Returning to Higher Education as a Mature Student - Clare Browne

Here I am in my final year of BA Accountancy at AIT and what an amazing journey it has been.

I qualified as a chef in 2000 after pursuing my dreams and passions. After finishing college I was working in a prestige castle in the west of Ireland as a trainee chef and my career was short-lived as I got severe contact dermatitis on my hands. I stayed in the catering industry for twelve years, spent five years in America working as a bar tender and a waitress. I returned to Ireland in 2007 and my last stop before AIT was a restaurant across the road from the college. I thought about going back to college many times as I didn’t want to be earning minimum wage or close to it for the rest of my working life. I honestly didn’t think it was possible as I have kids and other financial commitments. I got talking to many mature students while working in the restaurant and they told me about their journey, how it was possible and how excited they were for their future. This gave me the inspiration and courage to apply for a course here at AIT.

I applied for the Certificate in Business Studies, a 2 year course and was accepted as a first year student in 2014. I met friends quickly in my course and we always helped each other out. I graduated in 2016 with a Cert. in Business Studies, that September I started the ordinary degree in Business Studies and once again I’m graduating this November. All my hard work that I put into the short year of college once again paid off. Every semester we pick an elective of our choice and I chose Accountancy as I got the taste for this in 1st year and really enjoyed it. I’m now in year 3 in BA of Accountancy and this is my final year, unless I decide to do the masters in September of 2018.

I live just 15 minutes outside of Athlone, I’m originally from Donegal, but this is now my home for me and my two kids. I also work one day a week and it can be overwhelming at times but its possible.

What I like the most about my course is that it’s interesting, challenging and I’m learning a new skill. I know that if I put the work in now there will be a job for me when I graduate in 2018. The lecturers here are so approachable and helpful. What’s also great about studying here at AIT is there is extra tutorial classes that are optional to attend but excellent if there is a topic in your subject that you are struggling with.

The gym at the AIT is top class, this is where I leave all my stress of college three times a week. I was a keen outdoor runner when I started at the AIT but now I love the gym.

AIT has such great facilities that make your time here at a fantastic one. The college feels like a small town, we have a coffee shop, a bank, doctors, counseling
service’s, a canteen and a chapel. The guys at the Student Union are great and always there to help the students.

In 2018 when I graduate I hope to be hired as a trainee graduate in an Accountancy firm in Athlone or its surrounding areas and become a qualified Accountant.

I’m so excited for my future and proud to be a student at AIT.

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