Jessica Mould 2020
Jessica was a second year student last year and really pushed herself out of her comfort zone, to get more involved in the different sporting opportunities.
She attended the Engage Inclusive Sports day in the first term of her first year, and through that discovered a love of climbing. Jessica also attended the inclusive trampoline and horse riding sessions on a regular basis.
Alongside Sean, she was also the sports officer for the disabled students network and volunteered as an inclusive sports leader in 2019/20.
How have you been involved in sport, fitness and volunteering at University?
I was the disabled students network sports secretary as well as an inclusive sports leader. I mainly attend inclusive climbing session but I also occasionally participate in horse riding and trampoline sessions on a Monday night.
How did you get involved?
When I first started university I was pretty apprehensive to join any sports clubs or societies, I knew I wanted to do climbing. I got in touch with my disability advisor who contacted the Disability Sports Officer who told me about the inclusive climbing engage sessions.
What have you enjoyed about your experiences?
I have enjoyed being able to take part in new sports I had never got a chance to try such as horse riding, I’m looking forward to returning to university to take part in more sports.
What has been your highlight so far?
The biggest highlight for me was being able to participate in the British Paraclimbing Championships and winning in my category.
Before university, I had competed in trampolining but never particularly enjoyed the experience due to how stressful it was. Being able to compete at a competition for those with disabilities was great because there were adaptions in place making it less stressful - all developed and supported by the University club.
What have you found challenging?
Being autistic, I find it pretty hard to speak to new people and try new things, so for me just starting a sport was difficult. I found once I tried one session it was easier to join in on more.
How do you think things could be improved / developed to enhance the student experience?
Sometimes it can be really difficult to join sports clubs and societies as they tend to be for people who are more elite at the said sport, or there tends to be closed friendship groups making it harder to make new friends. I think making the sports societies more welcoming for people who are new to sport, and those that don’t know people in the society could be improved.
What would be your top tip for new disabled students coming in to University?
If you have a sport you really want to get involved with just try it, the university offers a wide range of sports. If you are super nervous or looking for a more relaxed and less competitive sports I would recommend attending inclusive or Engage sessions.
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