Last Wednesday evening the Athletics club held its annual Christmas meal at the atmospheric Fat Cat. Crackers were pulled, the most delicious chocolate torte was savored, and even a few beloved past members came along to share in the festivities. Among these, British Outdoor High Jump record holder Isobel Pooley! Who had an inspirational speech to share with us:
I made huge changes during my university years. Moving to the Midlands marked the start of my “professional” athletics career and the total change of scene was the perfect catalyst for improvement. I was able to shape my own lifestyle and become who and what I wanted to be. The university supported me whilst provided challenges and opportunities for success that I’d never envisaged before. The most obvious was the chance to achieve a first class degree, which I eventually did in January but the other opportunities were equally significant for my development as a young person. One massive highlight was the chance to compete at the BUCS Championships – first in the Olympic stadium in 2012 – and to become an ambassador for BUCS as an entity, winning the sportswoman of the year trophy which, as I only realised later, encompassed all BUCS sports and not just athletics! If I had not made the choice to go to uni and had not embraced these opportunities I would not be half the athlete I am today.
I urge you to grasp every opportunity that comes your way at Uni. Yours is the power to become who and what you want to be, starting right now. If being an elite athlete is your goal, chase it with your body and heart and soul. If you’re more of a social sportsperson, you’ll appreciate the power of sport to build self-confidence, develop lasting relationships and reveal the true power of commitment. Celebrate your strengths, whatever they might be, and embrace your ambition whether it’s in sport or outside it.
Hope you enjoyed reading that as much as we did hearing it! To find out more about Isobel, she has her own website and twitter (@IsobelPooley)