You couldn’t accuse Katie Jenkins of taking the easy road. Studying for a pharmacy degree at LJMU would be enough for most people but Katie manages to split her time between this and training with the Wales Women’s Rugby team. We find out how she copes.
How did you get into rugby?
“I started playing rugby in 2015 while I was in my second year of studying for an MPharm degree. My brother plays professionally for Cardiff Blues and Wales and so I’ve always been around rugby but I joined the University team for a bit of fun and fitness and for the social aspect. I grew to love the game and the challenges it possessed and joined Birkenhead Park Panthers to train and play more.”
Tell us about your time playing for the LJMU rugby team.
“I got selected to captain LJMU’s women’s rugby team for the 2016-2017 season. It was such a privilege and helped me develop both as a player and as a person, and has taught me loads of life skills that will help me as a pharmacist in the future. We finished the year without conceding a single point in the BUCS League and were runners up in the Northern Conference Cup. We also won LJMU Club of the Year at the Sports Ball and then Team of the Year at the BUCS annual awards at Twickenham which shows the hard work that all the girls put in throughout the year.”
“I’m sure the time management skills and the commitment and dedication will only push me to become a better pharmacist in the future.”
How have you found juggling your rugby career and studying at uni?
“I moved clubs from Birkenhead Park to Waterloo to play at the highest level possible in England and I also started playing for Cardiff Blues Ladies team at home. That meant travelling four and a half hours home to South Wales to train on a Saturday after finishing uni on a Friday afternoon and then travelling all the way back to play on a Sunday for Waterloo. It was hard work and took a lot of dedication but it just meant that I had to consciously set aside enough time to keep on top of my uni work during the week. I’m now in my fourth (and final!) year of Pharmacy and I’m studying for a masters. The masters year contains lots of self-directed study and so I have to be even more disciplined to get my work done with all the sporting commitments I have.”
You’ve been selected for the Welsh national team, will that put even more strain on your studies?
“Yes, I was chosen for the 2017-18 training squad which meant even more commitment but obviously it’s a huge honour too. I travel home for training on a Wednesday evening and for training camps on the weekends which has inevitably forced me to make some sacrifices when it comes to university but lecturers have been really accommodating and helpful and have allowed me to fit my timetable in around training. It’s the highest honour for me to have the chance to represent my country so I was over the moon when I was selected for the development squad for the 2018 Six Nations. It’s making my final few months at uni a little bit more hectic but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m sure the time management skills and the commitment and dedication will only push me to become a better pharmacist in the future. Hopefully one day in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be able to win an international cap for Wales and it will all be worth it!”
If you’re interested in playing for an LJMU sports team, see what teams you could join.
Find out what’s involved in studying for an MPharm degree.