Having had a luckless run with injury for much of her career, NSW left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle says it felt like timing was on her side when the opportunity to study arose around the same time as her latest setback, a shoulder operation.
With the help of an ACA Education Grant, Lauren had originally enrolled in a Certificate in Executive Management to work on improving her leadership skills. However, with her dominant arm in a sling for much of the 2019-20 summer and the coronavirus threatening to derail any off-season plans, the 22-year-old delved back into study with a much broader focus.
“I was strongly encouraged by our Player Development Manager at Cricket NSW, Erin Todd, to take up something, so it wasn’t just cricket on my mind in what turned out to be a lot of downtime,” says Lauren.
“It was fantastic to be able to focus on something other than just my rehab.”
Lauren now has a clear picture of what to do now she has completed the certificate.
“The certificate was pretty bite size, but it has given me an insight and the confidence to start an MBA. I’m really keen to get that underway even if it will take a little bit longer to complete with cricket on the radar too.”
Lauren says that she loves working with kids, but the hours involved in working at a child care centre didn’t fit with her.
“I want to partner the MBA with some Early Learning and then hopefully open up some child care centres with that as well.
Inserting study back into weekly routine was made easier by living with two younger NSW teammates who are in a similar situation in Hannah Darlington and Annika Learoyd.
“We study around the kitchen table sometimes doing completely different courses but it’s nice to know that they’re in the same position as you,” says Lauren.
“You know when it comes to exam time or you’re under time pressure with study, we’re all quite considerate of one another and know what each other are going through, so it’s a really cool experience.
Although Lauren really enjoyed high school, returning to that commitment to study felt like a big step to take, but one she is really glad she made.
“I think it put cricket into perspective a little bit for me,” says Lauren.
“We know that cricket is only a small part of our life and that it will end at some point so we need to be setup for when it does.
“With the help of the ACA and their education grants, to be able to study at the same time as playing is really important for us to be able to understand that there is a life after cricket, and an awesome opportunity which we should all take hold of.”