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Students, get ready for a lifetime of success starting in Dublin

Forget how many points you got in the Leaving Cert – how many euros are in your bank account? Elaine Burke outlines a bright future for students with a Dublin education in mind.

Students, are you ready to embark on an exciting new adventure called the rest of your life? Why not start right here in Dublin, home to eight higher education institutes, more than 100 hotels, thousands of homeless people and an embittered population that sees your imminent arrival as an exacerbation of critical issues.

Points? No, don’t worry about them. The points race has been heavily criticised for subtly rewarding privilege in the past, so this education system has pivoted to an even more explicit approach. Forget how many points you got in the Leaving Cert – how many euros are in your bank account? No really, 600 points and three additional H1 grades to spare just isn’t going to cut it if you can’t pay up, kid.

Sure, you can apply for a grant. That will contribute some of the way towards your accommodation costs so you’ll have somewhere to exist while barely living it up in the nation’s capital.

Books shouldn’t register as a major expense, sure everything is done on computers now. So just make sure you have a brand-new up-to-the-minute laptop kitted out with Microsoft Office and a full year’s subscription to the Adobe Creative Suite for that one group project in first year where you want some slick graphics but realise you don’t have time to do that on top of the rest of your group’s work. Then there’s just a handful of must-have books. Only seven. And most you can pick up for a bargain-basement price of €80, second-hand and coffee-stained. Except the five that had new editions published for 2020. But that’s all.

Yes, probably a good idea to look at part-time job options, especially if you enjoy things like socialising and eating anything other than Weetabix and instant noodles. Don’t worry about being too exhausted to get through your coursework – you’re young and full of beans! If you can really hone your ability to deal with burnout now, it will stand to you in future when you have to deny its existence altogether.

Got any creative skills such as design or coding? Great! You could make a killing doing work for established businesses for free. It looks bad for your bank account but great on your CV! It’s always a good sign to see a potential employee’s tolerance for worker exploitation up front, and working for free now will prepare you for future self-unemployment.

In your near-future as a young professional, newly graduated with a four-year degree and six years’ work experience in a role that didn’t exist three years ago, you’ll be snapped up in no time! Then you can get excited about moving out of your high-priced student accommodation into high-priced co-living apartments with a bonus one-hour commute. By the age of 40 you’ll have spent so much time in communal living that you’ll prize your passive aggressive interactions with cohabitants over any possibility of forming healthy adult relationships in a private space.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The first thing we need to do is get you in the door before you have second thoughts about what lies ahead and start thinking of emigration. No, we’d rather you sink some money into this black hole of an education system first. Then, the world is your oyster!

Updated, 11.27am, 19 August 2019: This article was updated to amend the number of higher education institutes in Dublin.

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