Posted: 10th January 2014

It was a busy first term for Transition Year and Skills Week was no exception. Barry Murphy (Syntax) takes us through it…

Steve Murray was back. With a vengeance. We knew his style from the poetry workshop we had earlier in the year and he had us laughing and learning from the off. He got us to write short paragraphs on the end of the world, family stories and embarrassing moments to get our creative juices flowing. He told us stories along the way and his informal, tolerant attitude really brought out the best in us. After the break we went to the computer room and using our notes, we wrote our short stories.

Keith Duggan is a sports journalist for the Irish Times and he has the best job ever. He goes to matches, takes notes, goes to the post match press conference, takes notes and writes a report for 23.30. Keith came to us during skills week and told us of his life travelling to GAA games across the nation and to World Cups and European Championships across the world and how he has interviewed some of sport’s biggest icons such as Jonah Lomu.

During skills week we also went to the Trinity Science Gallery. The theme of the gallery was ‘Create Your Own’ and we were shown examples of how stuff can be made by swapping and exchanging genes with other creatures. Fascinating stuff with weird and wonderful in between. Our tour of the gallery concluded with the idea of making organs for transplants. After lunch we went to the Makeshop, where we made bike lights using LEDs, circuit boards and a soldering iron.

Different Strokes

The National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown was the location for an intensive day of watersports in which we would not be playing on the slides, but engaging in tough swimming exercises. We were divided into five groups with rotations every half hour. My group first dealt with the front and back crawl before we moved onto the butterfly. It was non-stop, no breaks swimming and it really took a lot out of you. After this my group were learning tumbles, dives and streamline stroke. We worked on the tumbling first and then left the pool for some diving. This was probably the most enjoyable part of the whole event as it was not too strenuous or tiring. We then had a short twenty minute break which was well-earned. More swimming followed and when we had finished we walked out of the centre, past the slides, wondering what might have been.

On Saturday, we were treated to a visit by Irish comedian Ger Carey, who specialises in teenagers. Ger was performing his new show ‘Observations from the Hedge: An Analysis of the Teenage Mind.’ His facial expression and impersonations were very funny along with the mocking tone of voice he used to mimic teenagers. It was a very enjoyable and show and he really did make us laugh. He spoke about school, social life, sarcasm and advertising techniques aimed at our age group. He was a complete pleasure and I would love to see him again.

Imagination day and a Law Workshop took two halves of the year group on the Monday. Imagination Day was about maximising your learning ability and doing the best with your skills, while the Law Workshop was a talk about all the different aspects of Law. Both events were very enjoyable and got a good reception from the lads. They will be held again in February to allow each half to experience what they missed the first time.

The group that had Steve Murray earlier in the week now rotated and had Hot Press journalist Olaf Tyransen in to talk. He told us of his range of experiences as a journalist and how he had interviewed a wide range of people from porn stars to rock and roll artists. His command of English kept everyone interested throughout a great lecture that brought a great week to an end. Thanks to our TY co-ordinator, Mr Paul McCormack for putting together such a great package!

Barry Murphy, Syntax

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