I’m Jacob, third year Sports Coaching student at UEL, President of UEL Athletics Club (UEL AC) and less known: Chairperson of the Athletics Youth Advisory Group (AYAG).
Two years ago I was starting at UEL, a little nervous, excited and highly driven (much like all you new students I’m sure). I have been very fortunate with the opportunities I have been given while at UEL, so I wanted to share some of these with you while providing some top tips.
Athletics Youth Advisory Group
A few months after starting at UEL, I received an email advertising an opportunity: to become a member of the British Athletics Youth Advisory Group, a group of young people from all areas of Britain who meet regularly to represent and improve the athletics for young people. I applied and was happily surprised to hear back that I had been accepted!
Over the next year the group underwent a huge transformation, moving from British Athletics, strategy towards more project development and implementation. This year was also significant for myself having applied and been elected as the next group chairperson, and just last week our website was published (link above), with promotion efforts beginning in ernest.
UEL Athletics Club
Upon starting university I also became involved within UEL AC as a student coach and later, committee member. The first year was all about development, shadowing UEL AC lead coach Andre Fernandez. He helped mentor me to where I am today, having significant experience coaching a variety of ability levels: novice to elite and as lead endurance coach for UEL AC.
Andre also informed me of a paid coaching opportunity in west London. I was accepted, and within three months of joining at UEL, I was coaching five days per week, being paid for three of those days, I was a member of the AYAG, I had started rowing and studies were going well.
How does this affect me (you)?
One of the first things mentioned when joining university is about making the most of opportunities, with so much competition for work a degree alone is simply not enough. My experience at UEL has taught me three main things:
- You make your own opportunities: you need to be proactive in searching/finding opportunities as these won’t always come to you.
- Promoting a positive image of yourself: when you do find something, giving a good first impression, being reliable, consistent and trustworthy are essential and may lead to further opportunities/work down the line.
- Find the work – life balance: With additional opportunities and responsibilities comes sacrifice, for me my social life took a massive hit. Know you limits and don’t be afraid to say no if you simply don’t have the time. Also don’t forget your degree – this is why you are at university and without it that dream job may be out of your reach!