Read time 03 mins

Not a normal college experience

When Katy decided to apply for college, to be the first from her family, she never anticipated the costs involved. Not just financially but emotionally as well. It was not long before she wanted to drop out. But thanks to you, and your support of St. Vincent de Paul, you were there to help her through.

Katy is a nineteen-year-old student who was born in a non-EU country. Her mother moved to Ireland ten years ago and works as a carer for elderly people. Katy started school in Ireland halfway through fifth class of primary school. She sees Ireland as her home now.

With the points she achieved in her Leaving Certificate, Katy got her third choice for college. This meant she had to move to a different county for her college course. Because she is a citizen of a non-EU country, Katy is not eligible for free fees or the third level maintenance grant.

Katy started college with the same optimism as all first-year students. But it soon became clear her family could not afford the fees or to pay for her accommodation. Not wanting to be a burden on them, she decided to drop out.

However, her college intervened and decided to help with the fees. They also put the family in touch with St. Vincent de Paul. Volunteers visited Katy and her mother at home. They decided it was in the best long-term interests of the family if Katy could stay in college. Because donors, such as you, give SVP the flexibility to help as its needed, the volunteers could help Katy with some of her fees and her rent. Without this support, Katy would not be in college.

Katy now travels home each Friday to work for a few hours as a carer for an elderly person. For this, she earns €40. From the €40, she uses €20 for the bus home at the weekends. At home, her mother cooks five days’ worth of food for Katy to bring with her to her rented accommodation. This is the cheapest option for the family to sustain her for the week.

Katy’s experience of college life is not a normal one. She does not have the money for activities like sports clubs, lunches out or socialising with the other students. She spends a lot of time in her room watching TV and studying when it is exam time. This makes it hard to make friendships, and she misses her family and home during the week.

To be honest, I have not really enjoyed college like I thought I would. It can be quite lonely during the week. I avoid going out with my classmates because I can’t afford to, and I don’t want them to know this. But I’m determined to complete the course and get a good job, so I can help my family. I would advise any other young people in my situation to do the same. College, and education, is the only way to a better life.”

Our volunteers often visit people, like Katy, who have fallen through the cracks in our society. Through your kind donations, it is your hand that lifts them back up. Lifts them to a place where they can support themselves. Thank you for reaching out when they had no-one else.

Please consider a gift today and help ensure people like Katy receive the support they need. Thank you.

Based on a true story from a family helped by SVP. Names and some details have been changed for confidentiality.

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