My Go Further Story
Prior to my first period of study at Queen’s I attended Loreto College, Coleraine for 7 years.
I enrolled at Queens to read Law in September 2005 – an undergraduate degree that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Following my undergraduate degree I gained a place at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at QUB, working as a Trainee Solicitor at Arthur Cox, Northern Ireland for 2 years, qualifying as a Solicitor in 2010. During this time I made the decision to make a change of career – and to pursue a career in Dentistry.
Having had such a great experience at Queen’s during my previous degree I had absolutely no reservations in returning to the university for a further 5 years and enrolled in Dentistry in September 2010.
Where are you now?
I am due to graduate in July 2015 and have secured a job as a Foundation Dentist in a general dental practice near Durham, England – planning to live in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I am looking forward to gaining further experience in my field in a location outside of Northern Ireland, as well as experiencing life in a different city!
I intend to pursue further study in the near future – either specialising within Dentistry or consolidating my two undergraduate degrees with a Masters in Medical & Dental Law – whilst continuing to work in dental practice.
How did you get there?
My decision to leave the law was due to my discovering that I required a profession that had a much more practical and ‘hands-on’ element to it than being a Solicitor. Dentistry met this criteria perfectly and I have never regretted making the change.
With regards to Dentistry, there is a prescribed career pathway for a newly qualified dentist. However, there is still a highly competitive National Recruitment interview process to have to navigate.
My time at Queen’s has equipped me with a host of skills – both academic and non-academic – that have enabled me to pursue the goals that I wish to achieve with confidence in my abilities and with a self-assurance that I am as capable as graduates from other UK universities.
These skills were gained both in the lecture theatres, the clinical environment and also in various roles that I took on whilst at university. Queen’s aims to encourage students to become involved in Clubs & Societies and throughout my time at Queen’s I became involved in a number of societies. Such extra-curricular activities allowed me to improve my teamwork skills, ‘people skills’, organisational skills and provide evidence of my dedication and commitment to something other than my academic pursuits – all whilst having fun and making friends.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s
Whilst studying Law I utilised the Careers, Employability and Skills in a number of ways:
- I attended Careers Workshops on subjects such as CV writing & interview preparation
- I was a member of the City Law Trip group visit to London – taking part in visits to and workshops held by a number of City law firms
- I was also a spokesperson for the City Law Trip the year after I had participated in order to encourage others to become involved
- I participated in the Insight into Management programme in 2007
- I had regular contact with Ms Roisin Copeland who was the Career Guidance advisor for the School of Law at that time and was able to utilise her knowledge when I needed help and guidance in any area relating to job applications and career decisions
With Dentistry the contact with the Careers, Employability and Skills has been slightly different:
- Engaging in Careers Workshops aimed at improving employability, developing ‘soft skills’ for dentists, CV writing and encouraging entrepreneurship
- Through my involvement on the Inspiring Leaders Programme, run by the Students Union in conjunction with the William J Clinton Leadership Institute and Careers, Employability and Skills, I was able to take part in workshops that aimed to demonstrated how the leadership skills gained while at University can be translated into our future careers
- Interview Preparation Sessions held by Ms Diane Masson – learning the various skills needed to improve interview techniques as well as invaluable mock interview sessions
Advice for current Queen's students
Seize every opportunity offered to you whilst at Queen’s – now is the time to gain as many skills and experiences as you can, so that you can learn as much about yourself, what you want to achieve and where you want to go in life!
There is a wealth of great programmes, projects and schemes to get involved in, not to mention a Club or Society within the university for everyone - become a member, take on a role of responsibility – gain skills whilst having fun!
And never be afraid to re-evaluate where you are going in life, if you aren’t happy or fulfilled – make a change! You have that ability and it is never too late!
Find out how you can Go Further