We recently chatted to Demri Mitchell, current President of the UCO's Students' Union, about life as a UCO student, his passion for osteopathy and his plans for the future. Here's what he had to say...
Why did you choose to study osteopathy, and why the UCO?
Quite a long one but here we go… I have always been interested in manual therapy in general however, I was never sure if I’d ever be capable of achieving it. That was until in 2018 when I was working in my last job and halfway through my last degree. My employer at the time questioned my choice of a sports science degree as it was such a popular qualification with lots of graduates each year. I really took those words to heart and never really saw myself working a bog standard office job (not that there’s anything wrong with that or sports science, it just wasn’t for me). With that in mind I looked into physiotherapy, chiropractic care and osteopathy, after doing a bit of research into the principles surrounding all of the therapies I found that the one I connected with the most was osteopathy.
I originally planned to study part-time while travelling between Jersey and London, but after remembering that I hate airports I decided to live in London too. I considered other osteopathic schools, although my mind was made up after speaking to a local psteopath and said that UCO is where all the cool osteo’s come from!
I applied for the Introduction to Osteopathic Studies course - my flight got cancelled a day before the exam (reinforcing my decision to live in London) but I was really lucky to be given an opportunity to retake it and thankfully passed. I started on the part-time course but within two weeks transfered to the full-time one and I can honestly say I couldn’t be happier.
What did you do prior to studying at the UCO?
Prior to studying osteopathy, I was very heavily involved in sport both competitively, academically and as a profession. I spent about two years completing a degree in sport and management, because (no offence meant) I literally had no idea what else to do with my life, since my focus was competing in high level triathlons for Jersey, working towards competing in the Island Games and Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately life does begin to creep on you while you are having fun and after not qualifying for the commonwealth games I needed to focus on what it was I actually wanted to do.
Looking back now it is very interesting how life works and when you can pinpoint chapters starting and ending. Fortunately I’m currently writing a very interesting one that is going to serve me well for the rest of my life thanks to this degree.
What’s your favourite aspect of the course?
The quick answer is that it has to be patient care and learning all of the osteopathic techniques.
But as to what really get my brain juices bubbling I have to say is the philosophical aspect of the course, considering why things go wrong in the human body, how that affects a person and what we can do as osteopaths to help them. It can be a lot to get your head around in the first year, call me a masochist but I just lap that s**t up, I just love being confused and coming to the conclusion that maybe there is more than one answer or no answers at all.
What do you think of the atmosphere at the UCO?
It’s amazing, one of the best environments for learning about osteopathy and also learning about yourself. It's amazing to watch people come to this course with their own flavour and watch them add spice and all kinds of crazy things to their lives throughout their time at UCO.
What I love the most though about UCO, is that if you have been, are currently going through or potentially facing trauma, you will never feel more supported in your life. Literally everyone has been or is being trained to care and they will help to provide exactly what you need to get you moving in the right direction.
UCO is like one massive big family you didn’t know you had and I feel blessed to have met everyone who is, has and will potentially study there.
What’s the best thing about studying and living in London?
London is such a vibrant city full of life and fantastic things to do and see, you could spend every day during your time at UCO and every day you will find something new and interesting to do or see. However, If I were to boil it down to one thing is the amount of climbing walls and swimming pools (okay its two), but coming from a small island in the channel I never had these things and it’s just awesome.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Honestly I’m not entirely sure where my life will go in the next couple of years, but vaguely speaking as much as I love London I do want to get out and experience some nice warm weather living. So perhaps Australia, I heard they pay osteos well down under!
If you were to give one reason why someone should choose to study at the UCO, what would it be?
One reason is hard but I’ll try…
For me coming to UCO was to get me on a path to somewhere, I just didn’t realise until I came here that that getting there was going to be so much fun. Even if you’re not sure on your path in life you’ll find a passion for your future studying at UCO.