So it is official, I can now come out of hiding and sit ‘comfortably’ at my desk beside Mr Doyle, as under the Doctor’s orders I am remaining with Stakeholder throughout my final year at University as long as I keep my head in the books and not in the office. You are probably wondering who this Doctor is and where he comes from, as from last week’s blog there was no mention of a Doctor. Well, the Doctor is the Master in Command, the Chief, Stakeholder’s very own Mufasa. Just over a month ago he was awarded an honorary Doctorate by the University of Ulster for services to Business and the Community. Having read his speech and CV it really has put everything into perspective – I have a long, long way to go.

This week I have been glued to the Olympic Games. The opening ceremony felt like a geography lesson, discovering countries that I never knew even existed. I have even discovered a love for watching sports such as archery, gymnastics and handball. You feel somewhat connected to the athletes through their drive and passion and you are rooting for them to win. If I feel like getting ‘deep’ you could say student life can be compared to a journey to the Olympics, hypothetically speaking of course. You train hard for four years, attending classes, submitting coursework and putting in long, hard hours at the library, all for that classification of digits at the end. It can be said that challenges and hurdles are also thrown in your way such as the offer of a Thursday night at the Bot when you have a three-hour lecture on Friday morning, or when the lecturer offers you a 10-minute break during that three-hour lecture – do you go back or do you escape? These are only two of the many challenges myself and my fellow students face on a daily basis.

So, when the big day comes, after four years of training, you feel nervous, under pressure and your fan club at home are rooting you on as you leave for your exams, you begin to realise this is your one shot to go for Gold and there is no turning back. You then ask yourself ‘was the Bot worth it?’ Should I have stayed on for the rest of that lecture? So many things rushing through your head you then need to try and find your focus. When the Games are over and you can finally relax, you log in to the scoreboard to see if you will make the ceremony. That glory day then arrives when your fan club comes together and cheers you on as you are dressed to impress in your Olympian gear, strutting across the stage to collect that powerful piece of paper. It is then when it feels real, you are a hero. 

As I begin to mentally prepare myself for my very own ‘Olympics Games’ next year I have taken some inspiration from Mufasa’s speech at his graduation ceremony to give me some motivation to work from. “Don’t be afraid to go out into the world – it’s in our very DNA, and with every ability given to you by this place and your parents, use your God-given talents to take the best from places you go, the people you meet and things you see. And then bring them back home.” Dr Tom Kelly OBE