Student Profile_Barry O'Reilly
BA, MA, PhD Candidate
How did you come to be a UCC mature student?
After being made redundant in 2011, I had some serious thinking to do about my future. I wasn't involved in any sports and was looking at long, empty days. I don’t know where the idea of going to university came from, but for some reason I began to investigate the possibility.
Coming to University was not an option for me when I left school, and when the opportunity arose in 2012 I’m glad I made the decision to study at UCC. It was one of my better decisions in life.
Why did you choose an Arts degree?
I decided to go for an Arts Degree as it was wide-ranging; I had liked English at school and had always had an interest in Politics. Monday, September 24th 2012 was a lovely, sunny day when I walked through the gates of UCC for the very first time as a fully-fledged student and I was as nervous as anything.
It was a very surreal experience mixing with the fresh-faced teenagers, who made up about 95% of my classmates. The following Monday was October 1st and it was the day I officially became an old age pensioner; it was also the day that we got our first assignment for Sociology.
What kind of support was important to you?
I must commend the staff in the UCC Mature Student Office for their help in getting me through and I went on to graduate with a first class honours BA in English and Sociology in 2015. I continued on and completed my MA in Criminology in 2016 and I am now pursuing a PhD in Criminology.
Because of the positive experiences I’ve had in UCC I try to give something back, so I was particularly delighted when JP Quinn, Head of UCC Visitors' Centre, asked me to join his staff as it affords me the opportunity to engage with any tourists who visit our wonderful campus.