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Joining Leeds Beckett University in 2017 wasn’t something I expected or even imagined to be honest. Originally I was a professional rugby league player but in 2016 following a long injury and my club being relegated in a lower division I lost my contract. Loosing my contract meant not earning any money. Having playing rugby all of my life, my career options were limited as I didn’t have any qualifications, so it was the time to seriously consider getting back into education – if this situation was to happen again, I would need a plan B for my career.

I was really worried before joining the course. My main worry was because I’m French, I didn’t know if I would be capable of studying for a degree in a language that isn’t my native language.

Secondly, I’d never done any form of Higher Education back in France because of my rugby, so it was totally new for me.

Lastly, I was convinced that because I’d dedicated most of my life to playing rugby, I wouldn’t have many transferable skills that I could apply to university.

I’ve faced some challenges being a mature student. I’m still playing rugby professionally, so I’m training 5 days a week and playing on the weekend.

Alongside my playing career and my studies, I have a little boy, so lots of my time is taken looking after him too. This year I made the decision to go from full time rugby to part time rugby to allow me to focus more on my university work, but also to seek out work experience or part time jobs related to my degree to diversify my CV.

I’ve managed to overcome the challenges. I truly think the tutors I have on my course are just amazing. The lectures are really well prepared and really interesting. The seminars sessions are entertaining with various tasks to back up what we have seen during the lecture. The tutors are really easy to talk to, and if you are willing to work hard they offer you so much support to get better marks in the assignments.

Also, I must admit, being an elite athlete has actually given me a number of skills I can transfer to my university work such as time keeping, organisation skills, working in a team and self-motivation to achieve my goals.

In my eyes, being a mature student is a real plus compared to some other students, as at 29 years old I have gained valuable life experience and now I know what I want to do, where I want go and will do whatever it takes to graduate with a good degree.

In terms of other mature students considering choosing Leeds Beckett – I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s a fantastic place to study and the tutors offer all the support needed to succeed. I can never thank Leeds Beckett enough for the opportunity they’ve given me to prepare for my life after my professional playing career.

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