By Aliya Nabil with Jake Nichol
Hey Jake! Thank you so much for agreeing to do this for us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself before we go into the other questions?
Hi everyone, my name is Jake Nichol! I finally finished A-Levels last year and left the London Nautical School after 7 years, which started off terribly but ended amazingly. I'm currently at the University of Bedfordshire studying Sports Journalism as if you haven't guessed already, I will be a sports journalist.
Tell us a bit about sports journalism as a course. How did you find out about it and why did you decide to take this course?
I always knew I wanted to be a journalist. Seeing as I am obsessed with motorsport - watching it not necessarily playing it - I decided that a sports journalism course was for me.
During our free lessons in Sixth Form we were told to be productive and so I started to look at potential courses and universities around the mid-point of Year 12. On the UCAS website, the University of Bedfordshire was the one that always kept popping out to me and when I went for the open day, it just felt right.
The lecturers, their knowledge, the location of the university and just my gut feeling told me that this was the course and university for me -that's why I ended up here.
How are you finding university life, is it comparable to school in any way?
Uni life isn't comparable to school life in any way for me personally. It doesn't matter if you miss a lecture as the notes will always be put online. I can actually get hold of who I need and I'm actually studying what I want – no irrelevant subjects on top !
Making new friends was always a problem for me, but since I've been at uni and been on a couple of nights out, I've really settled in. Also, discovering that the magic cleaning up fairy doesn't actually exist has made me a lot more conscious and aware of how to tidy my room, both at home and at uni!
What makes the university experience unique?
Obviously being away from home and having to cook, clean and do your washing makes uni something most of us have little experience of. The ‘on the fly’ nature to it as well makes uni just special in its own way.
Like in January, I went to Toys R Us and bought a £65 Nerf gun, just because I could.
You can just be you. At school, you are steered towards this or that. At uni you join what clubs you want and if it isn't for you, you can just say no, rather than having someone try and sell it to you.
If there is something you could tell your past self (pre-university) what would it be?
Chill out. I was a worrier and so uptight pre-uni, even as I was packing to leave home. After 2-3 weeks, I finally relaxed and settled in. I have had the time of my life. It really is amazing!
You were part of the Advocacy Academy and had coaching, has that influenced you in any way?
Coaching has definitely helped me to think out of the box. I was always an in-the-box thinker. Adam (my coach) discussed some fresh thinking tips with me and allowed me to see things from the other person's view. Once I had decided I was going to uni, it was good to have someone who wasn't family or a teacher give me uni advice, whom I knew would say the truth and be brutally honest.
What do you think makes a good coach, would you ever consider being one?
A good coach must want to make a difference. They must want to do it for someone else. With Adam, he listened to what the problem was, what I was thinking of doing about it, and then gave advice which was relevant to my actual situation - not one that he may have had a similar experience of doing in the past. You must be able to listen and not go off on a tangent when talking.
If I have the time, being a coach would be something I would like to do. The journey I went on with Adam from the uptight quiet guy to speaking to Year 7 and Year 8 about my mental health issues was fun. I knew that I wanted to share my story with more people, but didn't know how. Then we came up with the idea of having assemblies with them, explaining what I went through and how they could avoid it. A Year 7 student was feeling isolated and lonely, and I made it my personal mission to get him comfortable around his peers. That gave me even more satisfaction than doing the assemblies.
I'd like to help someone else have that journey of believing in themselves and doing what is right, not just for them, but for others.
If you could tell every person in the world one thing (the same thing), what would it be?
Chill out. The best thing I learnt to do was not to worry/care too much. My life has become 1000% times better.
What are your plans for the near or even distant future?
After I finish uni for the year in May, on my hit-list is to get round to doing my driving test, get a job for the summer and continue with my Motorsport stuff. I've got some exciting things ahead with it, and can't wait to do them!