my money, my decision, and why would I feel bad about that? I was content with my role with Bank of Ireland and I knew there were opportunities within the Group.
I have recently just started a new role with Bank of Ireland which is completely different to my previous role. My new role with the Wealth Advice and Distribution Team involves supporting the advisors who are mobile and also in branch with regards to investments, life assurance and private banking.
I think really what I have learned since college is to think about what suits you, your life, happiness, and personal goals. I have learned to try get as much experience as possible not only in the role you are in, but also in the role you want to be in.
If you see a job online, read what it involves, ask yourself are you interested in it, and how do your skills and experience match what they are looking for. If you think you match 50% of what they are looking for, apply for it. If you do not get the interview, what loss is it? If you get the interview and not the job, you have the experience of the interview and can seek feedback from the hiring manager. I have found that your experience really stands to you in all fields. Use what you have, your experience, and adapt it to the new role you want. Read the job description well, and clearly reflect their wants in your experience on your cover letter and CV.
Given the chance to choose a different undergraduate degree, I still would not know what to pick! You learn something from every experience, and it all stands to you. When you leave college, you have to work for approximately the next 46 years, so make sure it is not something you hate!