Séamus Bannon, BA (Hons) in Sociology and Politics
Name: Séamus Bannon
School: Sligo Grammar School
In 2017, at the age of 31, I decided to return to education. I was recently married, and we had just had our first child. I had spent the previous 10+ years working in various jobs from retail to the probation service, but I knew to have the best possible career for me and my family, I needed to improve on my qualifications. I ended up studying Sociology and Politics because it was clear from the course outline that it would give me a great opportunity to be proactive in an area of study that I am interested in.
There were two aspects of the course which stood out the most. Firstly, the lecturers. Their interaction with the students, their willingness to create a fun learning environment, their understanding of my specific circumstances being a father of two baby girls and their expertise in our fields of study are just some of the areas worth highlighting. The second was the politics placement in year two. This was a unique opportunity to step into the middle of the political world in which we had been studying. I took it upon myself to make the most of this opportunity and ended up completing my placement at the European Parliament in Brussels.
I cannot state highly enough that the opportunity to be proactive is huge when studying this course. It is not just about sitting in a lecture hall and taking in information. If there is willingness to do more then the opportunity is there. I ran a mental health campaign which gained nationwide media attention and gave me the opportunity to speak on national radio. I also ran a political event to encourage the student body to vote in the upcoming elections.
Some of the modules gave us the opportunity to learn in a unique way. These modules facilitated simulation as a style of learning. In one module each student represented a member of European body, be it a political figure or a non-Governmental Organisation and we debated a current important topic. These were my favorite modules as again it gave us an opportunity to learn in a fun way.
Communication and networking are skills I greatly improved upon while studying at IT Sligo. This led to me having the ability to run the abovementioned campaigns. I also know they will be a major benefit as I progress further in my education and career.
We have just moved to the United States and bought our first home (The video above was recorded when I was in second year!) The aim now is to continue with my postgraduate studies. The dream is to complete my PhD by my 40th birthday and the goal is to have a career in higher education. Right now, I have been offered a place on two postgraduate programs. One at Trinity College and one at the University of Limerick. Whichever I choose, will be the next step towards me reaching my goal.
To any students thinking about studying Sociology and Politics, be as proactive as possible! The expert lecturers, the facilities and the opportunities are there, you just need to have the willingness and desire to make the most of your time. I was able to accomplish so much even though I had many sleepless nights with two newborns, while also facing difficult health challenges. You have an amazing opportunity to spend the next three or four years of your life learning in a top-class environment, therefore, again, make the most of it!
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