Bethonie Waring evaluates how many students find it difficult to balance study time with being active, but how nevertheless, sport should be a key component of your Uni life.
University is all about new experiences and new opportunities. For many students getting involved in the sports is one of the best parts about their time at university. But, like all things sport societies involves a lot of commitment. There’s training, practices, matches and meetings… Fitting everything into your hectic schedule of nine am lectures, late night essay writing, and drinking competitions can be difficult but with proper time management and planning you should be able to keep your head above the water.
When you want to do something, when you really want to do something, you can find the time. Whether that’s getting up an hour early so you can go to training before a full day of lectures or rearranging your free time so you have Sundays off for practice, it’s usually possible even with the busiest of time tables.
If you want to do something that’s going to take up a lot of time like taking part in a sport, you need to use the free time you have efficiently and productively. To do that, it’s probably a good idea to have some kind of timetable. It doesn’t have to be especially detailed or super strict, but it will make things easier for you to see what deadlines have to be met and when you’ll have the time to do it. You will also know if you have the time to waste an hour watching YouTube videos of cats this afternoon or if you actually have to do that essay you’ve been putting off for three weeks.
“It’s about sacrifice,” my flat mate explained to me when I asked how he kept up with everything. “If I want to keep doing football and keep up with my studies, then I just won’t watch the TV shows I want to watch.”
A lot of what goes into sports is self-discipline: getting yourself to go for a run even when it’s raining and resisting the urge to completely binge out on cake. And it’s that same self-discipline that’s going to help you pass this year. Train yourself to not procrastinate like you’ve been training for your matches, and you’ll probably find that you suddenly have hours of free time than you didn’t imagine you could have.
“It helps if you don’t need to sleep,” a friend who is a rower joked. “I don’t sleep that much. Maybe about four hours [each night]? I get up early to go rowing before I come down to the NOC and do lectures.”
Some people are going to be able to do this. I, for one, need about twenty-three hours of sleep a day to be considered a fully functioning human being. Only you know how much you can handle. Some people will be able to juggle twelve societies, a contact hour heavy course, and the most active social life you’ve ever seen. Others won’t. It’s important you only do as much as you can do, and don’t compare yourself to what other people are able to do. In the end, this is your life, and piling everything on until you’ve no room to breathe isn’t going to be enjoyable and you’re not going to get the best out of your time here.
Cramming everything in when you simply don’t have any more than twenty-four hours in a day is not going to do you any good. Besides giving you less time to focus on your course, you’re training might suffer too. Knowing you have a big exam in a week’s time and you haven’t done any revision for it isn’t going to help you score the winning point in a match. Stressing yourself out because you’ve signed up to do a million and one things is not going to help you in any way.
No matter how much you want to do something, though, make sure you give yourself time to relax between homework, lectures, and training. You’re not a studying training machine and if you don’t have some time to yourself at some point, you’re not going to last long.