A-level results 2016: What our bright young things hope to achieve in the future
Exam special: Allan Preston, Donna Deeney and Ann W Schmidt talk to teenagers about their plans and hopes after the drama of A-level results day.
Anna Wiley (18) Two A*s and a B, Victoria College, Belfast
I got an offer for St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, where I’ll study French and Spanish.
Languages are really not big at many schools in Northern Ireland at all, and the numbers are small.
But for me it’s more of a passion than anything else. It’s more than a subject for me, so I always knew I wanted to do it and I wanted to strive to do the best I could and it just paid off.
I really like the sort of vocal aspect, the spoken aspect of it, and just communicating with others. I just really enjoy speaking French and Spanish, and the literature side of it is great as well.
I honestly don’t know what career I’d like to do yet, but I do know I’d love to work abroad.
As part of the course there you do a year abroad in France or Spain or anywhere, and I think if I really enjoy that I would really consider using my languages in France or Spain in the future.
I prefer French, but that might change.
I’m really the only one who’s chosen the languages route among my friends — there are some in medicine, some in maths, and some in physiotherapy, things like that... so it’s different.
My French teacher, I had her in first year. I’ve known her since I was about eight years old because she took us in the preparatory department.
She really just instilled this love of French and languages in me.
Ryan Scorer (18) Three A*s and an A, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
I got accepted to study maths at Dartmouth. maths is something I’ve always enjoyed and then my maths teacher last year, Mr Douglas, really inspired me to take it on.
He always said that good mathematicians ask ‘why’, and he was just an inspiration for me. It’s more than just working through maths problems, I like thinking and asking why, as Mr Douglas inspired me to do.
Jack Irvine (18) Four A*s, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
It was a great surprise. I’m just sort of really pleased all the hard work’s paid off. I’ve been accepted to study engineering at Cambridge. It was a big, big step up from previous years, from GCSEs, and that was a lot more taxing.
From talking to other students it sounds like a great university and it sounds like great fun and I’m just really excited now.
Omar Belkessam (18) Two A*s and an A, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did. I’m just surprised and pleased.
It was a later date this year as well, so my anticipation levels were through the roof.
I’ve been accepted to study English literature at Queen’s University. I haven’t decided on a career yet but this
degree is something I’m interested in.
Tara Fry. A*, two As and a B, Victoria College, Belfast
I loved maths from a young age. I know it’s always a bit nerdy to say you love maths but I do love maths, and I think it’s very important to keep women in STEM subjects. There’s a great need for women in all the science and technology subjects, and I don’t think a lot of people know that. I’m going to pick between biological sciences at Liverpool or medicine at Trinity.
Lucy Brown (18) three As, St Dominic’s Grammar, Belfast
I’m so excited, just so buzzing. I just can’t even describe it really.
I’m going to Queen’s to study English and history. I’m not sure what job I want to go into, but I am really passionate about English and history.
I just decided to do something that I love and I think you’re going to do so much better if you love the subject.
So why not pursue it at university?
Blanaid Kearney (18) Two A*s, one A and a B, St Dominic’s Grammar, Belfast
I’ve been accepted to Trinity in Dublin to study law. Within our school we were given so many opportunities to have a chance at doing stuff related to law, like the mock magistrates and the mock bar.
From watching A Few Good Men to all the lawyer movies, I’ve just always known that that’s what I want to do and I’m glad I’ll get the chance to do it.
Rachel Brady (18) A and two Bs, St Dominic’s Grammar, Belfast
I did arty subjects like music — singing and piano — drama and media. Doing those kinds of subjects has really brought out my confidence and I’ve got loads of friends now from it. The STEM subjects weren’t really for me.
I’ll be able to further that in Queen’s where I’ll study music. There’s loads of us going there so I’ll feel right at home.
Jessica Sutton (18) Two A*s and an A, Victoria College, Belfast
I’ve been accepted to King’s College London to study midwifery. I went on a placement in Tanzania last year with Gap Medics and it really opened my eyes to it. That’s what made me decide that that was definitely where I wanted to be.
I definitely wouldn’t call maths a fun subject, but there’s lots of jobs. You can basically do anything.
Omar Helmy (18) Four A*s, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
I was really pleased when I got my results and the whole thing just hasn’t really set in yet for me. I really am chuffed on how exciting it’s going to be next year.
I’ve been accepted to study Medicine at Cambridge which I know will be a long and hard road, but also hopefully enjoyable. I just think it’s a very attractive career. You get to help people throughout your whole life which I think would be something that’s very fulfilling.
Dylan Braithwaite (18) Three A*s and an A, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
They were the results I needed to make my first offer. So I was hoping for them but I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d make it or not.
I got accepted to study computer science at Cambridge and I’ve been wanting to go there for quite a few years now.
I think that I’d quite like to go into research. I do find theoretical aspects of computer science far more interesting. So I see myself going down the road of academia or something.
Stuart McCaughan (18) Three A*s, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
It was amazing. I didn’t expect it. I needed an A* and two As and I thought I was going to just about get that. Seeing that I got three A*s was actually so good.
I’ve been accepted to study Veterinary Medicine at Glasgow University. I worked so hard last year at the four subjects and then dropped to three, and even three was hard, but it has paid off.
That’s what they say — hard work pays off.
Jacob Baird (18) A* and two As, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
I’m taking a gap year and I’m going travelling. I’m going to Nepal in January for eight months to go and teach in the Himalayas. All very exciting.
I’m not entirely sure just what to apply for next year. I’ve a few decisions to make over the next few days but I’ve kept all doors open.
I haven’t been to Nepal and I don’t speak a word of Nepali so I’ve a lot to do in the next few months.
Elizabeth Brush (18) A* and two As, Victoria College, Belfast
I’ve been accepted to Queen’s to study business management.
With a course like that you could go into accountancy, human resources, anything like that.
I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to do so I think that’s a good course for me because it’s really broad and I can pick exactly what I want to do when I study further. I feel over the moon. I’m so happy.
Eve Wilson (18) Three As, Victoria College, Belfast
I’ve been accepted to study medicine at Edinburgh University. I like science because of the way it’s problem solving and there’s a correct answer you can get. I don’t like writing essays.
At Victoria College, STEM subjects are a big emphasis for us, because it’s being promoted a lot more, you know you can get a career out of it and also it’s so interesting.
Rory Walsh (18) Two A*s and an A, Royal Belfast Academical Institution
I’m pretty relieved. I’m going to study maths at Durham University and I got higher than the offer I needed, so I’m happy enough with that.
I’ve just always liked maths and had an interest in it from a young age.
I’ve got something in mind for my future career, but I’m not certain, so I’ll just see where it all takes me.
Aoife McCallion (18) A, A, B, St Cecilia’s College, Londonderry
I needed an A and two Bs so this is better than I had hoped. I am going off now to study business information technology at Queen’s.
I don’t have a long-term career path planned at the moment, but I do know I want to do something in business.
I started by studying business from GCSE level and I really loved learning all about it right from then.
Ciara O’Neill (19) A, A, B, St Cecilia’s College, Londonderry
I am going to Queen’s to do pharmacy and am delighted I have been accepted. I am a bit nervous about it, but I think it will be good. Moving away from home and having to make my own dinner is a bit of a worry, but I’ll manage. I didn’t really think too much about the fees because Queen’s is cheaper than going over the water, but you do have to pay it back.
Megan McGarvey (18) C, C, E, St Cecilia’s College, Londonderry
I didn’t get the results I wanted, but with the 60 additional Ucas points I got through the Ulster University scheme I still might have enough to do nursing in Magee. I’m not too disappointed because I had this year to do voluntary work at the hospital, which will be beneficial to me, too. I have options. If I want to come back and resit exams I can, so I’m not stressing about it.
Emma O’Hare (19) Four A*s, Thornhill College, Londonderry
I didn’t think I would get an A* in all four subjects, so I was pleased. I am going to Warwick University to study maths. I looked at all of the top universities available, thinking the better degree will balance out the higher fees. I got the results online at 7am, and my family were sitting around the computer waiting, so they are delighted too. I love maths and there’s lots of careers, such as accountancy.
Daire Lamberton (18) A*, 3As, Thornhill College, Londonderry
I was brought up with Irish, so I did that along with the three science subjects because I want to study medicine, and I got an unconditional offer from Queen’s. It’s a long time studying, but it is the thing I want. I looked at other careers, but kept coming back to it. I’m looking forward to the uni life, but my course is 9am to 5pm, so I don’t know how much uni life I’ll have.
Holly Duddy (18) Three As, Thornhill College, Londonderry
I’m going to the School of Oriental and African Studies in London to study international relations. It looks at countries and how they interact. This is my first time away from home, but my boyfriend is coming with me to study graphic design, so I’ll have someone with me. I’m the youngest and I think my mammy and daddy will get empty nest syndrome.
David Olphert (18) A, B, B, Lisneal College, Londonderry
I was panicking thinking I wasn’t going to get in, but I have been accepted by Ulster University to study biomedical science at Coleraine. I’m excited. I have heard that it’s a hard course, but I’m prepared to work hard. Career-wise, there are six different areas that I could go into, but I like pathology, which is studying blood, and hopefully that’s the area I will end up in.
Emma Mitchell (18) Two A*s and a B, Lisneal College , Londonderry
I’m over the moon. I’ve been accepted at Ulster University in Jordanstown to study marketing. I absolutely loved business studies in school, and marketing was my definitely my favourite aspect of it, so it just seemed to make sense to further my studies in it. I think there are so many good job prospects (with marketing), which was a very important factor for me.
Aaron Jones (18) A*, A, B, Lisneal College, Londonderry
I needed three Bs to get onto my course so I’m really pleased. I definitely put in the effort and worked hard and now I am off to study agriculture technology. It is a Queen’s University course with the first two years in Greenmount, a year out and a final year at Queen’s.
All of my family are dairy farmers, it’s in the blood. In the agriculture sector, there are lots of jobs here but also abroad — England, America and New Zealand.
Emma Connolly (18) A, A,B, St Dominic’s Grammar
I’ll be going to Liverpool to study actuarial science. From when I was starting school in first year it always seemed I had kind of a knack for science subjects, and when I started GCSEs and at A-level it just seemed to click for me.
I’m really proud of myself after all the hard work. Studying science at university will be something completely different for me, but it’ll be something that I’ll really enjoy and that I’m really going to look forward to — the whole uni experience.
Christina O’Boyle (18) Four As, St Dominic’s Grammar
I’ll be going to Edinburgh to study chemistry. Throughout school we would always have been doing STEM workshops and everything, and we’re all sort of turned to go to STEM subjects because for girls there’s loads of opportunities for a career in there. I also happen to really love maths, so this teamed them all together.
To be honest, I’m completely shocked by my grades. I saw them and I couldn’t get over myself, especially after having done four subjects. It always seems to be a bigger ask with that many, but I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable.
Shusma Balaji (18) Three A*, one A, St Dominic’s Grammar
I’ll be going to Cambridge to study engineering. I always liked maths and physics while studying at school and they kind of led me down the road to engineering.
I kept entering engineering competitions while in junior school, so that just led me to apply for it this year, and thankfully I got in.
Engineering is always considered as a male-dominated career, but I really think there needs to be girls to break the stigma and actually go and pursue careers there because there’s nothing about it that girls can’t do.
You just need to keep at it and do everything you can to get there. I honestly didn’t think I was going to get the grades I did, but I’m really happy about getting them.