Jasmine, a third year School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences undergraduate, describes her experiences of studying at the University of Birmingham and her role as Head Coach of the Birmingham Pussycats cheerleading squad.
My name's Jasmine Demeester and I'm studying School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences BSc at the University of Birmingham, and I'm in my final year.
I chose the University of Birmingham because I come from London so I wanted to go to a city but the fact that it's a campus university really appealed to me that everything's in one place and you get that university atmosphere. I chose Sport and Exercise Science because I've had a really strong sporting background and the areas that Birmingham offered really appealed to me more than some of the other universities. I think a key aspect that attracted me to the Sport and Exercise Sciences course here is the new building and the great facilities that they have and also the chance that you have to get involved in the labs and things and get actually stuck in to what you are studying. Whereas some of the other unis I don't think are as interactive.
Coming for an open day the thing that stood out to me was the university campus itself is a lot greener than I thought it'd be for a city university, which I liked. Then, for the course, it was the friendliness and the approachability of the staff members that we spoke to. So, I think that was a big aspect that drew me in. I love living in Birmingham. It's nice to be able to move out and have that independence away from home and also the opportunity to meet different people that you wouldn't normally get to interact with. From the moment you move into halls you're surrounded by new faces. It's great to make loads of friends and meet new people. Another appeal of coming to study at Birmingham is their sporting facilities. For example, we're in the Slater Gym now which has a full sprung floor which we use to train and so do the gymnastics club.
I'm currently the Head Coach of the University of Birmingham Pussycats, which are our cheerleading team. We're a competitive cheerleading squad so we compete at national level competitions. For me a personal highlight has been the opportunity to go and compete and the Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando, Florida. I did that through an international level 6 team, Unity Allstars Black. Whilst we were there we managed to rank ninth internationally, which was a great achievement, especially as we were up against the Americans who are naturals. As Head Coach of the Birmingham Pussycats, my key role is to run training sessions and choreograph routines for our team of 52 members. It’s great to be able to pass on knowledge that I've learnt whilst being here by doing cheerleading to the new freshers that come in. It's also given me skills in coaching and authority and team leading which is great for my future. Highlight for me whilst I've been here is probably performing at Xplosion, which is a big American football game that takes place on the first Saturday of November. There are fireworks and the cheerleading team perform and the dancers perform and loads of people come and watch and there's a big party afterwards. At the moment, I'm taking part in my third-year project for my dissertation and that's looking at the effects of green tea on fat oxidation. So that's when you're exercising if you burn more fat if you have green tea supplements or without.
My top tip for combining studying and training would be to keep organised. I think time-management is the key. I have a diary which I have everything written in and as long as you keep up to date and know when your deadlines are you shouldn't have any problems. I'm looking forward to being able to go and compete at the world championships again this year. I'm also going to be graduating and so I'm hoping to get a graduate scheme with one of the leading companies.
My top tip for students that hope to come to Birmingham would be to join a sports team. It gives you a big group of friends and a family that you have whilst your here.