Posted on May 05, 2020
We are proud to have Tilly as one of our St. Andrews Hockey Club Alumni; Tilly completed the first three years of her medicine degree at St. Andrews University, finishing it off in Barts, London, with an early graduation this year to work and help tackle Covid-19.
Tilly played for USTAHC for the three years she studied here, dedicating time to training, matches, and of course, socials. Tilly is also responsible for starting what has evolved into a far reaching and incredibly impactful programme, the pride and joy of USTAHC, Outreach. Tilly is a role model to all of us at USTAHC, and we hope this article, where we unravel the life of Tilly Boa as a key health worker during Covid-19 and as USTAHC Alumni, will inspire you too.
How are you staying mentally and physically healthy whilst social distancing ?
I've been staying in touch with the friends and family I'm not living with right now via zoom which has become a real positive highlight of my week, getting a daily dose of human interaction is definitely helping to keep me sane right now! I've also found it helpful to try and be a bit more mindful, and to talk to people when I realise something is making me stressed or anxious, so I can work through it without taking out my frustrations on others by accident.
I've been spending my free time trying to relax by avoiding reading too much news and instead reading all the books I never had time to, and trying out some new recipes (yes, I bought a pizza stone and yes, it's amazing!). And of course, staying physically fit is really important at the moment so I am still cycling to work and getting in runs when I can, but it's also been fun to do some home workouts with my flatmates to stay active!
How are you staying engaged with the community whilst social distancing?
I volunteer for a charity called StreetDoctors who teach basic first aid to young people at risk of experiencing violence, and this has moved online to Instagram live so for the time being I am helping to teach some sessions from my room which has been a fun experience! I also took part in the run 5, donate 5, nominate 5 challenge and chose to donate to a local charity called Treasures Foundation which provides women coming out of prison with substance misuse problems with accommodation, and the support to become independent and active members of their communities. There's lots of ways to stay involved from your own home, and I would definitely recommend looking to see if there are any opportunities locally to you!
What is your favourite memory of St. Andrews?
I have so many amazing memories of St Andrews; from my first Raisin Weekend, Balls a-plenty, chilly May Dips, being shortlisted for SSS volunteer of the year, and graduating (obviously) but one that particularly stands out for me is the South Africa Outreach volunteering trip I went on along with 9 other STAUHC, STURFC and STAUFC coaches. We spent 5 weeks in Stellenbosch coaching young people at a local state school who had never played hockey before and ran a multisport tournament on Youth Day. It was amazing to be able to experience a whole new culture, explore a beautiful country, and coach such great kids and it's amazing to hear that the international outreach program is still going strong!
What was your favourite event?
Definitely the Hockey Balls I attended over my time at St Andrews. They were always such a fun night of getting ready with your teammates, having delicious food and wine and a rowdy ceilidh! There was always an after party or two happening until the early hours, and the best part was the hungover brunch the following day to catch up on all the antics and then trying to remember how to hold a hockey stick in time for the alumni 'match'.
What were you most grateful for while at the University?
The sense of community you have from going to a small university like St. Andrews is something that I definitely took for granted whilst I was a student there. It's such a good feeling to walk through town and see people that you recognise, always having someone to help with revision and of course plenty of people always willing to catch up at the pub over a pint. The Hockey club played a massive part in building that sense of inclusivity and family, through training, matches, socials, summer mixed hockey and outreach there was something for everyone - it definitely made my university experience special.
What was the best part of the hockey club for you?
My favourite part of the hockey club, aside from the obvious of winning matches, was the outreach programme. I loved being able to come with the other coaches every Saturday morning and teach a bunch of enthusiastic kids and young people how to play the sport we all loved. It was such a rewarding feeling to see them all improving and excelling; from the kids, their parents and also the USTAHC coaches that were trained up over the years.
Another thing I really love about the club is that you can still be a part of the community even after you graduate. Since I moved to London I've been playing hockey with a Saints Alumni mixed team and I will finally be able to come back to hockey ball now that I no longer have exams in March - being able to still feel a part of the USTAHC community has been great as I moved into the next chapter of my life.
What advice would you give students still in USTAHC/at St. Andrews?
Make the most of the supportive community around you and get involved in whatever way you can. University was always about so much more than getting a degree for me, and the extra-curricular experiences I had definitely shaped me in ways I never imagined. Get involved with umpiring, coaching, committee roles and always stay passionate about what you enjoy and the community of friends you'll build at St. Andrews will always be there for you.
It is clear to see Tilly is not only a health hero, but also an irreducibly giving and selfless person who has left a positive impact in all walks of her life. Thank you Tilly, you're are and always will be a Saint