Michael Patton, BBs in Applied Sport with Business

Name: Michael Patton

From: Donegal

School: St. Eunans College, Letterkenny

I am very passionate about sport and general fitness. I picked the Applied Sport with Business degree due to the number of practical modules and activities that were incorporated. Before attending ATU Sligo, I played a lot of sport with my local GAA club and with my secondary school, both soccer and GAA.

I started the course in 2015 and graduated with a Level 7 Degree in 2018. The job I had at the time, which was working in a leisure centre, offered me full time hours which I accepted as I enjoyed the work of a leisure centre attendant. After two years working, being out of college and talking with some close friends and family, I decided I wanted to pursue a career of being a PE teacher. This was not possible without going back to Sligo to complete my Level 8 degree to be eligible for a master’s degree.

Over the first three years of the course, I really enjoyed the practical elements. Personally, I enjoy being outdoors, exploring and being active, which is what we participated in with outdoor adventures and team sports activities. Whether that was based with field sports or track sports, it was really enjoyable.

The past year was difficult for both students and lecturers. However, the help and understanding of the lecturers with project work or any online exams that were coming up was amazing. They were very supportive and spared time to help us with any problems we had. We probably had more questions than usual with how things were this year!

With so much practical elements to the course, you can create some great memories with the adventures you go on and with the people you are with. The practical elements of the course have definitely created some amazing memories for me. I am still good friends with a lot of my classmates. A lot of other business courses may involve being in class for the majority of the three or four years, but the Sport with Business course has a good mix of both subjects. You get lots of practical elements which is great.

Some of the modules that I enjoyed studying were Financial Accounting, Lifesaving/Swim Teacher, Outdoor Recreation and the Capstone Project. When I was younger I completed all my certificates in swimming so I really enjoyed the lifesaving and swim teacher modules. Outdoor Recreation involved adventures and exploring different parts of the Sligo Wild Atlantic Way. Finally, my own personal module that I completed was the Capstone Project. This was a project I worked on by myself on a topic of my choice that I wished to explore in more depth. This involved a lot of extra research but I found the journey enjoyable and very rewarding.

Advice I would give a first year starting this course would be to make sure you enjoy it and relish the moments that present themselves – such as the practical elements and the interaction with the lecturers that are involved in the course. All the lecturers are more than helpful and want you to do your best throughout the course. The time flies by very quick. Enjoy the process whether it is through practical modules or in class work.

I have been involved in my local GAA club since I was 12 years old. I now play on the senior team within my local club St. Mary’s Convoy in Donegal. Over the past four years we have been successful in getting two League promotions and winning a Championship. I have also coached at an underage level for the past four years starting at Under 12’s and now at Under 15’s. This is something I always had a passion to do, to help progress the younger generation within our parish to be the best they can be and hopefully stay with them on their journey of getting to the senior ranks. I have had the same players for the past four years which has strengthened the bond between myself as a manager and the young players that have the same passion of playing when I was their age. I enjoy being part of their progression and seeing the advancements they make year after year which is hugely rewarding.

At the moment I work at the Clanree Hotel Leisure Centre in Letterkenny. I have worked here for the past five years and I enjoy the role of a leisure centre assistant. I have the responsibilities of looking after a gym and swimming pool. I enjoy being able to help people use gym equipment properly and answer questions on how they can use exercise or the pool to improve their muscles and joints.

The two years I took out of college gave me time to work full time and think about what I wanted to achieve in the long term. When the pandemic started affecting business’ in March of 2020, it was probably the best thing that happened to me. It made me think and ask myself questions on how I want my career to go and what was I doing to get there. That is when I decided to go back to IT Sligo and then look to apply to the Professional Masters of Education in Limerick or go across the water to England to train to be a teacher.

I can now say that I have been offered a place from the University of Limerick on a Professional Masters of Education course which I have accepted. This is my plans for the next two years and all going well I will graduate as a PE teacher in 2023. This is a huge achievement for me, as being a teacher is something I have dreamt about for quite a while. I can’t wait to get started in September and look forward to where my teaching career takes me in the future!

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