connect 2018 • 32 DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY (DCU) meet aaron STUDIES: BUSINESS — THIRD YEAR "Where I live most people just end up getting into trouble. Going to college is not a way of life. I never really had any pressure on me to go to school. When you're seventeen you think you're funny when you're being bold. I came here to DCU and it was the same thing. I was failing all my exams in the first year but I started working with Cathy, from the Access Programme, and she got me a place on campus. I always knew I was better than this so I started investing a lot of my time in college. My grades began to go up. I worked hard and the Access Programme pushed me. Some people in college if they struggle, they talk to their mother or their father but I have no one to talk to. The Access Programme has become my support. If it wasn’t for the Access Programme, I'm honestly telling you. I would not be in college." meet cassie STUDIES: ENGLISH AND GEOGRAPHY — FIRST YEAR "In 2017, I became the first person in my family to go to university. I did a Post Leaving Certificate course first and thankfully the Access Programme opened a door to university for me then. Without the Access Programme, I would not be here in DCU today. Neither of my parents finished school themselves, my dad left school at 13 and my mum left school at 15 when she became pregnant with my older brother. I wasn’t really pushed to do well in school but I always loved English and knew that I wanted to be a teacher when I got older. For a few years, I thought college wouldn’t be possible for me but something clicked when I was in fourth year and I decided to work hard to give myself a different future. Where I live, I saw a lot of people doing the opposite and I decided that wasn’t going to be my life and that my best way out was through education. My school was linked with DCU and I got to spend a lot of time on campus taking part in programmes run with DCU’s Access Pro- gramme. It always seemed like a friendlier college. I have absolutely loved my time in DCU so far, my course is great and I love the friends that I have made. The Access Programme has been an amazing support, my Access Officer checks in regularly to make sure everything is going okay and the grant has really helped with the books I need to buy. I need a lot of books for my English modules, they’re not hugely expensive but it can really add up." STUDIES: STUDIES: