Sophie Maguire, first year MBChB – 2020/21 sport scholar

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Hello! I have just started my first year as a medical student at the University and was also recently announced as a sport scholar for the coming year (2020/21).

I am from Mid-Sussex (about 30 minutes north of Brighton) and am now living in The Vale Village. It has definitely been weird moving away from home and learning my way around a new city whilst all the COVID related restrictions are in place, however I haven’t let them stop me from making the most of all the amazing facilities that UoB has to offer, especially the Sport and Fitness Centre!

I am a National level swimmer and have been competing at that level for the last 3 years. I was considered to be quite old when I qualified for my first nationals at the age of 15, since the majority of my competitors had been competing on the national stage since they were 12! However, I didn’t let that phase me and with my huge passion for the sport and commitment to training I quickly began to make my way up the rankings. Now, some of my most impressive achievements to date include winning British age group Silver and Bronze medals and also being crowned Irish Open National Champion in 2019. My most recent accomplishment, before the country went into lockdown due to COVID-19, was being selected to race for the Swim England Junior Squad in Nice, France last February.

As mentioned at the start, I am a first-year medic. There were many factors that resulted in me choosing this career path, but my interest in it definitely stemmed from my love of science as a child. I would feel a great sense of satisfaction when the topics I was learning started to become more complex and I was able to start applying knowledge I had learnt into real life scenarios. This gave me an interest to undertake some work experience in a variety of different hospital and clinical settings to see if I would be suited to a career in medicine. The experiences were fantastic and taught me how comfortable and at home I feel when interacting with patients, and from then on I couldn’t see myself applying to study anything but Medicine.

As many of you will know, medicine is a very demanding and time-consuming degree. The main question I would always get asked when telling people that I was applying to study medicine would be: “How are you going to have time to study that on top of your sporting commitments?” and people would always assume that I would have to quit swimming to free up time for study once I started university. However, in my eyes everything is possible as long as you are committed, organised and enjoy everything you do.  I LOVE to swim, nothing quite beats the satisfaction of completing a tough training session, and I also can’t wait to qualify as a doctor.

I understand there will be days where I feel overloaded with work, but as long as I stay motivated and organised then staying on top of my work and training will definitely be achievable. I also feel very fortunate that I will receive so much support via the Sports Scholarship for the coming year, including a lifestyle mentor, psychologist, nutrition support, S&C coach and much more. Having them on hand to help me with all their expertise and experience will definitely make juggling my academic and sporting commitments that much easier.

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