"SOHK GAVE ME THE GIFT OF WANTING TO LIVE, TO REALLY LIVE."

Aggie joined School of Hard Knocks’ adult course at the end of March this year and on the surface has always been confident. People who spoke to her often described her as strong, self-assured and extroverted. However, how other people perceived her was not how she saw herself. In actual fact, back in March, Aggie would have described herself as shy and self-doubting, unsure of the trajectory she wanted her life and career to take.

 “I thought I was quiet because of how I felt in myself but everyone else probably thought I was the most talkative one out of the whole lot. Everyone would say ‘oh Aggie you seem really confident’, but I just thought if you look, I mean if you really look, you will see that I’m really different to what you’re seeing on the outside.”

Aggie had qualified as a personal trainer and had boxed a little when she was younger so was immediately drawn to the fitness element of the course. She wanted to gain self-belief and felt that SOHK was the best place to try and do this, as physical exercise always seemed to bring out a more confident side of her.

The boxing was why Aggie started the course, but the people were why she stayed. She found that though her course-mates had different stories, that their experience of life was very similar to her own. Aggie felt understood by the people around her which subsequently engendered a supportive environment for her to thrive and fulfil her maximum potential.

“Getting to know the group made me see that even though there are a lot of times I feel like I’m on my own, I’m actually not. If I need help I know I can go to not only to the SOHK team but my coursemates as well. I made a lot of good friends there, and a lot of them I still keep in touch with now.”

The moment that Aggie realised how much her confidence had grown and how much she had developed as a person came when she delivered her own fitness session for the SOHK Adult Course that she was on. At first Aggie was adamant that she was not going to do it, but after teasing out where her fears and worries were stemming from with the SOHK staff, she sent over a session plan to one of our coaches and ended up delivering an exceptional session.

“At first I was like ‘no, no I don’t wanna do it – not gunna happen!’ I always had these fears and that’s why I never went into Personal Training as a profession, I just never thought that I could do it. In the end I delivered the session and it was so good. I was actually surprised at how well it turned out. I was like ‘okay, I can actually do this.’ As soon as I got into it I didn’t even know why I had said no.”

After completing her course Aggie stayed involved with SOHK, pushing herself out of her comfort zone wherever she could. She volunteered on the men’s course and helped with recruitment, approaching people she had never spoken to. This was another way for Aggie to grow her confidence whilst doing something to help others. 

It was these types of small but significant acts that eventually encouraged Aggie to set herself on the right course to becoming a sports therapist, a passion that she rediscovered whilst being on the programme. Aggie didn’t have the right grades to enrol in a sports therapy course but found the confidence and self belief to go back to school and redo her Maths and English – which she passed. Aggie is due to start her course this coming January and now has the inner confidence and self-assurance to match the bright and brilliant personality she shows to everyone else. 

“I felt like a completely different person to when I started. My confidence has definitely grown – I feel like I don’t hide as much as I did, I’m far more open and I know that I can actually go for the things I want in life and achieve my goals. I didn’t think that was possible before.”

GIVE SOMEONE LIKE AGGIE THE GIFT OF WANTING TO REALLY LIVE