Moving to university can account for many transitional periods. You may be moving away from your home for the first time, leaving your parents, moving to a completely new city and environment. Or, you may be staying at home and commuting to university, to a new course with new course mates whilst your friends may have ventured off to explore pastures new. In 2016/17, there were over 1.75million undergraduate students in the UK, and over 500,000 post graduate students. According to the Higher Education Sport Participation and Satisfaction Survey, 55% of students engage in physical activity and sport at least once a week, and 33% of students actively engaging in sport 3 times per week. This lifestyle represents one of a student-athlete.
The term student-athlete relates to any individual who is pursuing their academic studies whilst engaging in competitive sport and physical activity. In turn, this can bring many benefits. Initially, becoming a student-athlete can be quite daunting. You may be required to join a new team, and that team may be coached by someone previously unknown to you. However, once you have joined a team, you have created a network of individuals that are always there to support you. Research has found that athletes who engage in team sports relate to their sporting network as a family, utilising their family for a variety of reasons including social support and academic support. It is likely that people in your network have experienced everything that you are experiencing and can offer their experiences as a way of guiding you.
The life of a student-athlete can be challenging, but extremely rewarding. Managing both your sporting commitments and academic assignments is not easy! Yet, the challenge allows you to develop your time management skills. Who would want to miss playing in a final because they have an assignment due the next day which they haven’t finished? Those time management skills that you develop will be transferred with you throughout life. Further, the lifestyle of the student-athlete can include numerous training sessions. Becoming the best possible athlete you can be comes with that lifestyle. Utilising the top class facilities you can find at universities is essential. From the strength and conditioning support available, to the local gyms. There are a variety of options available to ensure you are becoming the best you.
The thrill of being involved in competitive sport! Who can forget that rush of adrenaline on game day? The stomach rush, the hairs standing up on the back of your neck, the music pumping in the changing room. It isn’t any experience you can find anywhere else. Those emotions you keep under control on a day to day basis can just let loose on the playing field. Releasing those endorphins to increase your mood and relieve any stress or worries, even just for the duration of play.
Further, sport plays a massive part in health such as being a key factor in combating stress and anxiety, reducing the risk of heart disease, reducing the risk of developing diabetes and osteoporosis (brittle bones). At university and in higher education, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in sport and become a student-athlete. Whether that be on a social level or on a performance level – find the one that suits you!