Sport meets school

This fall, over 200 new students will burst onto the Queen’s athletic scene. First year is a guaranteed challenge, but toss in daily training plus weekly travel to games, and first-year Gaels have their work cut out for them.

As a member of the Queen’s Cross Country team, I know what it’s like to try and balance all your commitments. Here are some tips so you don’t find yourself stumbling at the first hurdle.

It’s okay to admit you’re tired.

A new environment, combined with rigorous training and long class schedules, will wear you down quickly. Coaches will demand 110 per cent at every practice and workout, but the odd off-day or night to rest will keep you fresh and provide an opportunity to catch up with school work.

Use your sport as a break.

Physical activity is a great coping tactic for blowing off steam during crunch time. Some people believe that neglecting their training will help them focus during exams — but after a day, most find themselves antsy and cooped up. Even if it’s just 20-30 minutes, Kingston has many different routes to go for a run and clear your head. Check out the RMC campus for a beautiful fall run.

Use Queen’s huge support web.

When you need help with assignments and everyday work, there’s no shortage of help. If you start lagging behind, Queen’s Athlete Services can hook you up with tutors, and the Writing Centre in Stauffer Library is the best spot for essay assistance. The people within the Queen’s athletic community are top-notch. They’re always working to progress your athletic ability, from massage therapy to sports psychologists.

Take advantage of the athletics social life.
The camaraderie at Queen’s is hugely comforting because of the shared values and interests in a small circle of athletes. You’ll go on a four-year long journey with your fellow rookies, while upper-year teammates provide guidance on everything from study habits to relationship advice. While you share so much in common with your teammates, have an open mind about meeting people off of the team as well — this will let you experience everything that Queen’s has to offer socially. Soccer may be your passion, but that member of Queen’s Bands that lives on your floor may have the same taste in mind-numbing reality TV shows that you love.

You never know what’s out there, so don’t limit your circle of friends to strictly your teammates.

Maximize your athletic performance. In order to be at your best as a Gael, managing and avoiding certain habits will require a crucial effort. As a first-year student with mainly full-year courses, it’s pretty easy to develop a weekly schedule that combines practice, class and study time.

Getting to bed at the same time each night will help your body establish a sleep schedule to maximize shuteye, even in noisy residences. With regards to partying, teams often implement a “dry season” for the crucial training periods during the school year.

While this may seem like a bummer, you may find that a game night or movies with teammates is a more rewarding experience in both the short- and long-term.

Queen’s is an incredible place to study, achieve full athletic potential and build lasting friendships with teammates. Above all, take everything in moderation and you’ll have no problem reaching your goals as a Gael.

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