My Uni Life: Seven students with a unique journey to a university education

NUI Galway Doctoral Student Róisín Farragher
Nov 02 2020 Posted: 12:35 GMT

Five-part documentary series by RTÉ and the Irish Universities Association which shines a light on seven university students helping to change the face of higher education including NUI Galway Doctoral Student Róisín Farragher

The Irish Universities Association has partnered with RTÉ to create My Uni Life, a five-part series which follows the lives of seven students at various stages of their university journey. Whether it’s dealing with the challenges of having a disability, the stereotypes associated with socially disadvantaged backgrounds or having the courage to go to university at a later stage in life, these students represent just 7 out of more than 5000 students each year whose desire to succeed at third level education is facilitated and supported by the Access and Disability programmes run by Irish Universities. 

Each student comes from a different background, accessing university through a variety of routes, but with determination that is key to the personal difficulties they have faced.

Filmed over the past 12 months, the series provides a unique and authentic insight into the lives of seven students across the country, as they navigate through personal challenges and the current Covid-19 pandemic while trying to grapple with the move to remote learning.

Speaking about her success in higher education, despite being the first in her family to attend University and having a difficult childhood, Róisín Farragher, a doctoral student at NUI Galway, stated: “I hope that people watching the documentary will feel motivated. I hope that when they watch it, they see me, but do not pity me. Rather they think about pushing themselves further and challenging themselves. I hope people take every opportunity offered to them and never let a horrible or tough childhood or any other challenges stand in their way. I hope they see that they have a right to everything good that comes to them and so they take those opportunities and be grateful.”

Every year approximately 1000 students from underrepresented groups enter NUI Galway.

Commenting on the impact of access schemes at NUI Galway, Imelda Byrne, Head of the Access Centre said: “Our belief is that Access is more than a student’s initial pathway into higher education. For those from traditionally under-represented groups, we believe Access means students having the supports to successfully participate and remain in higher education, to achieve graduation and the opportunity thereafter to progress in their chosen career or to further postgraduate study. As a University we remain committed to diversity and equality of opportunity, to combating educational disadvantage in our region and beyond, and to ensuring university education is for everyone. This documentary shows that NUI Galway supports all students from all backgrounds succeed, irrespective of their circumstances of birth.”

Outlining the role Irish universities play, Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “Irish universities play a crucial and growing role in fostering and enabling social inclusion and mobility. The many access routes the universities support are key to building a long-term inclusive society in Ireland. As a result of the work done by the Access and Disability programmes run by Irish Universities the student body is becoming a more and more diverse group. It is incredibly positive to see that in the 2017/18 academic year 15% of entrants were from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, while almost 10% of new entrants had some form of disability and 6.6% were mature students. But, we have much more to do. It is paramount that we do everything possible to support increased access for all students who need it.”

Beginning on Friday, 6 November, at 7.30pm, the series will run for five weeks across RTÉ One featuring seven different students and their own personal journeys to higher education. The students are: Róisín Farragher from Galway and studying at NUI Galway; Adam Freegrove from Dublin studying at UCD; Cathal Blake from Meath studying at DCU; Alpha Ike from Cavan studying at MU; Courtney McGrath from Cavan studying at TCD; Chrisdina O’Neill from Cork studying at UCC; and Shaun Fogarty from Tipperary studying at UL.

More information on the series can be found on 


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