Mastering mum

It has been a very long, very tough academic year.  My return to full-time education last year was one of the biggest career decisions I think I have ever made.

I completed my undergraduate, a BSc. Management, in DIT in 1994. I then came to NUI, Galway to complete the postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Practice. I had always planned to return to full time education to complete my masters but I never imagined for one moment that it would take me twenty years to do it.

NUIGalway image 2


Last year I found myself perusing the NUIG postgraduate prospectus, only half thinking about returning to do my masters. Purely on impulse, I went along to one of the universities postgraduate open days. Initially I considered sticking with the business and marketing field and completing my masters in one of those areas. However I spent the last twenty years working in the business arena and having ran a small business through the boom and bust I was looking to do something a little  removed from the profit and loss side of things.

At the open day I came across the Masters in Journalism stand and I spoke to Bernadette O Sullivan, who lecturers on the programme. I was impressed with the content and the really practical aspects of the programme.  Journalism and the  media in general was always something I was really interested in so I decided to apply and see if I was accepted.

Much to my surprise I was accepted onto the programme. However even then the decision to return to full time education was not an easy one. I am a wife, mother of four and I also help my husband with the family business so I knew this decision would not just affect me but would also impact on my entire family.

I have to admit that in the first week of the programme I was totally overwhelmed and felt out of my depth. In fact in a state of blind panic I went to the course director, John Kenny, and told him that, ‘I was not sure I could do it’. But he was just so calm, told me to take a few deep breaths, and not to think too far ahead: “take it one day and one assignment at a time.”

Also in that first week the university notified me that I has been awarded a €1500 scholarship towards my fees so that was a really welcome boost. I still had moments of sheer panic and self-doubt but I enjoyed every second. One of the really rewarding parts of the programme was meeting and working with my class mates. To my surprise and delight I was not the only mature student on the course. My younger class mates were just a joy to be around full of creativity and enthusiasm.

As for my lecturers I found them enormously encouraging, committed and supportive. They were always there with a friendly word of advice. So to anyone reading this and thinking about taking the plunge and returning to full-time education I say: ‘JUST DO IT’. It is never too late and while the first few days and even weeks may well be a little over whelming if you face down your fear it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

It has definitely opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me and I am hooked on learning. I am now, much to my own surprise and my poor families dismay, applying to undertake my PhD.


About Caroline N. Duggan

Probably the best job in the world. Everyday I help millions of people access training and education for free. Passionate about brands and the psychology behind why we love some and loathe others . Part-time lecturer in Marketing Communications. Co founder of Center Jewellers. Wife, Mum, Lifelong Learner. Connecting from the beautiful city of Galway, Ireland.
This entry was posted in Education, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s