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Owen Juggles Academic and International Sporting Commitments to Secure His Future

​06/07/2018

Balancing a university education with other commitments can be a challenging process at the best of times. When those other commitments happen to be playing international rugby for your nation, that challenge becomes even more difficult.

However, those are the circumstances that Cardiff Met's Owen Jenkins has had to face on a regular occurrence during his time at the University, with him combining studying towards his BSc (Hons) Sport & Physical Education with a burgeoning rugby career that has seen him represent his country all over the world.

Having made his professional debut in 2013, Owen has followed the path set by his father –  iconic Welsh international hooker Garin Jenkins – by choosing a career that has seen him make a number of appearances for the Cardiff Blues and become an integral member of the Wales Sevens squad.

Unlike his father, renowned for being a fearsome front row with a reputation for being involved in occasional moments of controversy, Owen has carved out a career on the wing, thanks to his pace, agility and excellent ball-handling skills.

This talent for rugby has presented numerous extra-curricular opportunities for the Glamorgan native since joining Cardiff Met.

In the last two years alone, Owen has been to over eight different countries with the Sevens, playing at such varied locations as Dubai, Cape Town, Wellington, Sydney, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore and France.

While the jet-set lifestyle has seen him visit parts of the world he may never have dreamt of, balancing the duality of pressures derived from his academic and sporting commitments has been no mean feat.

His experience has provided Owen with a source of inspiration for his dissertation, with him choosing to explore The Challenges and Support Systems Faced by Student Athletes in Higher Education – the ability to draw upon his own time at university enabling him to produce a thoroughly researched assignment of very personal significance.

On balancing his academic studies with a sport which has taken him around the globe, Owen explained: "The main challenge I have faced has been developing the discipline to commit equally to two pursuits that are both very important to me.

"More often than not, you're extremely tired on getting home from training due to the physical and psychological demands that are required – you just want to relax and switch off but instead find yourself sat at the computer, doing work.

"Committing time to studying and attending lectures around a busy training schedule is tough enough – adding ten World Series tournaments and the Commonwealth Games to that has made this third year even more challenging than the previous two.

"Ensuring my dissertation was finished before I left for the Gold Coast was a huge relief and enabled me to really enjoy the experience.

"Fortunately, the supportive attitude of the members of staff at Cardiff Met has meant that taking up such opportunities at the same time as studying has been possible.

"It was this pro-active approach to supporting their athletes that made me want to come to the University and I feel that my decision to choose Met has definitely been vindicated."

Owen may not be certain what the future holds but is approaching the future with confidence thanks to his degree: "With my father having been a professional rugby player, he was determined to ensure that I would have something to fall back on for a life after sport as he knew the pitfalls that can be encountered when you finish playing.

"Being part of a cut-throat professional environment means I could be without a job at the drop of a hat, so having the security of a degree behind me is a major bonus.

"I have no fixed plans for what I'd like to do after my degree, at present. I'll probably use the next year to think about which path I'd like to take and what I'd potentially use my degree for, but just knowing that it's there will be a huge relief and will give me confidence for the future!"