Irish Traveller Martin Doherty "determined" to become a lawyer

31 January 2018
Martin Doherty
Strong willed, high achiever Martin Doherty is not one to follow the crowd. Here he tells Travellers' Times about his experiences in education, overcoming peer pressure and his determination to succeed in the field of law to advocate for Traveller rights.  
I’m 17 years old and I am an Irish Traveller. I live in Lisburn in Northern Ireland but was born in Craigavon and have been attending school my whole life.........writes Martin Doherty.
I have been to a 6 different primary schools and 3 secondary schools and along the way I received a lot of bullying from other Travellers, I never let this deter me and believe that education is extremely important, I believe that speaks a great deal about my own character in showing an extreme amount of determination and passion to achieve in education.
There was one instance in particular that stands out. A group of my friends and I were outside one day and the topic of me still going to school came up and each of them started to hurl an onslaught of name calling.They each had they're own words but the general consensus was simply that in going to school I was somehow ruining my life.
They called me a country boy and said I should be out working with my hands. I never paid to much heed to them on they're own but in a crowd it was a bit harder to block out. To get over this wasn't  difficult I don't place much power in the words of those uneducated in such matters.They knew as much of what they were talking about to me as I do about the intricacies of rocket science.
While they are allowed to have their own opinions I simply understood that my opinion was based on logical arguments and facts where as their's was based on their initial gut instinct and detest of school itself.Some undoubtedly never managed to come to that conclusion at all as it was thrust upon them by their parents.
My only advice is to keep your head down and really think about what you want out of life because honestly if you don't want to attend school you will find things much harder later in life.To other people who might be going through a similar situation to what I did I can only recommend what I have found  useful, however other people tend to take such things to heart a lot faster than me.
Then the only thing left for you to do is forget about the people who are wrong in thinking that their opinions are law and that what they say has to have any sort of power over your actions. What if you woke up years from now and thought to yourself what if I stayed in school? you'd be much more disappointed than waking up the same day having completed a degree in whatever field interests you.
What If you woke up years from now and thought to yourself what if I stayed in school?
I had originally hoped that I could become a Doctor but have since changed this plan and am instead applying for law, a course for which I have already received two conditional offers for from Queens and Ulster universities.This course speaks to me more as my argumentative and competitive nature would seemingly flourish under such conditions as provided by this course.
To date I have completed my GCSEs and completed AS level. At GCSE I earned all A’s and B’s in 11 of them.As of late I have spent quite a fair amount of time studying for my A levels which I will be completing in May and June with predicted scores of AAB.
I have been very fortunate in that I managed to secure many weeks work experience at a law firm, during which I acted as a secretary but also spent days shadowing and falling in love with the profession.I gained more and more respect for it and it’s practitioners, my time there helped me learn some very valuable lessons about the field and what to expect should I become a lawyer myself.
Law in itself seems like an interesting challenge that I cannot wait to get stuck into.I have also spoken in front of a group of other Travellers, Sure start and early years this experience while a little nerve racking at first helped with my confidence when speaking in front of crowds.
I have attended a medical symposium which was held in Daisy Hill hospital, shadowed a doctor and spent time at ID CAMHS, all of this I have been very lucky in being able to take part in. I am very grateful for the opportunities not only to take part in these events but also the opportunities that taking part in these events have brought to me.
Travellers' Times wishes Martin the best of luck for his future!