How I Balanced Sport With University, and my Plans for Medical School

Doing sport has always been a massive part of my life, and that wasn’t going to change just because I was going to uni. During my first and second year I was cheerleading 3-4 times a week. I absolutely loved cheer, I made amazing friends and had some of the best times in my life. Because cheerleading is a team sport it is a big commitment to take on and in my third year I found that I wasn’t able to commit this amount of time while finishing my degree and applying to medicine, so I decided to quit cheer and join athletics. Athletics had much more flexibility in when you could train, so this worked well for me and I usually trained twice a week.

Balancing sport with uni can be tough, but you absolutely can do it and do not need to sacrifice it in order to keep up. It may require you changing things up a bit or try something new like I did, but being part of a society is important at uni and so you shouldn’t just stop everything all together. Below are some of my top tips for keeping up with uni work while doing a sport, and of course these can be applied to any society you join which requires a time commitment.

My Top Tips:

  • You’re going to have to be clever with your time. For me this meant staying in uni all day most days and not going home in between lectures or for lunch as this can eat up a lot of time.
  • The weekends are your friend! On the weekend you have two free days where you can catch up on work you might have missed during the week. Although I do strongly believe that it’s important to have a break on the weekend, if you choose to fill up your week with sports, societies and other activities, working on the weekend will be something you have to come to terms with. Make a timetable for yourself each weekend with everything you need to get done and keep Sunday night free to relax so you don’t burnout.
  • Go to socials! Usually at university each society will have one day of the week where they do a dedicated social. I strongly recommend you go to these, it’s a great way to make friends and having good friends at training will make it much easier to go to on those nights where you wanna just stay in bed in your dressing gown.
  • Plan your meals on the days where you have training/ any activity. There were some sessions at uni where I wouldn’t get home until 10 pm, and I was always so thankful when I actually had food prepared so that I could have dinner straight away. I have to say this wasn’t always the case, and when I didn’t have enough food in, it would stress me out, I would end up eating a takeaway or microwave meals which are quick but not that healthy.
  • At the beginning of the week plan everything out. Block out time for your lectures, training sessions, socials etc. This will give you a better idea of when you can get work done and you’ll have more of an idea if it’s going to be a particularly busy week.

My plans for Medical School

When I start medical school I definitely want to join a few societies and a sports team. As I’ll be on an accelerated graduate entry medicine course I know that the first year will be very hectic so I feel like it would be unrealistic for me to be able to do cheer and athletics and be able to keep up with all the work.

My plan is to go to the taster sessions for both and then decide but I’m leaning towards athletics, mainly because it isn’t a team sport and so if there was a session where I wasn’t able to go that would be okay. For those of you that have never done cheer, you HAVE to go to all the sessions no questions asked. Apart from sport I also really want to join some of the medical school societies. For me, joining a society at university is so important and its the easiest way to meet people, especially as I will be living alone in my first year at medical school.

During the first few months of med school I’ll have to be very aware of how I’m spending my time and if something isn’t working I’ll adapt and see what works for me. This will depend on how i’m finding the workload, but I will definitely make sure I stick to at least one sport/ society.

Social Media

Be sure to check out my instagram @medicmell and comment any questions or tips you may have surrounding this topic.

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