Today in Ireland, is CAO Offer day. The day when many young people around the country find out what courses or universities they have been accepted to.
Many will receive the offer they want. Some may not. Others may be confused and unsure if they are choosing the right path.
No matter the outcome, know this – this day does not define your future. Today is just one step in your life’s journey that is full of endless possibilities, detours and stopovers.
Here is my story.
My chosen career path in school was Psychology. I was fascinated by it, and wanted to become a Forensic Psychologist. I applied for Psychology degrees in various universities, hoping to be accepted to the one in University College Cork.
When I got my offers, I not only didn’t get an offer for my preferred college, I didn’t get an offer for ANY Psychology degree at all.
This was a devastating blow. I was smart and worked hard, and in my eyes, at 16 years old (I finished school young), my entire future had been removed from me in that one letter.
I accepted my place onto the Arts degree that I did have an offer for, determined to carve my own path, even if it wasn’t the one I’d planned. I majored in Psychology, did a six month stint in Chicago volunteering with recently released prisoners, and even got to see Obama give a speech the day he was elected in 2008.
I then moved to Dublin, from my hometown in Limerick, thinking that I would pursue my Masters in Psychology and subsequently my PHD, once I’d saved some money.
I began working in digital marketing as a means to pay the bills, never expecting to accidentally find something I was both passionate about, and really good at.
Fast forward ten years, and I am still working in digital marketing! I now have the privilege of working for one of the most prestigious tech companies in the world – in a job I am so incredibly passionate about, and in an industry I never ever would have predicted myself getting into. And I still haven’t done my Masters in Psychology
No matter what happens today, it does not define your future. You do. There is more than one road to success, and many of them haven’t even been built yet.