Tatum Muller, 17, an A level student at Dubai College pursuing Government Politics, Economics and English Literature, is a member of the College’s U18 Girls Rugby team and the Dubai Exiles U19 Girls Rugby A team.
Passionate about the game, she also coaches Exile’s U5 and U6 rugby teams every Saturday morning. ‘‘It is truly rewarding to be a part of the youngsters’ rugby journeys at such an early stage in their life and to help them develop their basic skills,’’ she says.
A lover of books, she enjoys reading Shakespeare as much as she does Khalid Hosseini. Her love for literature resulted in she co-founding the Dubai College Literature Society this year. Keen to enter the corporate industry of finance, this Hale student is working towards getting an undergraduate degree in the US and an MBA.
Excerpts from an interview:
What got you interested in rugby?
Being raised in South Africa, rugby is in my blood. We spent most weekends watching the game on television. Incidentally, I was a ballet dancer for many years before I found rugby.
However, a medical condition I developed led to my doctor making it clear that I would have to choose between ballet and rugby. I picked the latter.
The first time I played rugby at 13, I felt a deep passion for the game- an adrenaline rush that ballet had never given me. I felt at home. Over the years in the sport I have learnt that your team becomes your family- you look after one another on and off the pitch.
Tell us about the rugby camps you attended.
Three years ago I attended the Haka Rugby Camp by Haka Rugby Global. The camp consisted of developing basic skills, growing our knowledge of the Haka, learning the ancient ritual, and competing against each other to build our confidence in the sport. I participated in the Penn State Rugby Camp where I was mentored by renowned coaches such as Kate Dalley and was able to develop my skills in passing, tackling and jackling.
What major life lessons have the camps taught you?
The Haka Camp informed me of the historical and spiritual meaning of rugby to New Zealand and the Maori culture. I have found a deeper spiritual meaning within the sport itself and I hope that I can create an impact on the sport in the future. The Penn State camp forced me to have faith in players I had only met. I really enjoyed being put out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and learning to have faith in my team even though we had just met.
How do you think the sport has shaped your personality?
I always aimed to be self-sufficient while practising ballet. Transitioning into rugby, where you are heavily reliant on the talents of others, made me a better team player on and off the pitch. I realised it is okay to rely on others and to appreciate each person for their individual characteristics. It has made me put less pressure on myself for trying to be everything at once.
Furthermore, the sport has made me a more disciplined and motivated individual. I have to constantly be working on myself to be a better player. I curated a structured schedule for conditioning and nutrition, where I needed to be consistent to see progress. I soon found myself applying this skill to my academics and other interests, which has made me a more organised student.
Why did you choose finance and investment management at college?
Economics is a more recent interest for me. I participated in an Oxford Summer Course on Business and Economics last summer. It was amazing to receive additional education from a world-renowned professor. I decided to take Economics A Level to pursue my interest in the subject now having gained the confidence to do so. It empowers girls like myself who were initially too scared to learn about certain subjects to now consider entering the industry.
What is your dream career?
To make the largest impact I can on the world around me. I have two academic passions of Politics and Economics, and I hope to land a career which integrates both. My heritage has led me to become passionate about international affairs, economics and politics. I have taken online courses ranging from feminism, varying financial markets and global politics to help me understand how I can make a difference in this conflicted world.