June 17, 2019

The anticipation of starting at university is full of excitement and nerves, whether moving away or commuting from home; but from my experience, there are a number of things that can help you through your university lifecycle. I studied Sport and PE here at Cardiff Met, and the biggest support mechanism for me throughout my journey was being part of a sports team (Football, of course).

Playing Football, or any sport at university, gives you greater opportunity to build new friendships. There are 6 Men’s Football teams here at Cardiff Met, so playing for one of them will give you access to many more people. Whether socially, or academically, the friends you make can help to support you during your university lifecycle. I remember becoming friends with students from 1st year to 5th year within the first few weeks of being at university, which helped me to settle into a new environment having turned up not knowing anyone; and, make sense of the modules I was studying on the Sport and PE programme.

Training session at Cardiff Met Cyncoed campus

I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Sport and PE student here at Cardiff Met, but inevitably, there are times when you find assignments difficult, or things don’t quite go to plan. From the outside you may think, if I had more time to spend studying, surely I’ll do a better job? But in the reality, Football acts as a welcomed activity to get away from the studies. The time away allows you to relax, re-think and re-enter the studies in a better mindset .

Football for me progressed throughout my studies. During my 3-year Sport and PE degree I managed to work my way through the teams, eventually making the 1st team in my final year. Having enjoyed both my studies and sport, I decided that I wanted to stay in education and opted for a Masters in Sport Psychology at Cardiff Met. As I entered my 4th year here, I also become the 1st team Football captain. Alongside the Masters, I also complete two years as a sabbatical officer as President and Vice-President of the Students’ Union. My background in Sport and PE and football both helped me to successfully run for and conduct myself in these positions.

Five years later, I’m still here, now studying for a PhD, researching into student mental health and wellbeing. The university lifecycle for me has been an extended one, but one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Without Football, I think it’s unlikely I’d still be here studying now. The opportunities it creates, the friendships you build and the enjoyment you get from being involved with a team of like-minded people have certainly enhanced my experience. Not only that, in a couple of weeks’ time we’ll be representing Cardiff Metropolitan University in the UEFA Europa League!

UEFA Europa League here we come!

To summarise, my university experience has been fantastic, and a lot of this relates back to my time as a Sport and PE student. Studying the course allowed me to:

  • Make lifelong friends.
  • Learn to balance academic and sporting commitments.
  • Allow me to build skills to progress onto new experiences (a Masters, a PhD and to become the Students’ Union President).