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Novel idea for students who fail exams




A student campaign called ‘Failure Week’, run by NUI Galway Students’ Union Vice President for Education Phelim Kelly, won an award at the Student Achievement Awards Ireland (SAAI) run by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) last week.

These were the third annual Student Achievement Awards, and saw student leaders and representatives gather at Dublin Castle to mark the contribution made to student life by individuals, clubs and societies, and to reflect on campaigns and initiatives taken on campuses across the island of Ireland.

Mr Kelly, who is the current Vice President for Education at NUI Galway SU, received the Best Education Campaign Award at the event.

The idea for the Failure Week campaign, according to Mr Kelly, came from a large amount of case work which primarily dealt with students who failed exams after the summer and autumn exams.

“The stress levels were stretched to the forefront of every student I saw. They genuinely believed that they were the only ones who failed and felt extremely demoralised in the process,” Mr Kelly explained.

The Failure Week campaign was aimed at first and second year students to let them know that it is quite normal to fail an exam or not do as well as they had hoped, and to take something useful from the experience.

“I went into lectures for quick presentations on what to do if you fail an exam, be it that the paper didn’t go your way, or there was something going on at the time. It was basically to inform as many students as possible what to do in these situations and that they were not alone in the process,” said Mr Kelly.

During the year, Mr Kelly also ran a number of workshops, which dealt with failure and future performance, mind-mapping and procrastination.

The Failure and Future Performance workshop, run by the student counselling service, aimed to get students out of the demoralised stage, to help them to get back on track and to encourage them to take something positive from their failure. Students were given tips and advice of all sorts from effective breathing techniques to getting rid of Netflix at exam time.

“Mind-mapping is a study technique clinically proven to improve the way in which you retain information and to enhance your grades. Students participated in an active workshop to learn this technique and to help them study for the summer exams,” said Mr Kelly, speaking about his mind-mapping workshop, which was given by Dr Dermott Burns in the NUI Galway English Department.

Procrastination is an issue that has been experienced by a large percentage of the student population and with his procrastination workshops, Mr Kelly aimed to get students out of the “due tomorrow, do tomorrow” state of mind, helping them to set short-term goals or targets to get them on a study schedule.

“Students found this of great benefit. The Students’ Union collaborated with the Academic Writing Centre in the library to help students write essays. One of the exercises involved writing everything down and to keep writing until all the information was on paper,” said Mr Kelly.

But despite his hard work, Mr Kelly has yet to see the full results of this campaign. In the past, the Students’ Union ran a number of exam stress campaigns before the exams, but the Failure Week campaign is specifically designed to help students who “fell through the cracks”, he said.

“One of the most important aspects of the campaign addressed mental health issues, which can arise out of the exam period. If anything, it helped to normalise the notion that sometimes it is okay to not be okay and that nobody is having an easy time through college, but most importantly, they know that they are not alone in this struggle.”

This campaign, according to Mr Kelly, was part of a larger campaign which aims to combat the high level of student drop-outs. “Student retention is to the forefront of any Students’ Union and this is one way in which we can show both staff and students that ‘Every Student Matters’.”

The Student Achievement Awards, which were presented by broadcaster Tara Flynn, saw 20 awards made to individuals, Students’ Unions and clubs and societies from across the country.

“I just feel absolutely chuffed to be recognised on a national basis for the work I’ve put into the Students’ Union this year in my term as Education Officer. I never thought for a second I would actually get the award, I just thought I would give it a go and see what happens,” said Mr Kelly.


Salthill’s ‘Heart of Hope’ a beacon of light for frontline workers

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A giant illuminated heart has been erected on the Big Wheel at Curry’s Funpark in Leisureland as a poignant symbol of hope and expression of gratitude for the country’s healthcare workers.

Last month, preparations got underway to set up the fun fair, but it became yet another casualty of Covid-19. Owner Owen Curry got to work on constructing a blue ‘Heart of Hope, An Croí Gorm’ with LED lights to attach to the 120-foot wheel overlooking the Prom.

Together with his crew, and respecting the rules of social distancing, he had the heart in place on the axle of the Big Wheel within a day.

“I wanted to do something, to say to the doctors, nurses, first responders, lab technicians and everybody working in the health service how grateful we are for their incredible dedication and courage in the current crisis.

“When the other lights on the Big Wheel are switched off, the heart emits a glow and appears to float in mid air over the Prom,” he said.

Without advertising revenue and people buying the paper, this website would not be here. To buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95, click HERE. Thanks for your support.

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ICU consultant reveals intensive planning ahead of peak Covid demand

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A consultant in critical care at Galway’s biggest hospital has assured the public that there is still significant capacity for very ill patients fighting Covid-19.

But to help University Hospital Galway best cope with the expected surge in numbers within the next two weeks, Consultant Intensivist John Bates has pleaded with the public to follow the strict public health guidelines about staying at home.

“There’s been a lot going on – a lot of retraining, a lot of redeployment, a lot of up-equipping. We normally have twelve ventilator beds and we’re up to 24 at this stage and have significant capacity. We’re working to get beyond that but we certainly have capacity at the moment,” he told the Galway City Tribune.

Asked if the hospital would be able to cope with the peak of the pandemic – tipped to hit in the next fortnight – he said there were no guarantees.

“It depends on the size of the surge. We can’t say for sure how big the surge will be. It’s a new disease and models of how it will go are different – in some we will be okay and others we will struggle,” Dr Bates said.

“The curve appears to be flattening. Dublin is starting to come under pressure accessing critical care beds. It’s likely we will at some stage here too. But we have good capacity at this stage.”

The number of healthcare workers who will likely be affected by the pandemic has been factored into the hospital’s readiness plans. In China, ten per cent of critical care staff were out of action while in Italy it has reached 20 per cent.

Despite the high risks facing hospital staff, Dr Bates believes morale at UHG is good.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of the coronavirus impact on Galway, buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95 HERE. Please remember that without advertising revenue and people buying our papers, this website would not be here. Thanks for your support!

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Galway CIty Council takes ‘wait and see’ approach to emergency cuts

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A revised, emergency budget with swingeing cuts to non-essential services may have to be introduced by Galway City Council if the Covid-19 crisis is prolonged and income from commercial rates, parking and rents from social housing dries up.

However, the local authority for now is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, and has no immediate plans to introduce a ‘slash and burn’ budget.

Some 38% of the Council’s income of €100 million comes from commercial rates paid by businesses, which in 2020 equates to €38 million.

About 60% of all the rates collected – roughly €22.5 million – comes from the hospitality and general retail sector, which has been most badly hit by mandatory and voluntary closures to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Government has confirmed that businesses have a three-month ‘holiday’ on paying commercial rates, although pressure is mounting from business groups for rates bills relating to the period of Covid-19 closures to be written off.

Regardless of the outcome of that lobbying, Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council concedes that some city businesses simply will not survive this turbulent time – and that will have a knock-on effect on the local authority’s income.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this article and extensive coverage of the coronavirus impact on Galway, buy a digital edition of this week’s Galway City Tribune for €1.95 HERE. Remember, without advertising revenue and people buying our papers, this website would not be here. Thank you for your support. 

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