Aoife Gannon, BBs in Applied Sport with Business

Name: Aoife Gannon

From: Mayo

School: Sacred Heart School, Westport

It has been a dream of mine to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I have dreamt about standing In front of pupils and carefully composing the words that could alter their future choices for the better. Physical Education is so important to me because I believe it’s an art of self-expression and a beautiful environment for growth.

I have a huge interest in sport. I enjoy a wide variety of sports mainly because every sport is so unique to its own techniques, strategies and preparation .When it comes down to individual vs team sports they can be very different in regards to how your focus shifts from a one person perspective to multiple perspectives .

I enjoyed athletics from the age of eight right up until eighteen. I competed in the Mayo, Connacht and All Ireland Finals. I loved the high jump. I tried everything from shot putt to long jump to 60m sprints to cross country running! I won several gold medals but I lost a lot more than I won. I believe this was critical for both my mental and physical development. If you win everything in life you will never appreciate the hard work that goes into competing with some of the best athletes in the country .

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was five years old so my parents questioned what sports would be the best suited for diabetes management. Twenty years ago diabetes was looked at so differently and controlled quiet regimentally. It still is difficult to manage but there is a lot more knowledge and scientific research to aid people with type 1 Diabetes and physical activity.

When it came to deciding what to choose for my CAO, I struggled. I loved sport, photography, farming, gardening and food. Our career guidance counsellor got us to complete surveys and questionnaires to help identify what type of a person we were and what career we were suited to. My options were surrounding horticulture, nursing and a caring person with creative mindset who’s driven and seeks a challenge .

I wanted to combine my love of sport with my creative mindset so I looked into Physical Education teaching and sports courses in Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Tralee and Cork. I wasn’t very hopeful because I’m not the strongest student academically – I’m a standard C, D student who’d be lucky to get a B. I simply believe in hard work and never giving up. I found the leaving cert to be one of the hardest years ever. I had hopes and dreams and I had a feeling I would never get the 530 points for my first option. I applied to the DARE scheme and that helped me out. I had a lot of broad options down on my CAO and I applied for Applied Sport with Business as my third option at Level 7. When the result came out I didn’t get my first or second choice but I got my third choice on the list. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to start my journey. I felt privileged to be given the opportunity to study at IT Sligo. I immediately looked at the facilities that were on offer and there were numerous sports clubs and societies. I was so excited to join and all this was on my doorstep!

The lecturers were absolutely amazing. Extremely supportive and always willing to help out with extra information and useful links. I loved the balance between practical learning and theory. There was such a good link between what we learnt in a theory class to what we applied in the practical classes, work placement and thesis. You gain so many extra qualifications that look great on your CV too. I received my lifeguarding award, personal training award and many others including swim teaching, GAA, rugby, basketball and of course my favourite – athletics!

For students interested in studying this degree, there are so many job opportunities in this sector. The leisure industry is broad and people will always need to be motivated and come to you for help. The course provides you with skills to be employed in multiple sporting environments, whether that is coaching, lifeguarding, personal training and so much more. You also can work in so many parts of the business sector too. That is the beauty of this degree – both business and sport!

I loved the all the modules on the course but my favourites would have been sports pedagogy, dance and health promotion. I also loved marketing and our kinesiology module. I did struggle a bit with accounting and macro economics in fourth year but the support I needed was there and I got through it and grew from it.

Alongside the sports and business skill, I also developed lots of other skills. Confidence – that was the most important part for me. I developed communication skills, IT skills, teamwork skills, creative skills and so much more.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to get accepted to the PME (Professional Masters in Education). It was a long waiting process. We had to write an entry piece about why we wanted to study the PME and we had three follow up interviews and a short assignment. There was a limited amount of places for students and it had to be narrowed down from 100 students to 12. I was so shocked when I found out on the 23rd of May!

I loved my time in IT Sligo. The clubs and societies were amazing. IT Sligo created an environment full of sporting activities that allowed me to express myself. I made so many lovely friends through swimming, basketball, tag rugby, badminton, athletics and spinning that I am still in contact with .

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Avail of the medical services, career services and student supports. I went through a lot of personal issues during my time studying. I am going to write this in big capital letters and it is – AVAIL OF COUNCELLING SERVICES. Talk it out with lecturers, people you trust and confide in. The supports are there so use them!

Right now I can’t wait to get started on my next journey this September!

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