Renée Powell moved to Worcester from another university, enticed by its outstanding netball programme and within months was selected for the English Universities national team.
Throughout her studies, she spent hours on court training and playing for both the University’s first team as well as being part of the Under 21s squad for the University’s professional Superleague franchise, Severn Stars. In late 2021, she was selected for the English Universities squad.
Now she is graduating with a First Class Honours in Sport and Exercise Psychology.
“Graduating is definitely bittersweet for me,” she said. “I spent the whole of my final year dreading my university experience coming to an end, but now it's all finished, I definitely feel proud of all that I have achieved at my time at Worcester, and grateful for the friends I've made! I never thought I would say this, but I think I'm actually ready to start the next chapter.”
Renée has been passionate about netball from a young age, encouraged by her mother. However, in her final year of sixth form, she made the decision to take a break from elite sport.
“I had experienced a significant knock to my confidence and wasn't enjoying it anymore,” she said. “Therefore, when looking for universities, I was no longer prioritising netball and connections universities may have to franchises; rather looking for a fresh start, at a comfortable campus university, craving a completely different environment to what I had grown up in - being from London. However, during the pandemic, I soon realised how much I missed playing at an elite level, and with my newfound first year knowledge from my course, I felt better equipped with the relevant psychological skills to handle that environment this time.
“Furthermore, throughout my first year, whilst I was relatively content at my first university, I found myself still looking at other university's netball programmes and thinking " What if I chose somewhere else?", and it wasn't until my boyfriend suggested considering a transfer that I made the decision to reach out to Louisa Jayne-Walker, the University of Worcester’s Director of Netball, and to this day, I believe that it was the best decision I could have made.”
Renée was assisted by the University’s Sports Scholarship programme, which gives elite athlete students financial and academic support, as well as access to specialist lifestyle advice and support services like physiotherapy, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and psychology.
She is now planning to spend the next year working before continuing her studies with a Masters in Sport and Exercise Psychology or Counselling and Psychotherapy.
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