A Masters is an intellectual challenge for any student, and for Michael Punch, completing the MA in Applied Spirituality was a chance to demonstrate his resilience following an acquired brain injury
Former UCD sociology lecturer Michael Punch had previously completed a PhD and BA from TCD and graduated from WIT with a MA in Applied Spirituality in 2019.
My motivation for doing the MA programme was:
Personal development. I had suffered an acquired brain injury in a road-traffic accident prior to taking on the MA. This accident was a devastating experience, as I had been at the time working as a university lecturer in UCD. My brain was my toolkit so to speak.
The MA in WIT was an opportunity to get back on my feet following this dreadful moment of bad luck. It gave me the chance to demonstrate to myself and to the wider world that I wasn't finished yet, contrary to the gloomy assessments of the medics, who doubted whether I would be able to live independently again, let alone complete an advanced academic degree
I owe much to Michael O’Sullivan, who first encouraged me to give this a go at a time when I was just out of rehab and living temporarily in All Hallows College while works were being done to make my own place accessible and safe for someone with disabilities. This fact was part of the journey: doing the MA was one step in getting my life back together after a devastating accident, which ended my professional career as a Sociology lecturer. The accident left me with a brain injury, the worst possible damage for someone in an intellectual job, as I was...I am very thankful to the various interviewees, who entered so whole-heartedly into discussions of spirituality; it is not the most everyday of questions, but nobody blinked! I am grateful to my fellow students; it was a joy to be part of the family – we were united as “explorers into mystery.”
My advice for adult learners considering this programme at the moment is:
Why I would recommend studying in Waterford/WIT:
This is a fine institution. These are good people, everyone matters.