Skip to main content

Alumna Agata Kurczynska (Materials Science & Metallurgy, 2014) talks about her life-long passion for volleyball

I have achieved an MPhil degree at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, defending my master's thesis in Computational Modelling of Novel Ultra-Hard Steels. I gained some coding experience during my MPhil studies and decided to try software testing in the Information Technology field after I graduated. I am currently working as a QA Automation Engineer in Sydney. I became fascinated by fast-growing companies and the opportunities they present and I hope to look after start-ups in the future. 

While at Lucy Cavendish, I received a Sporting Blue for playing indoor volleyball for the University of Cambridge. Volleyball is my family sport and I have played for more than 15 years now. My dad is a passionate indoor volleyball player, my mum is his biggest cheerleader and my brother pursues his career in indoor volleyball coaching. Although I am following the tradition of playing volleyball, instead of continuing playing indoors, I train beach volleyball. 

Sport helped me to become physically and mentally stronger, it taught me patience, the meaning of commitment and discipline. Training often requires an athlete to wake up at 5am for a session, spending hours at the gym and dealing with sore muscles. It is not pleasant but there is nothing more beautiful for me than improving. Competing used to cause overwhelming performance anxiety but I didn't give up, decided to stay outside of my comfort zone and learnt how to overcome it through growth mindset and breathing techniques. Therefore, I managed to take 2nd place in one of the Manly AAA tournaments, win Manly AA division and take 5th place in the division 2 of the Australian Championships and state tour event ACT open in beach volleyball and also finish 6th in the BUCS finals with Blues. 

Volleyball is the simplest way for me to meet people in new places (if moving abroad or between cities) and never feel lonely. I met the love of my life and many dearest friends through beach volleyball. I travelled in Europe and Australia to compete and benefitted from exposure to various cultures which was an incredible experience. I fixed my sleep, my diet and my work-life balance for volleyball. Finding the sport I am passionate about was the biggest blessing in my life.

Agata on graduation day