I was quite an independent person before I went to study abroad in Australia. I wasn’t nervous flying to the other side of the world, because I knew I was capable of it and now I’ve just become a bit more capable. Just living completely by yourself, like here I’m an hour and fifteen minute drive away from where my family is, like if I’m not feeling well I can just get a train and go home, whereas in Australia I couldn’t do that. So, it’s having that independence and applying it elsewhere which really helped me.
I hadn’t seen my family for six months when I was out in Aus and then they all came over for Christmas. So 38 degrees on the beach on Christmas Day, it was a bit of a weird one! And my family is absolutely huge; there were about 15 of us all together on Christmas Day and then we’re all round each other’s on Boxing Day and then we’re all round each other’s on New Year’s Eve so yeah, we’re very close.
The entire experience in Australia will stay with me. This time last year I was travelling New Zealand. I’m quite a big fan of Lord of the Rings and there’s this thing called the Tongariro Crossing, which is Mount Doom in the part where they chuck the ring. You can climb that mountain but we didn’t because we just missed the check point to it, so we went to the one next to it and there’s just a few pictures I’ve got with the girls that I went with and I just know those smiles are real. As cheesy as it sounds, someone in that moment had said a joke I still remember and it’s just brilliant to think that you were at the top of a mountain whilst you’re joking about something at home. It’s such a crazy world, it’s pretty incredible.
In the future I’d really like to try and stick with studying Biomechanics within Sports Science, whether it’s a Masters in Physiotherapy and to become a physiotherapist would be great, or even to just carry on my research within that. But I definitely want to try to stay involved in all the extra-curricular stuff I do too; it’s so easy once you’re out of university, people just kind of drop off, but I play badminton and I’d really like to try and find a local team to still be able to play that. I also do cheerleading, but I probably won’t stick with that because it's just a hard one to keep up with. Just doing loads of different things and also travelling. I’ve already got experience of that whilst I was on my year abroad and it was so great to meet loads of new people, so I just need to put myself out there continually. Also just keeping in touch with music; when I was younger I played the violin and got to grade 5, which I absolutely loved. My violin teacher was one of my favourite people ever, she was so eccentric. We still meet up for catch-up’s every year. Also, two years ago I was the president of the choir here. I haven’t joined in this term just because the work load has been quite heavy, but I sent them an email and they were like ‘we’ve really missed you, please try and get back for next term’, so I think I might, just to end my degree, do their final concert with them. That’d be really fun.
To me, there are so many opportunities at Essex. Here it’s not just a degree; I mean I’ve always tried to get as much experience around it because when I first started I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I’ve had experiences within Frontrunners, working with the Human Performance unit as a Sport and Exercise Scientist, then also a UROP placement doing research into short track speed skating, and I’m now working with Just Play, so I’m one of the multi sports activators and just getting people in to sport even at just a recreational level. It’s something I really enjoy. So yeah, it provides so much, it’s definitely not just a degree.