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Scholar athlete sees smooth sailing ahead

  • Date: Wed, Aug 31, 2022

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By Beth Gormley, UCD College of Business, PR and Communications Manager

Pictured: UCDLBC Henley Royal Crew 2022

Training every day, including early morning weight sessions and late nights in the gym, attending lectures and completing assignments was all part of a typical week for scholar athlete Orla Hayes who recently completed her MSc in Strategic Management at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School.

Orla is also the Vice Captain of the UCD Ladies Boat Club who saw an outstanding year in both international and Irish competitions.

In June, the UCD Ladies Rowing team, along with the world’s top university rowing teams, travelled to England to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta which is specifically for women’s academic 8’s categories.

“We were the first UCD Ladies Boat Club crew to make it as far as we did in the Regatta and had a fantastic win against Oxford University,” said Orla. Watch the intense competition between UCD and Oxford University here.

Pictured: UCDLBC National Champions 2022

“The team then returned home and competed at the National Rowing Championships in Cork and we were successful in retaining our title as Women's Intermediate 8+ Champions of Ireland,” beamed Orla.

Her dedication and perseverance on the water spilled into her academic life.

“I’ve learned so many life skills from being a team member. Rowing has made me an extremely focused person, and it has taught me to be resilient, dedicated and determined,” shared Orla.

“It has also hugely benefited my college work as it is an excellent form of stress relief. The demands of a graduate programme can be highly stressful, but rowing is great for mental health, as well as physical. My teammates have also inspired me as I see how they balance part-time jobs, college work and training. I feel that surrounding myself with such hardworking people has hugely benefited me.”

Orla was the recipient of a UCD Graduate Sports Scholarship (GSS) which is designed specifically for students who are competing and succeeding at the highest sporting level—nationally and internationally—while simultaneously completing a post graduate programme at UCD. The scholarship supports athletes in their pursuit of both sporting and academic success.

“Without the scholarship none of my achievements this year would have been possible,” said Orla. “I had the opportunity to solely focus on my sport and studies and I am so proud to be a UCD Sports Scholar. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for the scholarship and support from all those at UCD Smurfit School.”

Orla recently completed her summer modules, as well as an internship with BDO.

“I am delighted to share that BDO have offered me a full-time position as a Junior Consultant starting in September,” concluded Orla. “I’m looking forward to this next step.”

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