I am a little late with this month’s round-up of graduate life, for it has been a quite hectic week.

Galleries to Games

Tomorrow I am heading to Trentino, Italy, as Media Officer for Team Great Britain at the 2013 World University Winter Games.

The last seven days have seen me finish up at the National Galleries of Scotland Press Office and shift my full attention onto curling and cross-country skiing.

Without question, the best part of this is no longer cursing over having typed Andy Karhol (my brain somehow merging Warhol and Karhold – yes, I’m aware I need psychiatric help) into press info databases and emails.

I won’t quite be able to leave the Galleries behind – I’ll be referencing this painting on a regular basis in Trentino – and indeed I may be returning to do some more volunteering there in 2014.

That may indicate that I’m not completely useless, or that NGS are teetering between desperation and insanity, but I will leave you to make up your own minds on that one.

Trentino 2013

I am hugely excited, and privileged, to be attending these Winter Games. When I went to Kazan for the Summer Games I was really stepping out into the unknown.

I had researched the various sports I would be covering, the athletes I would be meeting and also read through the reams of documents on the Games and the city they were taking place in, but none of that was preparation enough for the experiencing of a competition second only to the Olympics in scale and witnessing sporting performances that were brave, brilliant or both.

And they’re students! There’s a difference of mentality between countries – from some, participants are athletes first and students (a distant) second. Quite often they’re professional sportspeople who pick up a subject to fill their time between training.

For us British, though, that is not the case to such an extent – making it all the more remarkable that young people can study Biomedical Chemistry or Ecological Economics while also standing eye to eye with the world’s best on snow and ice.

In many ways this is an aspiring sporting hack’s dream. Close to full access to top-level quality events in spectacular settings and the opportunity to get to know the background and personalities of British athletes, not only because they’re generally more open and grounded than the average professional but also because you’re part of the same team.

Yes, I am part of the Operations team for Team GBR, which means ‘mucking in’ and helping matters run as smoothly as possible (be it booking transport or making tea) as well as telling the Great British Public (that’s you) about their student sporting heroes.

It is a hard task, as the national papers tend to have little room for the development pathways of tomorrow’s big names (unless they do something truly extraordinary), but there are steady gains to be made.

Whether it’s local press, universities, ice hockey clubs or specialist winter sports websites, there is enthusiasm to be tapped into.

I just need to keep my fingers crossed for some exciting matches/races and a few standout results (Kazan certainly did not disappoint in that regard), and then we have the icing on the cake.

Christmas?

As you can tell from the above, my own enthusiasm levels are rising, and I don’t even know what I’m getting for Christmas yet.

The Games run from 10 to 21 December, so I can write my next blog post on my return and attempt to sum it all up. But if you’d like a taster, and now, Eurosport do a show about university sports. And here’s one from Trentino, conveniently. Isn’t she lovely?

Oh, and just in case you’re concerned for my welfare, British Christmas will be coming with me in the form of my festive music collection. Italy will probably never recover from experiencing Geraldine McQueen.

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