How playing sport helped me succeed as a student

Soccer has been a big part of my life… a whole 12 years of it. This year I decided it was time to roll down the socks, unstrap the shinpads, pull the laces from my boots and have a year-long break so I could enjoy sleep-ins and having that extra little bit of time for study on weekends.

Apart from the many embarrassing memories of mis-kicks and clumsy falls (yes, there was more than one!), I got a lot out of playing soccer, because it has always been more than just a sport for me. Thanks to the many awesome people involved, playing soccer provided me with a whole new community and the opportunity to learn life lessons by being part of a team.

A massive kick later and the soccer ball has rolled into my life as a uni student, along with some team-spirit, and this is how…

Taking advice
On the field without the help of my coach, my skills probably wouldn’t have improved. Likewise, at university I have found it important to take on board any advice my lecturers give. After all, they have a lot more experience ‘in the field’ than I do and following their guidance help me to adopting the tricks of the trade!

USQ sport teamwork

Working as a team
Co-operating with others was a fundamental aspect of playing soccer, while support within the team was the key to our successes. These teamwork skills have proven beneficial to establishing life as a uni student given that there are many occasions when you have to work within a group. Whether it be the extremes of a group assignment or simply a class group activity, collaboration is significant if you plan on achieving your study goals. I have team sports to thank for getting me out of my control-freak ways (although some may argue I still am one) and for teaching me the nuts and bolts of working as a team to produce something better than what could be achieved alone. I’ll let you in on a secret… uni is so much more FUN when you have people to complete it with!

USQ teamworkApproaching new people
Throughout the soccer season, there are many people on the opposing team you don’t know. Some may have thought it was an evil plot for distraction, but I would take advantage of the ball being up the other end of the field to have a chat to someone from the other team. All of a sudden it hits you that you CAN be friends with someone you are in competition with. I know that once I graduate, all my classmates are going to be looking for a job around the same time I am. Because of this, it isn’t unreasonable to experience some rivalry within the cohort, but, just like making conversation in a soccer match, we are all in the game together so why not enjoy each other’s company?

With uni being the key to my dream career, I feel I need others more than ever to reach my goal. Thanks to the USQ community, I feel very much supported in this.

As the title of John Maxwell’s book reads, ‘Teamwork makes the Dreamwork,’ and I can hardly wait until I reach the last page!

Feel free to share how your team sport involvement has set you up as an awesome uni student!

Concannon College and the Chamber of Studies

I think Professor Dumbledore said it best, “I will only truly have left this place when none here are loyal to me… Help will always be given at college to those who ask for it.” Or something to that effect.

Like many students who attended Hogwarts, I moved far away from home not knowing a single thing about my awaiting destination or the people there. I received a letter in the mail saying I had been accepted into the USQ family at Toowoomba. At just 17 years of age, I packed my 3 suitcases (which did not impress my dad or my two brothers who had to help carry them) and set out on a nerve-racking voyage from Townsville. I have since learnt that packing my snow jacket was definitely a good idea this winter!

Before moving to Toowoomba, I had to decide between 3 Colleges – Concannon (the fearless crocodiles), McGregor (the fiery devils) and Steel Rudd (the soaring seagulls). My decision was made and I just needed to wait for the ‘Sorting Hat’ to have the final say. Lucky for me, I got my preference and Concannon was, and still is, my home. With countless college activities, uni club dress-up parties and intercollege events (10 points for Concannon!) it didn’t take long to settle in. While I sometimes struggle out of bed a few minutes before class begins the 2 minute walk to uni assures me I’ll make it in time. And after a long, hard day of studying I know there will always be someone waiting at college when the day is over. Even though I moved so far away from my family, Concannon has become a home away from home.

Living on college gives me the opportunity to meet people studying a range of different degrees from (defence against the dark) arts degrees such as theatre to science degrees like chemistry (potions classes).  If I need a distraction or help I can just open my door or window and I’m sure to see a familiar face. Or sometimes I just bang on the wall to get Hermione’s attention next door. She loves it when I do that.

Residential Shield competitions between the three colleges are obviously a highlight for most. With an event roughly once a week, members from all colleges come out in college colours like a pack of wizards gathering for a quidditch game. With events ranging from soccer and afl to trivia and idol there is something to cater for all (10 more points to Concannon!). The points are then tallied after each event and totalled at the end of the year where the overall winner is announced over a delicious feast. While these events often end in a group celebration or a group commiseration, it is always a group effort.

Even as Harry Potter fought against the difficulties thrust upon him throughout life, he knew he could rely on his family at Hogwarts to battle with him. I know if I ever come across He Who Must Not Be Named that my fellow Concannonites would join forces with the other colleges and stand behind me, Mrs Weasley style.

I think the message to take from Harry Potter is no matter where you are and the troubles you face, you will never be alone. Whether you’re struggling with study or an outfit choice, college life provides more than a place to sleep. Just like Harry Potter and those who attended Hogwarts, I have found a home away from home. So if you’re unsure about studying and living on college consider these words from some wise old man: “it does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”