Doubting my excellence

Kristian Richings was awarded an Excellence Scholarship for Current Students in 2013 in recognition of his dedication to volunteering.

A BSc (Hons) Psychology student at Edge Hill University, Kristian is extremely passionate about volunteering, devoting eight hours a week to spending his time as a counsellor with the NSPCC, as an Assistant Teacher with his local jujitsu group, and fundraising for various charities including Children In Need and Macmillan Cancer Research.

We caught up with Kristian to discuss his experience of being awarded a scholarship, where Kristian revealed that he had significant doubts as to whether his voluntary and charity work would merit an award.

“At first glance, I didn’t think I was deserving of a scholarship. I remember re-reading and re-writing some of the sections of the application form, panicking over whether my answers were good enough. I thought that scholarships were only a thing for recognising academic excellence or rewarding selfless individuals who had spent years volunteering for lots of charities. However, I was persuaded to apply by my friends and I’m very glad that I did.

To me, volunteering is natural. As a student, rather than donate money to charitable causes, I try to donate my time and energy to them instead. It’s an incredibly enriching way to spend my free time. As well as gaining great satisfaction from helping others, I also get the chance to meet some amazing people and gain some invaluable experiences.

The Excellence Scholarship has helped me a lot. I have been inspired by the people I have met during the process (and at the award ceremony) to continue with my volunteering despite an increased workload in the second year of my degree. It has meant that I am able to continue volunteering as well as devoting more time to my studies and less to paid work as a result of the scholarship award money.

From doubting my ‘excellence’, I am glad I applied for a scholarship, so if you are doubting your own achievements, all I can say is believe in yourself and submit an application, who knows what the outcome might be!”

Ice hockey scholar competes for Team GB

Rising ice hockey star Sarah Hutchinson, studying BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Psychology at Edge Hill University, was awarded a Sports Scholarship for Prospective Students in 2013.

Sarah put the funding from her scholarship towards a trip to Trentino in Italy in December, where she played for the GB Women’s University Team in the 2013 Winter Universiade.

We caught up with Sarah to find out how she found the experience, how being awarded a scholarship made a difference to her preparations for the competition, and what she hopes to achieve in the future. Sarah also reflects on what motivated her to apply for an Excellence Scholarship.

The decision for me to apply for a scholarship was fairly easy; I was certain I wanted to be an Edge Hill student and represent the University in any way possible. In my mind, if I had the support of a scholarship behind me I could progress further with my career in ice hockey and have Edge Hill as a key contributing factor to my success – and this is what has happened, as I have just returned from Trentino, Italy, where I represented Great Britain in the Winter Universiade.

The scholarship application process was a valuable experience. After all, you don’t often get the chance to reflect upon your achievements. I have played ice hockey since the age of nine and have represented both England and Great Britain whilst also playing for Kingston Diamonds in the Women’s Premier League. If you are thinking of applying for a scholarship, I cannot advise you any more than saying ‘Go for it’! I have only been at Edge Hill since September 2013 and the support and recognition the scholarship has given me is fantastic.

Over the last three months, receiving a scholarship has enabled me to focus more on my performance as the financial support the scholarship provides has reduced the amount of stress there is when it comes to funding my training and competitions. Ice Hockey is a minority sport in England, so much so that my ‘local’ team for women’s ice hockey is in Hull, 100 miles away, even for training. It’s a huge expense that the scholarship has helped cover massively. Kit is another thing that the scholarship has helped with and having recently broken two sticks in three weeks (oops!) just before going out to Italy to play in the Winter Universiade it was definitely needed!

Sarah Hutchinson

The Winter Universiade is held every two years, each time in a different country across the world. It is considered to be one of the most important international multi-sports events after the Olympics. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the second time to represent Great Britain at the 26th Winter Universiade in Trentino, Italy. Once selected we were told that we would have to make an athlete contribution towards the trip. I was lucky enough to have the scholarship to fund this contribution, whilst other members of the team had to look towards sponsorship, raising money, or their parents.

The competition itself was fantastic and an unforgettable experience; having the opportunity to play against the top countries in the world such as Canada, USA and Russia was amazing. What’s even better is we only lost 2-1 to the USA, a result that nobody could ever have imagined.

Looking to the future, over the summer I will be trialing for the GB team that will be travelling to Granada, Spain for the 27th Winter Universiade in February 2015. I also want to carry on finding new challenges for myself. At the beginning of this season, I set myself a challenge of training/playing for the men’s team in Manchester who play in the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL). The training alone has challenged me but I have recently had the opportunity to play in league and cup games which has been great motivation to continue to learn and improve my performance.

My biggest aim at the moment is that I want to do the treble with my women’s team – winning the League (and going to the European Championships), winning the Premier League playoffs, and winning the Elite Cup. It is safe to say I’ll continue playing for as long as I can, and be the best I can be!