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So I see my attempt of blogging as an information and inspiration line of writing rather than letting you into every detail of what I had for breakfast last week, or what colour shoe laces to buy to make my shoes look that little bit different form everyone else’s. My blogging is purely to pass on my experiences of University life and everything I have achieved, failed at, succeeded in and maybe a few opinions along the way. I hope my first blog on ‘Open days’ was a good start to this.

So University for many people can mean many different things; a place to meet new people, create new and exciting experiences, try something new such as a new sport or charity work, the start of a prosperous career. What-ever your choice for going, make sure you get everything possible you want out of it.

Many parents and future students ask me at open days “ok James; sell this University to me in one word”. Immediately the reaction is “aahh that’s a hard one!”, so after a little time to think I now have the answer for them straight away…… Opportunities. I’m not your average student in that I don’t go to the SU 5 times a week or start my work the night before. I like to be organised and structured with my time and like to look to the future. Now this is not to say I know what I will be doing after this degree, of which I am in my third year, but in my first year I worked a lot at a local restaurant which meant I didn’t experience much apart from my lectures. So second year came around and I decided to change this drastically and throw myself at everything possible.

I started off with an interest in a sport which was pretty new to me and the University had no team in and the sport was Handball. I found a chap already looking to start a club at Uni so decided to work with him and a few others in pushing this team forward. I made many contacts at other local Universities with Handball teams, finding and going along to non-University teams training to gage interest, and before you know it, the team was up and running, tournaments and friendlies arranged, and a great group of lads within the team, my first competitive goal scored representing the University was the best feeling, and all within the space of 8 months.

Carrying on the Handball theme, I got my level 1 coaching badge and level 1 refereeing badge in the sport through the University, also I contacted many local schools and went in and introduced the sport to them and they loved it. One school immediately put the sport into their GCSE curriculum and asked me to run a 4 week programme to which the students involved would receive a grade for, one school asked me to coach their PE staff and to help run an after school club, and other schools are now communicating together regarding setting up teams and playing each-other. So Handball wise, the opportunities were there and I took them.

Another opportunity was to go on a University trip to Budapest. This would be no holiday though. The trip was to an Olympic Standard PE specialist University in the centre of Budapest in the country of Hungary. This was a ten day trip, ten hours of sport and activities a day, with every night and the weekend to go off and see the beautiful city. The activities we did were Handball, Water Polo, Greco Roman Wrestling, Athletics and Fencing. I went on this trip and the end of my first year and found it to be truly amazing; I went again at the end of my second year.

A more CV filling opportunity came in the form of a scheme run by the University called the ‘Chichester Award’. This was basically a points system of different sections of your professional life from; paid work, voluntary work, achievements, charity work, contributing extra to your course, you get the picture, so after meeting with the career advisors and doing a little bit extra here and there I was awarded it which I am very proud of.

Now as I am on a PE degree it would be good to grasp any opportunities within coaching, so through the sports centre at the University, myself and a few others are employed to coach holiday camps to kids between the ages of 4-14. We coach them in multi-sports, adventurous education, basketball, football and netball. This is such a good opportunity to work with children and gain confidence in my own teaching ability. 

I feel like I have been writing a lot for a blog now so I will quickly mention two other opportunities; being able to work with an amazing array of people in the student recruitment through my Student Ambassador work, this gave so many different experiences within schools, I wouldn’t have the confidence I do today without it. Also being the student Year representative for my Year group was and is a great privilege, being voted two years in a year offers its own challenges and experiences.

So to some up, University is an opportunity gold mine, it’s all there for the taking, and an opportunity could be as simple as an email away.