So that’s it – 4 years in the making and I’m in the final month of my degree! It’s such a cliché, but time really has flown by and I can’t believe that the end is so close. But when one door closes, another one opens, and I’m ready to move on to the next exciting new chapter of my life. Read on to hear all about what I’ve been up to and the exciting new projects I can’t wait to begin when I graduate!

Great Minds Think Alike…

Another old saying, but one that is so true to me. The past couple of months have been hectic with university and work commitments, but they’ve also been filled with plenty of good times with friends and family. Easter, Bank Holidays and special occasions naturally bring people together, and so I’ve enjoyed spending these with loved ones, but I’ve also been able to meet some incredible people who I know will be very important to me. Moving away to university is fantastic for broadening your outlook on life and meeting new people, but it can be hard to find the people who really understand and accept who you are. There are some amazing friends that I’ve been lucky enough to keep since my fresher year, but some of the closest friends I have now are those who I only got to know well in the past year. They’re the people I clicked with straight away, who I instantly had a lot in common with, and who I know will look after me as much as I look after them. I recently met with a girl called Zoe (Instagram @zoehealthjourney) who I connected with on Instagram, but who lives close to my hometown – it turns out we have so many similarities, mutual friends and interests, yet it took social media to bring us together! As soon as we met, we got on so well and it felt like we’d always known each other! We’ve made plans for so many fun activities when I go home over summer, and can’t wait to get to know each other more – keep an eye on my blog to see what we get up to (there may even be a little Italian escape to look forward to!).

Me and Zoe
Me and Zoe all smiles after we first met

In the past few months it really has felt like the people in my life are there for a good reason – to support me in everything I do and help me whenever I need it. Completing my studies will open up the adult world to me, which involves moving out of student accommodation and into a lovely flat – LUXURY! – and that comes with a beautiful new flatmate! I met my new flatmate whilst I was on placement last year and she’s taught me so much in terms of resilience, looking after yourself and not letting others bring you down. She’s a role model, a friend, and now it feels like she’s another member of the family too – so I can’t wait to move into my new home with her! I’m also lucky enough to have made a new like-minded friend in the superhero-sounding Sophie Flight (a.k.a @nippygreens – check out her Instagram for eye-popping smoothie bowls!), and have amazing friendships that have come from working partnerships.

So whilst it was so difficult for me to make the decision to stay in Loughborough after I graduate, being surrounded by so many wonderful people has proven that I made the right decision. Even though I’m only an hour away from little Willenhall, there are still times when I crave a bit of home, and it finally seems like I know who to go to to find that.

Up to Speed

One of the biggest projects to really take off since my last post has been the British Swimming Breakfast Club at the Loughborough National Centre. With the help of swimming super-stars James Wilby and Max Litchfield, our weekly Club has established itself with the aim of bringing every swimmer together to feast on fresh and nutritious food after morning training, and it’s been a huge hit! From Valentine’s Day to Pancake Day to Vit C Booster-themed Breakfast Clubs, we’ve really made a fantastic start to this project, and there’s so much more to come! We’re so fortunate to be supported by Whitworths, The Chia Co and GetBuzzing, who are generous enough to send us products that I can use to develop new recipes with and for our swimmers to enjoy every week. It’s been amazing to fuel some of the country’s finest talent, and there’s so much more to come. With brands on board and plenty of ideas on my side, our Breakfast Club is only going to grow, especially as myself and the boys will all have a little bit more free time to dedicate to it after we graduate. For now here are some of my favourite pictures from the last few Breakfast Clubs, and look out for more on my Instagram page!

 

The Big Wide World

So what’s the plan? I’m sure every student is asked this about a thousand times all throughout their degree, but no more than when they’re coming to the end of it. And I’m sure I’ve managed to give a different answer to everyone who’s asked me lately! When I made the decision to stay in Loughborough it was with the intention of studying a post-graduate diploma in Sports Nutrition, continuing with a flexible office job on-campus, and seeing what other opportunities might come up. It’s now looking like only one of those (the diploma) is going to be a reality, and instead my time is going to be packed full of recipe and business development and continued nutritional support for British Swimming. In the past few months, I’ve become an ambassador of a brand new free-from-centric company called FoodSake (watch this space!), have developed brand new recipes for athlete-focused nutritional site Colour Fit, and have really upped things on The Cooking Yam front (including contributing recipes to Loughborough University’s social media and blog!). I’ve had success in my first nutritional consultations and have started to sell baked goods to order, so it finally feels like I’m living my own life. Being part of so many projects is so fun and it can feel a little bit overwhelming at times, but I love the fact that they allow me to do what I enjoy. Finishing my degree is the end of one chapter of my life, but there’s so much I’m planning to do when I finally have the time to dedicate to it. More recipe development, more nutritional workshops, more prep…just more of The Cooking Yam!

The Cooking Yam has grown so much since I started it just over a year ago, and it’s connected me with so many amazing people! It’s also been a channel for my creativity, which I hadn’t had the chance to indulge for a long time. Going forward I’ve got the best support network to help this grow even more – I’ll be working closely with my sister and best friend, who are both so talented and have always been there to help me whenever I’ve needed them. So it’s good bye from me for the next few weeks, and hopefully the next time you hear from me I’ll be a free Sport and Exercise Science graduate! In the meantime, be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook pages for regular recipe posts, and look out for a guest blog post from journalist extraordinaire @fantasyfanfare – if you love travel and food, she’s got a perfect treat for you!

-TheCookingYam

Written by TheCookingYam

I'm a BSc Sport and Exercise Science Graduate from Loughborough University, and also work as a Nutrition Advisor and recipe developer for organisations such as British Swimming, Colour Fit and Bam Organic. I'm passionate about all things food, health and fitness, and have an ambition to share my knowledge with others. Qualified with Grade Distinction in Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Sports Nutrition to support my interest in food and health for active individuals.

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