At the beginning of my first year, I decided to join the Women’s Hockey Club and, to this day, I consider it to be one of the best decisions I have made at university. Participating in sports at university is important for a number of reasons, and this article will detail a few!
1) The Friends
Making friends in your first year (or at university in general) can be hard, especially when you’re not fond of social situations. But joining a sports team can help! It’s easy to form relationships with students when you play sports together every week. Matches, practices and team activities are designed to allow teammates to get to know each other, so in the end, making friends can be practically effortless!
While you don’t exercise with your team every day, having a reason to get up and go to the AU during the week is important. There were several times when I was thankful for practices or games because they would force me out of the library after hours of work. It’s refreshing after a long day of essay writing or tutorial readings, to run around the pitch for an hour or so with your friends. In the end, exercise through sports teams is more important mentally than physically, because everyone needs a healthy break from academics!
Matches are one of the best parts of playing a sport in St Andrews. They are so fun! Having a positive team that supports each other on and off the pitch can make all the difference too! When my team plays a match I know that no matter the end score, we will all have great mentalities at our Match Teas, or meals provided by our sponsors. For the Women’s Hockey Club, our sponsor is The Rule; they provide us with free food after each of our matches if we book tables in advance. So not only can you play in games with friends, but right after you get free food!
Playing a sport can also allow you to travel outside of our small coastal town. Away games provide a nice break from the familiar three streets of St Andrews. By driving to other areas of Scotland for matches, you never feel tired of St Andrews like most students, simply because you have a sport forcing you to leave once or twice every other week.
4) Last but certainly not least, SINNERS!!
Wednesday nights are DEFINITELY ones to remember. They’re a great opportunity to let off steam and you never know what will happen! Before going to the Union, team or club-wide pres are often fun activities that allow you to bond with your teammates. You can meet other students from your sports club through the challenges or initiations each individual club organises. And while these events often include alcohol, teams will never force students to drink.
Overall, I am not writing this article to force people into St Andrews’ sports clubs, or to argue that people who don’t participate in sports are unhappy. Instead, I hope to encourage athletes and non-athletes alike to leave their comfort zone and attend a ‘give it a go’ session at the beginning of next semester! Sports can truly change your experience at university, and I hope this article helps everyone try something new!