Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I was a teenager deciding upon his future. We’re talking six years ago, when I was filling out the CAO form. For those not familiar with the Irish system of education, the CAO is the Central Applications Office, where all college applications happen in a single place. We don’t write letters of application. We don’t appeal to individual colleges. We just fill in a form, pay a small administration fee, do our final exams, and panic until we find out which colleges have offered us a place.

When I was in my final year of school, I wanted to be a teacher. I applied for a place in Mater Dei in Dublin, to study English and Religion (and Education, the oh-so-important piece of the puzzle that would leave me qualified to teach the moment I finished up, rather than having to apply to do a H.Dip.) I got in, four years flew by, yadda-yadda-yadda and boom! Graduation 2013.

And then this sort of thing started happening.

During my four years in Mater Dei, the economy crashed, teaching positions became rarer and more difficult to secure, and reforms to the system were happening that no one actually working in a school was happy about. Basically, it was an awful time to have recently graduated as a teacher.

Foreseeing this difficulty from the moment I finished up, I knew I needed to put off the job search into the education sector for a little while. I applied to do a Masters (just one…) and I was fortunate enough to get in. I’ve finished one semester already, and we’re officially caught up. Kind of.

DCU Sign


Check out that smooth transition.

Right now I’m in a weird place in life. I’m qualified for one job, and I’m training for a new industry altogether. My friends from Mater Dei are spread out around the country, and many have moved abroad to teach. In the meantime, I’m making new friends. I even became class rep.

The person that applied to be a teacher was not all that comfortable talking to strangers. Nor had he ever been to a school without his twin brother. (I didn’t mention that… yeah, I have a twin.) We went to the same play school, primary school, secondary school…and college. But when I started in DCU for my Masters, I was alone.

That was a surprising push in the right direction for me. I needed that space to be myself without first being defined by the fact I look like someone else. Instead, I was able to define myself on my own terms, and I didn’t shamelessly promote myself to my class on the first day. I’ve been slowly leaking information about myself to them that might otherwise seem like bragging, like the fact that I’ve written and published a few books on the Kindle, and the fact that one of them was written and published in a week. See how I left them until this late in the first post on this site? See how much restraint I have?

Once upon a time, I used not have anything like that to talk about. But hey, that’s transition for you.


About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
This entry was posted in Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Once Upon a Time

  1. Jeyna Grace says:

    Keep on writing, Paul!

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