Nicholas Paul de Cruz
Why did you choose this course?
After considering several other universities, Loughborough topped most of the rankings in sport science so it was an easy decision. My professor from my previous school, who is a professional sport scientist, as well as sport governing bodies like the Singapore Sports Council, recommended I apply to Loughborough as they hold Loughborough graduates in high esteem.
What do you enjoy most about your course?
The practical lab classes provide an avenue to apply the knowledge from lectures which is key in developing my applied skills rather than just my theoretical knowledge.
Lecturers are receptive towards creativity when it comes to coursework instead of a rigid structure, empowering me to choose the research methods that suit me best and write about what is important to me within the various topics.
What do you think of the teaching quality?
Every lecturer at Loughborough is a specialist in their field, ranging from the natural sciences to the social sciences. This meant that the lectures I received were based on the latest research, giving me an up-to-date understanding of sport science.
As our readings include many journals and papers to supplement our understanding and work, it is heartening to put a face on that reference you plan to use in your essay or exam.
Do you have a favourite module?
I always believe that science should be used to help people and make a positive difference in society, thus I find that the Research Dissertation (Psychology) module I am taking now is the most meaningful project I’ve undertaken.
It encompasses the research skills I learned in my second year and allowed me to choose and design exactly what I want to write about. I enjoy this project as it gave me an opportunity to identify what could be improved in an area I believed to be significant and further our understanding of these issues which will hopefully influence some positive changes.
What support have you had from the department?
My personal tutor has been extremely helpful in guiding me in my work and even taking the time to help me with other non-academic matters. Lecturers are usually happy to sit down and discuss any questions I have and I typically leave their office feeling more confident about my work. It is important to know that you must take the initiative to arrange meetings with your personal tutor or lecturer and build those professional relationships.
Describe a typical day on your course
As I am working on a research dissertation for my final year, I have fewer classes than most students. This involves a lot of individual research such as looking for journals online or other reference materials to supplement my paper which may take an entire day. Four days a week I have lectures, labs or seminars where I will need to do some prior preparation to ensure that I am clear with the topic.
Have you done any relevant work experience to your course?
I have done several short-term internships in UK and Singapore which have provided an avenue to apply what I learnt at Loughborough to the working world. Undertaking internships at various organisations such as a school and hospital has helped me decide how I want to progress in my future profession by giving me an idea of what each profession entails and to a small extent, what I can expect if I were to choose a certain area to specialise in.
I will say that if you are unable to or choose not to do a placement year, to try to apply for short-term internships in between semesters or during summer holidays because the experience you may gain will be invaluable.
What do you hope to do when you graduate?
I plan to work towards being a Chartered Sport Psychologist which will take approximately another five more years of study. Although this may seem daunting to some, I decided on this route after my experience at Loughborough University. The various internships I undertook also boosted my confidence and solidified my resolve to pursue this career path.
What would you say to someone considering studying your course?
If you are certain that you want to pursue sport science as a career, then Loughborough is definitely a good university to build a strong base with which to spur you towards your goal. It is important to know that being in a good university is not the end. There will be many challenges along the way and good grades do not come easy at Loughborough.
You need to consistently work hard and just do your best to overcome each hurdle. I believe that after your education here, you will be able to accept even greater challenges not only in academia but in other areas of your life, giving you a holistic development in both the professional and personal sphere.
What do you think of the social atmosphere on campus?
There are a myriad of societies and sports clubs which will definitely make you spoilt for choice. My experience in the Loughborough Kung Fu Society during my second year benefited me not only health-wise but I learned skills to defend myself which I do not think I would have gained elsewhere.
As Loughborough is very central, it enabled me to be actively involved in other societies as well, such as the United Kingdom Singapore Students’ Council (UKSSC), which gave me an opportunity to meet other university students from York to Bristol, widening my network in the UK.
What do you enjoy most about being a student here?
The atmosphere in Loughborough revolves and thrives around sport. As an athlete, this continuously motivates me to strive to work hard, especially in this very competitive environment. Loughborough’s location is significant to me as I can travel across UK without having to be concerned too much about transport fees.
Potential employers I have spoken to seem very aware of the high standards and reputation of Loughborough graduates which helps me stay positive and gives me a sense of security, especially when I’m challenged academically.
What do you find inspiring about Loughborough University?
After almost three years at Loughborough, I have come to realise the significance of the research Loughborough produces, such as the coach-athlete research. When you go for a lecture, conference or read a book, it is inspirational to know that the information you are receiving has come from a key researcher in that area and it always helps to put a face to the author.
The way we are taught to embrace difference research methodologies is significant to me as it has spurred me on to try different ways to decipher how science, specifically social sciences, can positively impact our society.
I am fortunate to have an amazing personal tutor and the staff are always willing to provide help and support, especially since I am an international student and it is difficult to cope being so far from home. Loughborough has been a good choice for me but it is important to know that you only get as much out of the experience as you put in.