Our campaign, Active at Oxford, is all about encouraging students to take part in more exercise, in order to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits associated with sports and physical activity.

However, we know that there are only so many hours in the day, which is why it’s important to be able to prioritise your workload and balance your activities and studies.

Kinga Nesselfeld is one student who has successfully achieved this balance, and here she shares some of the lessons that she’s learned from participating in sport at university:

How I get active

“I am studying classics and alongside my degree I play for the Handball Club. Our team plays both in University Championship and League matches, and in addition I am also Secretary of the Committee.

“We have two or three practice sessions per week and any games take place in the weekend so I had to be careful to manage my time and not miss an essay deadline because I was away for a game.

“However, the club is very considerate of student schedule and practices never clash with any lectures or classes I have.

“Doing sport definitely taught me to manage my time better and the time spent playing handball helps me to reduce my stress level and it gives me a fresh perspective once I return to college to continue working.

“Furthermore, winning the Varsity Cup has given everyone in the team an incredible boost of confidence so I can honestly say that it is worth doing any kind of sport to compliment your university experience.”

Kinga Nesselfeld
Lady Margaret Hall, Classics

The tutor’s view

“I have no doubt that sport can have a positive impact on students’ physical and psychological wellbeing. Students engaged in sports generally seem to be happier bunnies.

“While I wholeheartedly encourage my students to take part, I emphasise from the start that academic work must always come first (that is why they’re here) and can never be an excuse for late or uncompleted assignments.

“In my experience good and well-organised students (like Kinga) are able to manage their time and commitments well, and their sporting activities do not affect significantly the quality of their work. Injuries and competitions during term time, however, have been an issue in the past.

“Of course, if there are unavoidable clashes during a tournament, I’m willing to be flexible in scheduling tutorials (within reason!). When I notice that a student’s sporting–or indeed any other extracurricular–activity is beginning to impact negatively on their academic work, I talk to them about it and urge them to achieve a more sustainable balance between work and play.”

Dr Amin Benaissa

Associate Professor and Tutorial Fellow in Classics, Lady Margaret Hall

Read more student testimonials here.

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