Mhairi Patience, 4th Year
How are you Involved With The Union?
Being part of the Strathclyde Students Union has been a massive part of my experience throughout university. From 1st year I was guided by the sports union staff and athletics club through my first ever university competitions. In my 2nd year I had the opportunity to experience new clubs and joined the Strathclyde Women’s Football Club whilst primarily focusing on athletics. In my 3rd year I wanted to get behind the scenes of sport at Strathclyde and understand the processes and hard work that’s undertaken in allowing students to engage in these activities. Therefore, I applied for a placement position within the Sports Union. During this time I took a particular interest in equality and diversity in sport and joined the Unions LGBT+ Society with a view to understanding the correct terminology within this population. In doing this I saw the opportunity to organise an LGBT+ Participation in Sport Day for part of Diversity Week.
Currently I am a final year student and have been placed on the ATHENA SWAN Board as an undergraduate representative. This has effectively allowed me to work towards achieving equality and diversity within the University of Strathclyde Institute. I have also taken up part-time work as part of the Student Sport Support Team for the Sports Union. My role allows me to interact with the Strathclyde Union Staff and Students every day. I have only been working for a few months now but notice the 1st year students coming in to ask about clubs they can join and I feel great pride in thinking back to where I initially started. Throughout University I have also received substantial support from the Elite Athlete Program that has undoubtedly helped me gain BUCS titles and Scottish Representation.
What Has Been Your Greatest Achievement?
It is difficult to specify my greatest achievement as I have big academic, career and competition goals that I seek to achieve long term and I hope that these will be my greatest. However, throughout University I have achieved short-term goals that have acted, as stepping-stones towards my longer-term objectives. I have achieved some of my career and academic focussed ones however most of my greatest achievements come from my athletics. In the past the achievements I am most proud of are; A gold medal at the British University Championships for the 400Hurdles, A Scottish University sprint hurdles record and representing my country for the 400 hurdles. The majority of these achievements stem from my participation in university sport and I am really happy about those things, but when things go wrong like illness or injury, or just a low in your performance, you maybe lose a little confidence and question yourself-it can seem like a mountain to climb to come back from that. It’s not glamorous or very noticeable to others, but when you know you’ve managed to overcome those glitches, then they’re pretty fantastic achievements. However, I think the biggest achievement to date was when my friends doubted my ability to eat an 18-inch pizza by myself. With focus and determination I proved them wrong and ate the whole thing…anything is possible if you just believe.
What Steps Did You Take To Achieve This?
I figure out what I want to achieve exactly and then I set smaller goals to help me get there, these goals motivate me to work hard. I also have received a substantial amount of help from others who have imparted wisdom and helped guide me. I 100% wouldn’t have achieved what I have so far without support from them.
What Words Of Encouragement Do You Have For Others To Achieve What You Have?
If you have a big goal in mind don’t be put off by how big it may be and how long it will take to achieve. If you believe you can do it and know you will enjoy the process of achieving that goal, go for it. You will experience setbacks and barriers along the way that may seem massive at the time and they may even steer you along a different path but you will one day look back on them and realise how much they have shaped you.