Sam Cooley, BSc Sport and Exercise Sciences

'Going to university opened doors for me that otherwise would not have been available.'
Sam Cooley

Current role

Since graduation I received a scholarship funded doctoral research placement to continue my studies within the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham. I studied on a three year PhD in the field of Sport Psychology, and now work as a Research Fellow in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences here at the University of Birmingham. 

My research is investigating the development of groupwork skills through outdoor pursuit, team-skill courses. This includes how groupwork skills can be effectively measured and transferred to academia and employment settings.

Outline the course you studied at the University of Birmingham and how it benefited you?

I studied Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The course was very multidisciplinary, covering a wide range of areas such as physiology, anatomy, psychology, biochemistry, nutrition, motor control, biomechanics and behavioural medicine. This diversity allowed me to discover areas that really interested me and showed me how different disciplines can work together.

How did you find your first year in Birmingham?

Before coming to university I had been working full-time for a number of years since leaving school aged 16. Therefore, I found my first year quite challenging as I had been out of education for a while. However, I soon got into it and I really enjoyed myself. The department provided a very supportive environment and this really helped me to achieve my goals.

How did going to University as a whole benefit you?

Going to university opened doors for me that otherwise would not have been available. It provided me with the skills, knowledge, confidence and direction required for a successful career.

How did you find campus life?

I really liked the way all the departments at the University of Birmingham were based primarily on one large campus just outside the city centre. It provided a sense of community amongst students and was a nice place to be.

How did you find living in Birmingham?

Birmingham was a great city to live in with lots of places to go.

Did you join any student societies during your studies?

In the summer after my first year, a group of us went travelling in Africa and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money towards children’s education in Tanzania. This trip is one of my best memories of being a student.

Any tips to pass on to students thinking of coming here?

My advice to students starting university would be the standard “have fun and work hard”, I know many people who left the “work hard” bit too late in their degrees and as a result didn’t achieve the grades to go on and do what they wanted afterwards. It is definitely possible to find a good balance at the beginning and maintain it throughout.

What are your aspirations for the future?

My aspirations for the future are first of all to pursue a career within academia.