“BU’s sporting fraternity as a whole has been like one big family and it has been easy to make many new friends, with good camaraderie within the sport and the educational group.”
For BSc (Hons) Nutrition student and table tennis player Chloe Thomas, university provides an opportunity to explore existing skills and talents alongside her studies; from becoming Women’s British University Champion in 2016 to competing for Great Britain at the World University Championship in Taiwan this year.
Now in her second year, Chloe, originally from South Wales, says she has no time left for anything but her current pursuits: “With completing my University course, representing the university in Varsity and representing Wales, playing for my Swedish League team, attending strength and conditioning and learning a new language, Chinese Mandarin, there isn’t much time for any extra activities!”
Chloe’s journey didn’t begin at BU, having left school at 16 to train in Sweden for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, though she’s looking to BU to provide the theory and practical sessions to support her training: “After the Commonwealth Games in 2014 I realised I needed to go back into education due to the fact it’s almost next to impossible for women to earn a living in table tennis. I attended Bournemouth and Poole College and completed an Access course in Science over 9 months which qualified me to get into university.
“I chose Nutrition at Bournemouth because I wanted to do a course which would support and be beneficial to my sport. I attended an open day at BU; everyone was so friendly and welcoming, I just knew it was for me. Juggling my sport and academic studies has been very difficult and tiring at times, but SportBU and the university have been extremely supportive and helpful at all times.
“The sporting fraternity at BU as a whole has been like one big family and it has been easy to make many new friends, with good camaraderie within the sport and the educational group.”
Chloe’s other interests are watching films and TV series, going out and socialising with friends, watching other sports like tennis and rugby, and relaxing on Bournemouth beach.
Chloe explains that studying alongside her sport can sometimes be a challenging endeavour: “Due to my commitments with sport I travel all over the world almost every month of the year. This means I miss a considerable number of lectures and seminars. But my lecturers, tutors and fellow students have been extremely supportive in keeping me up to date and on track.
Now embarking on a gap year, Chloe is coming back to BU next year to complete her studies: “I’m taking a gap year to train full time in China prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Then I will return to complete my final year and will take the next steps to become a Sports Nutritionist.
“In terms of advice for others who hope to do the same, I’d say be aware that if you want to balance sport and education it requires total commitment and self-discipline to complete your degree and to continue playing at a high level.”