Ulster University helped me achieve my current career success by...
providing me with the opportunity to study on a degree programme with lecturers who inspired me and supported me on my learning journey. Ulster also provided me with an incredible, world renowned PhD supervisor who I continue to learn from to this day.
Activities I was involved in at Ulster to enhance my employability
Working part time during my studies was important to me. My parents instilled in me from an early age the importance of a good work ethic and striving for independence which are both invaluable lessons to learn and live by.
Coaching tennis at Ballymena Tennis Club taught me about being adaptable to working with a range of children's abilities in sport.
Volunteering on committees and organising events were important aspects of my life at university that have made me more employable as they gave me the opportunity to develop my organisational and interpersonal skills.
Placement also was an eye opening experience in terms of working full time in sports development. Belfast City Council provided me with an excellent learning experience and I learnt a lot from my colleagues there organising large scale sports events and funding initiatives.
How placement enhanced my employability
Placement taught me a lot about myself and the world of world. I took great pride in my work on placement and wanted to rise to the challenges set for me. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and exhausted every opportunity to develop my skills.
How study abroad enhanced my employability
I didn't have the opportunity to study abroad but have always enjoyed traveling and seeing how people from other cultures and countries live and work. I think students taking opportunities to work and study abroad makes them stand out on their CVs.
Top 3 most significant steps on my career path so far
- I struggled to pass my A-Level chemistry but I was determined to study hard and get onto the degree I always wanted to do. I graduated top of my year and was the only person to get a first class which proves hard work and determination pay off!
- Graduating with my PhD in the summer of 2009 and getting offered a permanent lecturing job at Ulster starting that September. Getting that phone call is a special memory I share with my mum and sister.
- Becoming the course director for the MSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition programme as it has taught me new skills and enabled me to work with a new set of colleagues on another campus and to work with students in a new capacity.
What would your advice to students be?
There are no shortcuts - you need to get your head down and work hard. No-one is going to hand you a job on graduation day. You control your own destiny so get out there and explore all the amazing opportunities available to you.
Always strive for balance. Prioritise your health and looking after yourself while you pursue excellence in your educational and working commitments. Always ask for help if you struggle with this and only focus on the people around you who support and champion you!