For our last showcase of the month, we spoke to Liv Morton, member of the University of Stirling’s Women’s Hockey Team and Hype Collective Brand Ambassador. We sat down to talk about how beneficial being part of a society is at uni (even in a pandemic), and what universities are doing to help students during the pandemic.
Hype: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Liv: I’m 21 and studying a business degree at the University of Stirling. But, I’ve recently had to move home because of covid, so that’s taken a lot of getting used to. It feels like you’re back at school a bit! I play for the Women’s hockey team at the university and I’m currently a Brand Ambassador for Hype Collective.
Hype: How did you get involved with us?
Liv: I was looking for marketing internships, because my business degree involves a lot of modules based on marketing. I wanted more experience, because it’s so attractive to employers these days if that’s the field you want to go into. I found it via the student jobs website at the uni, and mainly worked on Co-op food campaigns with Hype Collective.
Hype: What were the benefits and drawbacks of working on student marketing campaigns with us?
Liv: I’ve never had the chance to help run an online marketing campaign, especially for such a big name like Coop. So, having the ability to say I’ve promoted this company, is such a good thing to put on my CV. The hardest part was trying to get student influencers on board that were appropriate, and those that were willing to post content the brand had approved of/requested.
Hype: So, could you tell me about your experience of sports at uni?
Stirling is a sports university and it’s a very central part of the uni’s culture. When I first joined, I wasn’t doing a sports degree, but I really wanted to get involved. I tried out for some teams, but I was a little intimidated by how some clubs were run. When you’re part of a sports uni, people are naturally very competitive, and I wasn’t sure if that environment was for me at the time. I then waited till second year, and got in to the fifths for women’s hockey. The fifths are non-competitive, but you still learn your skills and train like the other girls do. It’s fantastic for your fitness and mental health. There’s also the opportunity to then go up in the team rankings as a player. I wish I’d been involved since day one, because covid has affected us heavily.
If training is on, it’s now very different. It’s a contact sport, but obviously if we meet we have to distance. We can still do fitness sessions, but this obviously can’t happen right now.
Hype: Why do you think it’s so important to have sports societies at university?
Liv: What people don’t realise when they move to university, is the difference it makes in your life to be part of a society. When you’re at school, you have a strict routine. But when you move to uni, it’s such a huge change, which can impact you a lot mentally. Having a group of like-minded people behind you, it really does better your wellbeing. Finding the societies you fit into, allows you to have more people around you as support.
Continuously throughout covid, our committee’s wellbeing officer has always looked out for the girls in our society. having someone always asking if we’re ok is such a reassurance, and it’s a very welcoming space.
Hype: Did you notice any change in yourself when you joined the society?
Liv: I wasn’t hugely sporty at school, so this team upped my confidence to play massively. It’s also benefitted my mental health. When I go to training sessions, I feel so much better. It’s also such a boost to work on your skills and see the change in your ability.
Hype: How was not being able to play affected your uni experience?
Liv: My uni experience has changed a lot because of it. We can’t do socials, for obvious reasons, and we can’t train either. There’s a difference in being part of a society and being on a sports team, because everything that’s at the core of the society involves a physical aspect. Not being able to see these people multiple times a week to not at all, takes away from your uni experience. Now, I feel like I’m trapped in the loop of zoom uni, and it can get quite dull.
Hype: Do you feel like uni’s should be opening their physical exercise venues up so that people can exercise for the benefit of their mental health?
Liv: I think if there were appropriate measures put in place for safety, then yes. Stirling has the highest suicide rate in the UK. We’re a campus uni away from the town, so naturally, a lot of students feel isolated. Having the sports facilities open would be a huge benefit.
Hype: As physical venues are closed, are you aware of any online fitness classes your uni are doing?
Liv: Throughout summer, the sport centres ran all sorts of classes, like yoga and pilates, for the benefit of students. As for the women’s hockey society, every Monday at 9am, we run a fitness session. It’s fantastic to see everyone’s faces, and for our own fitness too.
Hype: Do you think that universities are caring for students enough during the pandemic, or is there an area they could strengthen in terms of student’s mental health?
Liv: In terms of fitness and mental health, I believe that Stirling is doing as much as they can to tackle this issue. In terms of the university itself, they are doing things for mental health, but I appreciate that they could do more.
Additionally, the pressure of work is a lot for students right now. I think catering more to acknowledging the workload students have to manage would help a lot. It feels like we actually have heavier course loads than previous years.
Libraries are closed and public spaces are closed, so being able to work from home is incredibly different for a student who has to stay within their own houses. Some people’s living situations really affect the quality of their work.
Hype: To close, do you have a sports hero that you look up to?
Liv: I feel like I don’t have a specific individual. When you live so close to Dunblane, everyone immediately screams ‘Andy Murray!’ But I just hugely respect women in sports that train so hard and face so much prejudice. Take Serena Williams for example, I wish I was on that level. Actually I change my answer, that’s who I look up to!