In the latest instalment of our scholarship series, where the best athletic talents within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester are showcased, we caught up with first year Psychology student and elite archer, Nicole Burdett…
Balancing performance sport and studying can be demanding yet also extremely rewarding and fulfilling. My sport is archery which is something I have been involved with for almost eight years and I have been competing internationally for the last two.
Since I have been competing in archery at a national level, the mental pressure has been, on occasion, a barrier to performing at my best in individual events. Having had a few psychology sessions myself, I have started to understand the effects of mental imagery and focus, which I use whilst I train. This has led to my growing interest in sports psychology which was a driving factor in my decision to study Psychology at Manchester.
Being such an important part of my life, continuing to train every day was vital when deciding on where to go to university. Applying for a sports scholarship had been an idea proposed to me by my coach as it provides students like myself with the support we need to manage both studying and training. It would also provide me with the opportunity to promote archery as a sport, something I am very passionate about.
I must admit, initially, I struggled to effectively juggle time to fit in my training plans with a new schedule as it is different from how I had previously balanced sport and education. However, after being in contact with the scholarship programme staff, measures were put in place to improve my access to the training facilities I required. This has given me confidence as I now know that I have a place to train at a time which works for me. In particular, the speed of getting a strength and conditioning programme made tailored to me has been excellent which has allowed me to transition and carry on with my training smoothly. This has also helped me to settle in and enjoy the change in lifestyle.
The services provided through the sports scholarship are a huge part of me reaching the goals I have in my sport as having access to shooting facilities, strength and conditioning and physio gives me the facilities to train whenever suits me. Having the ability to train around my university timetable is a great opportunity to maximise my training and to successfully have a dual career. On top of this, having a social life at university is important to maintain and is often a challenge when fitting in training too. Having planned my time using my university and training weekly timetables it has allowed time to still see my friends which I would have struggled with if I hadn’t received so much support with arranging times where I can train- even if it means getting up that bit earlier!
My plans for the future include competing in the BUCS archery events for the University which I am excited about and that will start in the beginning of 2020. I’m also aiming to compete at the European Championships next year to gain more international exposure and to experience high-level competition in preparation for world events the following year. Alongside this, I want to complete my psychology degree and plan to go on and do a master’s after this. The scholarship will be a huge factor for me if am to go on and achieve all of these goals.
For anyone intending to have a dual career lifestyle at university I would definitely recommend the University of Manchester’s scholarship scheme as they have been able to meet my individual athlete requirements through contact before even starting here and have continued to do so since I started. Being a sports scholar has given me a sense of belonging here and I love being able to represent both the University and archery at a high level.