As a new student, it can feel a little overwhelming trying to figure out how and where to get involved. You often hear about signing up for clubs and sports to get the full university experience, but it can leave you wondering where you should join and if you need experience.
Whether it's varsity, intramural, extramural or a sports club, and whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, there are many opportunities for you to get involved as a Ridgeback athlete. In my first year, I tried out for the women's novice rowing team; I was a complete beginner but excited to learn a new sport.
Joining a Ridgeback team was such a rewarding experience for me; here are a few reasons why:
1. Learn new skills
Being part of a sports team is a valuable experience that provides you with many opportunities to build new skills and sharpen your existing ones. While learning how to row and all the lingo related to the sport, I also learned a lot of skills that were beneficial to many areas of my life, both academically and personally. Waking up at 4:30 a.m., travelling to regattas at different universities, and balancing school and work simultaneously helped me strengthen my organization and time management skills. In order to be a team player, you have to show up. So it's important to stay on top of your schedule, assignments and practices, so you don't fall behind or miss anything important.
Learning how to work with eight other teammates to function as an effective and smooth-flowing rowing machine was a fantastic experience. Working together to bring the boat to the finish line was a thrilling experience that also helped me hone my teamwork skills.
No matter the sport, time management, organization and team-working skills are important aspects of being an athlete, and they'll help you become a stronger student and worker too.
2. Represent the school
Being able to represent the school at sporting events is a wonderful privilege. You have the opportunity to be a leader for your peers and a representative to your opponents. At any given point, there are a few hundred athletes among the thousands of students at Ontario Tech; all of whom share the responsibility of representing the ideals and morals of our university.
Joining a team or a sports club is a great way to build a stronger connection with your university and peers. Being a part of a team can help create a sense of belonging among the school community. Likewise, the leadership skills you gain through sports teams can encourage you to reach out to peers, so they too feel welcome at our school.
3. Ridgeback merch
Every year our university gets fresh new gear that everyone wants to show off. I got a bunch of cool Ridgeback swag in my first year that I still wear to this day. There are a variety of items you can purchase online: hats, hoodies, jackets, polos, long-sleeves and much more!
Part of the fees you pay as an athlete gets you most of the gear for a really good price! So take advantage and grab some cool gear to embrace and showcase your Ridgeback involvement.
4. Exercise and wellness
Joining a sports club also gives you the opportunity to engage in regular physical activity, which has many health benefits. Not only is exercise good for your physical well-being, but it also supports your mental health. Our Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre has various facilities you can use for exercise when you're not at a team practice.
Being a student can often leave you sitting at a desk for many hours, reviewing lecture content, doing readings and working on assignments. Sometimes we can forget to get outside and engage in some exercise. However, joining a sports team or club will dedicate some time to ensure you get up and moving during your busy week.
5. Break from school
University can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed by the demands of your course load. It's normal to feel this way! It's important to incorporate something that you enjoy into your schedule to give you some personal time and time away from your studies; a good balance of school and fun is important to be successful.
What better way to do that than being part of a team?
Being part of a sports team will allow you to take a break from school while engaging in exercise that can leave you feeling energized and accomplished. This can even help you feel more prepared to take on your coursework; talk about a win-win!
Winning championships is only part of the journey; the skills you learn, the friends you make and the exercise you engage in are all wonderful parts of becoming a Ridgeback athlete that enhances your university experience.
Want to learn more about our sports teams here at Ontario Tech to see where you fit in?