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If someone had told me a few years ago that I would graduate from an MSc and start studying for a PhD immediately after, I would have never believed them. I was never sure what I wanted to do as a career, I loved sport and always enjoyed university, but it wasn’t until I studied for my MSc that I realised what I wanted to do.

The MSc in Sociology of Sport and Exercise was the perfect course for me. It allowed me to explore my passion for sport in an insightful and engaging way. The course provided me with the opportunity to research topics and produce assignments which were directly related to my interests, which meant that even when work became challenging I was still enjoying what I was doing. At the time of the MSc I was working part-time as a football scout. Through my dissertation I was able to combine my interests to research the working lives of football scouts, specifically those in unpaid positions. This was something that I not only found fascinating but I was also experiencing, and therefore the support I received from the department to study this subject was really important to me.

The support I received from the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences generally in terms of tutoring, advice and guidance was fantastic. This contributed to my decision to continue my studies in Chester. Since I started my undergraduate degree here, I have always felt at home in the city and part of the university community. When deciding to continue my research, I knew I wanted to do this in Chester. I wanted to study in an environment which I felt comfortable and knew I would receive the support I needed to complete the degree.

During my application process I received helpful advice from the department and from former students. These conversations were really valuable to me, as they provided all the information I needed to ensure I was making the right decision. One of the things I’ve always said about the University of Chester is that they make you feel like more than a number and during the process of applying and starting my PhD I certainly felt like that. The department made me feel a valued member of the university and we were genuinely excited to start my research project. In the end, the decision to stay in Chester for the PhD was a relatively easy one.

In preparing for the PhD I guess I may have had it slightly easier than others as I already had an idea of my research topic. However, I recognised that it was going to be a step up from the MSc and I was determined to be more organised and make better use of my time than I had done previously. I did a lot of research about not only my subject but the expectations of PhD students, to understand how others project managed their theses and coped during the doctoral process, especially during the pandemic.

Starting a PhD can be a daunting task, as you work very independently and the thought of a 100,000-word thesis looms over you. I felt it was very important to combat this by setting realistic goals to ensure I am continually making progress and keeping momentum, whilst also not placing too much pressure on myself. I think for anyone thinking about doing a PhD, it is important to have a genuine passion for the subject you are researching. I think if you enjoy what you do it often does not feel like work at all. I’m only a short way into my PhD but I feel the opening couple of months have been very productive and I am really excited to continue my studies here in Chester.

To get a taste of the postgraduate experience at Chester and find out more about our courses, join us at one of our postgraduate events. You can register your interest here.

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