carnegieXchange: School of Sport

Why it's never too late to start a career in sport

Meagan Botha thought she would never be able to go to university, but an integrated foundation year course within the Carnegie School of Sport has given her the chance to pursue a dream career in triathlon. 

New Carnegie School of Sport Building

For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to study at university. Life, however, took me on a different journey and at times it seemed I would never realise this dream. After getting involved with triathlon and completing a triathlon coaching course, I decided to attempt getting into university once more. 

As someone who wasn’t born in the UK, going “international” was an option I had not fully explored as it seemed impossible, but I was determined to give it a go. Thankfully I did, because the leap of faith, hard work and sacrifices I made are starting to pay off. Here I am with a term and one year left before I complete my long dreamt-about degree in sport.

Call it serendipity if you like, but I was very fortunate in that the year I started at the Carnegie School of Sport, the new Sports Integrated Foundation Year (SSFIY) was introduced. I was meant to do the general foundation year, but when I saw the new course and had the opportunity to speak with the course director, I requested to do SSFIY instead, as it provided an opportunity to access a wider range of the sports degree courses once completed. There are so many sports degree courses to choose from at Leeds Beckett, however, from the beginning I knew that I wanted to work with coaches and athletes, therefore I chose the Science of Sport Performance as the curriculum and career pathways interested me the most. 

I was very excited to join the Carnegie School of Sport. My lecturers and academic advisors provided me with a lot of encouragement and support throughout the year. Their confidence in me meant so much at the time and motivated me to do well. Good results subsequently enabled me to apply for one of the scholarships which has helped financially. The modules we covered offered insight into a lot of aspects and fields within sport. I particularly enjoyed Applied Pedagogy and was able to start developing stronger academic skills, in particular critical thinking and writing. 

I simply love the Headingley Campus and the Library in the James Graham Building. There are so many resources available and plenty of opportunities to get involved with outside the classroom. I joined the Leeds Triathlon Centre and really enjoyed the training before lockdowns and restrictions came into play. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start providing coach and athlete support this summer and season, putting into practise what I have learnt so far, gaining invaluable experience alongside academic gains.