A change in direction arrives at success
Amanda Sweeney began her journey into third level further afield studying English and legal studies. A change in personal circumstances in her third year of study resulted in Amanda withdrawing from the programme and moving home to Donegal to take a couple of years away from college.
“I began to think about returning to college but with a change in circumstances, I was unable to study away from home at this time. I began to research the options that are on my doorstep here in Donegal and I attended an open day event at the Letterkenny campus. It was during this event and talking to lecturers and students that I found out about the LLB programme”, says Amanda.
“I applied for the LLB programme as a mature student. The staff were fantastic, and I got to carry over some modules from my previous programme. Every lecturer helped me in everyway they could and encouraged me to do well.”
Amanda became a well-known personality around campus and participated in numerous initiatives. She was an active member of the Law Society and represented ATU with great success in the National Negotiation Competition.
“I took on Street Law as an optional module. I had never heard of it before, but I really enjoyed this aspect of the programme. I got to go out and teach a class of twenty transition year students which was a fantastic experience.”
After graduation, Amanda continued on to a master’s programme at Queens University where she used her experience with Street Law as the topic for her thesis.
“During my time studying on the master’s programme, I got a call from The Head of Department of Law & Public Service at ATU, Brónagh Heverin. Brónagh invited me to use my knowledge to improve engagement for students who were studying law modules across different disciplines. I used my Street Law practices and designed teaching methods to improve engagement which I then presented to ATU staff.”
“Studying at ATU Donegal presented a lot of opportunities for me. I am currently working with Peter Nolan B.L as an Associate Legal Executive. My day-to-day work includes conversing with solicitors, organising meetings, drafting legal documents, and helping at court. I want to get as much experience as possible.”
“In the future, I hope to become a barrister or a solicitor. I’m unsure which route is the correct one for me just yet and I am hoping that my experience will guide me. I have loved my journey so far and I am so glad that I went to ATU. It has given me my dream career and allowed me to stay closer to home and be there for my family. I hope that one day I can return to ATU as a lecturer and give back to the students on the programmes”, concludes Amanda.