Simona Butkute was a secondary school student in Ó Fiaich College in Dundalk.
A studious academic who achieved 510 CAO points in her Leaving Certificate in 2019, Simona was offered her first choice on her CAO application form, however she was unsure if this was the career path she wanted to follow.
After some research, Simona took the brave decision to embark on a PLC course in Pre-Nursing Studies in Ó Fiaich Institute.
This one year course would give her the experience and knowledge to make an informed decision about her career choice. She got an insight into the practical elements of nursing as well as on the job training with her work experience module. This decision to enroll on a PLC course became invaluable to Simona. By the end of the year, Simona knew that a career in Nursing was not for her.
“During my leaving cert year I had to make a decision on what course I wanted to do. I looked through the courses daily and I couldn't make up my mind. None of the courses stood out.
“I decided to focus on medicine as I had some interest in it, but I was still searching for other options along the way. I am a very creative person, therefore, architecture caught my eye. Both courses had pluses and minuses and I still couldn't decide which one was the right choice for me.”
She adds: “I have heard that you have to be devoted and excited to do medicine. It takes a lot of years and if you're not into it, you will not be happy. I did not want to get into medicine not knowing for sure that I'm suited for it. I also did not want to not try medicine and wonder or regret for the rest of my life if I made a bad choice.
“This led me into choosing to do a PLC Pre-Nursing course and get to know the environment of doctors. This course was a great experience. The lessons were interesting and the assignments were challenging, but I was mostly looking forward for the work placement as I knew it would help a lot with deciding the future.
“I really enjoyed my work placement, I got to see and experience a lot. However, it made me realise that I do not see myself working there for a long time. I was content as I now knew for sure that I can cross medicine out of my future. It was such a relief.
“I also had a lot of time for research and travelling to different colleges like Trinity to explore other courses. This is when I found engineering. It is all about maths and being creative. Two things that I really enjoy. Therefore, I am hoping to get into engineering in Trinity College.”
Simona was successful in securing her place to study Engineering in Trinity College 2020. Her experience highlights the importance of PLC courses as a stepping stone to higher education. It is also great to see more females enter the Engineering profession.