Name: Caoimhe Maher
Current Education Course: MSc Work and Organisational Psychology
Previous Course Studied: BA Psychology and Sociology
Work: An Post
Caoimhe on – going back to postgraduate study:
I chose to do a masters in order to enhance my employability. In the world of psychology, there is very little work available with an undergraduate degree, so I knew I would have to go back to college again. I wanted to go straight into the masters from my undergraduate, as I felt it would be very difficult for me to come back to the workload if I had taken some time out. I did a lot of research on the different types that I could branch into, and was looking for something that I felt was very practical, and perhaps not as research based as other branches of psychology. I attended a postgraduate research fair in UL, where I spoke to someone from the careers department. They suggested I look at the opportunities available within the Kemmy Business School, and from there I found the MSc Work and Organisational Psychology. I was delighted that this course was offered at UL. The campus is less than a half an hour from my home, and I was already part of the community, having spent my previous 4 years studying there.
This course was definitely more intense than my undergraduate. It doesn’t start off too bad, they ease you into it, but by the end of the second semester it was very intense! One thing I noticed was the emphasis on team work. The majority of our assignments were given in teams rather than being solo assignments. Although I would prefer to be working alongside others than on my own, it was difficult to organise everyone’s schedule to meet at times, especially when people don’t live close by or are only around for the days we have class. I really enjoyed the practicality of this course. Although it was difficult at the time, I learned a lot about the ins and outs of implementing certain decisions and initiatives in the workplace. From conducting competency interviews, to the implementation of an on-boarding programme, the practical aspects of the assignments were designed to give us an example of how what we have learned can be applied in the workplace. The collaborative nature of the course also allowed us to make good friends. If you are in multiple teams with the same people, you are practically spending every day with each other, so you get to know one another very well.
Caoimhe on – the next step:
At the moment, I would like to spend some time working in recruitment. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different recruitment methods, choosing the right ones for the particular job at hand, so that you can ensure you have selected the right candidate. We did a lot of work of professional development, preparing CVs, interviews, questions, Linked In profiles, psychometric assessments, and this was something that I really liked doing. I also enjoyed the learning and development aspect of the course, so this is also an area of work that I wouldn’t mind pursuing.
Caoimhe on – this year on the field with UL and Tipperary:
My final year playing camogie with UL was brilliant, topped off with an Ashbourne medal. I’m very proud of the time that I have spent here, and the things that we have achieved as a team. We are very lucky with the facilities that are available to us in UL. Having the astro-turf facilities is massive, meaning there is somewhere to train at all times and much later into the evening to accommodate girls in college, or when the grass pitch may not be available to us. Again, the gym is made available for the group at specific times, as is the indoor track when necessary and there are always physio slots available before training if people want to use them. We are very lucky to have the set up that we do at UL, and I love the way the GAA office is open each day, so you can call in and speak to someone if you need to ask anything. For me personally, this year involved a lot of communication with the management over clashes with college and training times/matches. As my course is also offered part time, class times run late into the evening sometimes up to 9pm to accommodate the part-time students. For the most part, it was completely manageable, and the management were always very understanding when my assessments were scheduled during those times and couldn’t be changed.
With Tipp, we are hoping to push ourselves further than ever before. We know that we have the talent, and everyone is working very hard. The management have brought in new players, and girls are pushing for places now more than ever. It’s great to have such competitive sessions. At the moment, no place is safe. It’s great so see everyone pushing each other on, that’s the kind of competitive environment that is needed. Currently, we are training hard and looking forward to the Munster Final. I would say that we really want to leave our mark on this year’s championship. A lot of us have been together for a few years now, and mixed with a few more of those coming into the set-up, we are hungry for success.
Caoimhe on – balancing the dual career:
There have been times when it has been really difficult, and I find myself caught for time. As a lot of my work in college is collaborative, there are often clashes between schedules, so some people may only be available on certain evenings but they are the evenings that I have training and we have to try and work around this. When I first started the course, I was also training at home with my Club for a Munster final and all Ireland semi-final and working part-time with An Post, as well as training in UL. Luckily, both sets of management were aware of this and so it was manageable. One of the hardest things during this time was not being able to do all of the things that my new course mates would be planning to do together, as my schedule didn’t allow it. I am also very lucky that those I work for were very aware of the situation that I was in, and that I may not be completely available to them at all times. My boss would ring me in advance of each week, and I would let him know my schedule and when I would be available if he needed me. This organisation helped me to plan my college time around the days that I had set for work. I think the best way to manage it all is knowing in advance what your training/gym/working hours are for the week. That way, you can plan everything else around them and let others in college know. It’s when things get chopped and changed that it can get a little more difficult to manage!
I am so grateful for the scholarship that I received this year. Although completing a Masters is of huge benefit to my employability and has allowed me to make a move towards a career that I would like to follow, it has obvious expenses. Knowing that I had received the WGPA scholarship gave me some breathing space, and allowed me to have more freedom in choosing my college work over my part time work. At the end of the day, I had to ensure that my college work was my priority, as this is what would stand to me going forward, and the WGPA scholarship helped me to do that. The WGPA/Kemmy Business School Scholarship is an honour that not everyone gets to the chance to receive, and so I am very proud to be one of the few representatives. Being selected is something that I can take forward with me into the working world, allowing me to stand out from others. Completing this masters has been one of the busiest times of my life, however I’m very happy that I have done it. It has allowed me to show off my adaptability, flexibility, organisation, and also my resilience to keep going under pressure. These are all things that I believe can be transferred into any form of work, and I would like to thank the WGPA for their help throughout the course.
Caoimhe on – sporting heroes:
I am lucky that I have some of the finest camogie players playing with me at home in my club, and someone who I will always admire has to be Eimear McDonnell. Her speed off the mark and ability to take a score is outstanding, and I will always count myself lucky to have played alongside her. I always admire Bonner Maher on the field, his sheer work rate and never-give up attitude is brilliant to watch. Although he may not always be the finisher, he creates so many of the scores for those playing around him and I really admire that. Outside the world of the GAA, Serena Williams is someone you have to admire, she just seems to be unstoppable! I always admire people who lead the busiest of lives but somehow manage to find time for everything and do it all to the utmost of their abilities, dual stars for example, I don’t know how they manage it all!
Caoimhe on – advice for interested scholars:
Something that we were told at the beginning of our course was not to underestimate the amount of time that the course would require. With there being only two days of class a week, it seemed like we would have lots of time to do everything else such as work and train but you do have to be realistic about how you divide up your time. For me, it was hard to force myself to prioritise college over everything else, but it was what I needed to do to get through it how I wanted to. Everyone is different, and I think you just need to be aware of yourself and how you work when making decisions about how much you are going to take on. I’m very glad that I chose to go straight into my masters from my undergraduate, as I knew I would struggle to come back to it if I took a couple of years away from the college set up whereas some people had chosen to travel or work for a few years and then come back to it, because that’s what suited them. Other than that, I would say go for it! I really enjoyed my course. I met loads of new people and got the chance to work closely alongside them, and now I feel I am more prepared to go out into the world of work and perform to a very high standard.
Caoimhe on –
Most proud of:My achievements with my club, completing my masters, receiving my sports scholarships
Biggest challenge you’ve faced:This year! Managing Club/County/UL/College and Working too!
3 words to describe yourself:Open, Adaptable and Hard-working.
These postgraduate scholarships are again available to WGPA members, commencing September 2018. If you’re interested in applying, see Postgraduate Opportunities or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.