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Gabby Dierckx

MSc Psychology of Sport

U.S. Army

USA

Why did you decide to study a postgraduate course?

I chose to study a postgraduate course because it is a requirement for my profession. In order to pursue sport psychology, one must have a postgraduate degree.

What attracted you to Stirling?

In my undergraduate study, I had the opportunity to study abroad at New College at Oxford University and the experience was life changing. So, I decided I wanted to give the UK another go. Stirling not only offered an accredited program, but an accelerated one that would get me into the job market faster than my peers. Because I wasn’t able to tour the university before attending I had to use the pictures and testimonials on the webpage to make my decision. Stirling was similar to where I am from in America, with beautiful scenery and close proximity to various cities, so I decided it was my best fit.

What did you enjoy most about your time at the University of Stirling?

I enjoyed the friendships I made and opportunities I was presented with. At Stirling, I was able to compete in volleyball again. In America, once you finish playing your college sport, there are very few ways to continue playing. So being able to play my favourite sport again was so exhilarating. Not only did I get to play for the University but I was able to join a club team and play at the Scottish Volleyball Association’s finals. I also loved being able to take part in other student’s experiments, learn from some of the brightest minds in the world, and see all the beauty Scotland had to offer. Not only that, but the large amount of sports teams at the University presents students with opportunities to play sport, study the sport, or learn ways to manage one.

Which aspects of the programme did you enjoy the most?

I really liked the applied work we got to do. From working with the golf team, managing the Scottish Volleyball Association’s finals, and working with the University of Stirling Men’s Volleyball team. I also loved the freedom we were given as students to learn at our own pace and make our own connections and discoveries.

Do you think the degree has made you more employable, or better prepared for further study? If yes, what are the key skills? What contacts/networks have you made in your time at Stirling?

Yes. Experiencing the different academic culture, as well as the opportunity to see more of the world, equipped me to get the job I am currently working. Specifically, I learned to be responsible and get work done without being told, something my current employer greatly appreciates. Additionally, my advisor is a great source of knowledge for the field I am currently in. He does research with the military which provides me with the latest in sport psychology application in a military setting.

What advice would you give a student considering studying at Stirling?

I think one of Stirling’s top strengths is its focus on sport. If you want to work in the sports realm, this is the University for you. You will receive hours of applied work, creative delivery of material, and experiences that put you one step ahead of your peers and, hopefully, score you the job you want.

How would you summarise your time at Stirling?

My time at Stirling was filled with learning, adventures, and playing sport. I travelled when I could, made new friends, and played volleyball all over Scotland. I also got a pretty sweet degree :)

If you have now graduated, what are you doing now?

I am currently a contractor working for the U.S. Army. I train soldiers in performance enhancement skills and resilience, teaching them how to deal with the stresses of daily life and make sure their performances stay consistent over time. I also develop curriculum, train soldiers to teach the material, and provide one-on-one consulting services. In my off-time, I am working towards providing esport athletes (professional gamers) with mental training services.

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