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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Can you talk your way to fitness?

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness Recently, our team at Activate was talking about the regular check-ins we do with our clients. We try to sit down with each client in person at least once every six months, if not once a quarter, and see how they are doing. If we can’t get them to […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

Recently, our team at Activate was talking about the regular check-ins we do with our clients. We try to sit down with each client in person at least once every six months, if not once a quarter, and see how they are doing.

If we can’t get them to sit down with us, we’ll at least touch base via Zoom or phone. Text messages aren’t adequate to really understand how someone is doing and progressing as we help them towards their health goals, so we don’t count those.

What’s interesting is how difficult it can be sometimes to track down and set up a time to catch up with clients. In passing, it’s simple, but those conversations aren’t as focused and usually don’t allow us to get into why someone is or is not seeing the progress they need. So many times it’s something we all know we need to do, but to sit down and have a real conversation with someone about how they are doing can be tough, or even intimidating depending on the situation.

People start with us knowing we want to provide accountability, guidance, education, and motivation to help them accomplish their goals. But, when it comes down to the accountability portion, it can be difficult to want to talk about things that may not be going as planned.

However, when we look back at our most successful clients – those who have accomplished or are accomplishing what they set out to do when they started with us – they are the ones who actually seek us out to sit down and get help. When we ask them about their goals or if they have time, they are excited to catch up and see what they can improve. Or, they are asking us to help even before we reach out to them.

Those clients have not always had it easy either. Post lockdowns there were a lot of people re-orienting their schedule and lives and trying to make sense of what their goals needed to be. I personally had quite a few heavier conversations with people as we stepped through a plan to “reset” and get into a habit that fit their adjusted goals and schedules. Without those conversations, we may not have been able to help people as much as we are able to (thankfully).

ACCOUNTABILITY

For every area of your life; family, marriage, friendships, work; having accountability, a source of quality guidance, and motivation is as absolute must if you want to improve or progress. We can do some things alone, but we can do most of those things far better with others who have been there before or who can walk with us as we step through our journey towards our goals.

If you are looking to improve at anything in life, be it professionally, or with your health and fitness, the first step is to acknowledge where you are and then seek out a trusted source of information to help you clarify and align the moving parts to ensure you can get to where you want in the timeframe you want.

It’s why we start every member at Activate with a free consultation and why we continue to talk to our members. If we don’t know where you want to go, how can we help you get there? “Going to a gym” is fantastic and will be of huge benefit to your health, going to a gym that is invested in your journey multiplies this power exponentially.

So, no, you can’t “talk your way to fitness”, it takes many hours of work and consistency, but starting your journey with a good honest talk and someone in “your corner” will ensure you start – and continue – in the right direction.

To have a chat about your health and fitness goals, visit www.activate.ie and find out more.

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Former footballer to launch new book

By Sean Moriarty Former Senior Kerry footballer and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner Aidan O’Mahony will be in Eason on Saturday to sign copies of his new book. The Rathmore man enjoyed a distinguished career in the green and gold jersey, making 70 championship and 85 league appearances for Kerry between 2003 and 2017. In January 2017, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Former Senior Kerry footballer and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner Aidan O’Mahony will be in Eason on Saturday to sign copies of his new book.

The Rathmore man enjoyed a distinguished career in the green and gold jersey, making 70 championship and 85 league appearances for Kerry between 2003 and 2017.

In January 2017, O’Mahony won the RTÉ ‘Dancing with the Stars’ series with professional dancer, Estonian Valeria Milova.

His new book ‘Unbroken’ is an account of the discipline it takes to be part of one of the country’s most successful Gaelic football teams. It is also a story of managing external and internal expectations and pressure, and of the importance of knowing when to ask for help.

“I am really looking forward to meeting everyone next Saturday, great to finally release my book and I hope people enjoy it,” he told Killarney Advertiser.

O’Mahony’s Killarney book signing will be the first of many around the country in the run up to Christmas.

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