A supportive and sociable environment with friendly staff as well as the campus size of WIT were important to Lorraine
Lorraine Conneely is from Maynooth, Co Kildare. She is currently studying a BA (Hons) in Health Promotion and commencing her 4th and final year in September 2020.
Before starting in Waterford Institute of Technology, Lorraine took a year out after my Leaving cert and gained experience working in hospitality. She went on to study Sports Therapy in Crumlin College of Further Education for two years before taking the leap to move to the south east.
What attracted you to study at Waterford Institute of Technology?
The main thing that attracted me to Waterford Institute of Technology was the campus size, as well as the people. I decided to take a trip down to Waterford to see the college and I was struck by the friendliness of the staff. They were so accommodating, and I felt like I could ask them anything. Which is something that is very important to me – to have a supportive and sociable environment.
I also wanted the opportunity to go out on my own. To move out, take on new responsibilities and to make new friends. For me, Waterford was the right choice. The city is small, making it easily accessible. It offers plenty of things for students to do. Not to mention, the cost of living is a lot more economical for students in comparison to Dublin.
Did you always know this was the course you wanted to do?
After completing my Leaving Certificate. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I decided to accept a college offer in Dublin. However, I instantly felt out of my depth as the lecture sizes were quite large and I often felt overwhelmed. After taking a year out and going on to complete a two-year course in Sports Therapy, I knew I wanted to work with others and support individuals to improve their health. From viewing the college website and reading about Health Promotion, I realised it was the next step to further my education and I’m so happy that I did. The course has exceeded my expectations of what I initially thought it would be like. It explores all areas of health and well-being and provides students with both practical and theory work which allows students to learn new skills which can be applied to various different sectors and jobs. The smaller class sizes and the approachability of lecturers makes the course a lot more enjoyable.
Why did you choose the FE progression route into WIT?
Whilst studying Sports Therapy in Crumlin College of Further Education, the guidance counsellor suggested that I looked into Exercise & Health Science. However, it was the modules involved with Health Promotion that caught my interest.
What words of advice do you have for new students?
Don’t be afraid to say yes. Throughout the course you will be given endless opportunities to get involved with various different projects and events. My main words of advice would be to put yourself forward. Try something new. One thing I’ve learned so far from my WIT experience is that you get what you put in. By allowing yourself to explore these different avenues it can open doors for future employment and enable you to gain a better understanding of what you would like to do post undergrad.
What have been the highlights of your college experience?
My college experience has been nothing but positive. During my third-year placement I had the opportunity to work as part of a research team for the Irish Men’s Sheds Association. The experience allowed me to apply theory into practice and see first-hand how health can be promoted in a particular setting. My involvement with the Shed’s for Life programme provided me with new skills and a clearer understanding of research, an area which I initially thought was very intimidating. My placement experience increased my confidence and led me to apply for the Health Research Board (HRB) undergraduate Student Research Summer Scholarship, which I am delighted to be undertaking this coming summer. This opportunity will allow me to complete my own short research project, and further my understanding of research and the relevant techniques needed to undertake a project.
What added to your college experience?
One aspect of attending WIT which has added to my college experience is the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences Honours list, which acknowledges students’ academic achievements. The Honours list provides students with motivation to do well in their assessments and exams.
The Peer2Peer mentoring programme is also very rewarding. When I first started in Waterford, my mentor helped me find my feet and advised me on various different issues I was having throughout the year, including finding accommodation. The programme had such a positive impact on me that I became a mentor the following year and helped incoming first years with any problems they were having, even if it was showing them where a certain classroom was.
Anything you'd like to add
Enjoy every minute. The years truly fly by!