Life as a student athlete

Published on
8th August 2017
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I am a strong and athletic woman. To see that as arrogance would be a misjudgement. I am just resilient, hard-working, respectful and extremely driven. Having played hockey since the age of 15, a dream came true for me on Saturday 4th February 2017, when I represented Scotland at my first major tournament (World League 2).

Similar to any workplace, in elite sport we aim for perfection. It is a relentless obsession that in reality will never be achieved. The pursuit of such a goal will inevitably stress the backbone of the culture in which we operate. Sustainable success, in my mind, can only come from investing in how we think, feel and behave.

Life in elite sport is brutal. Every day we are judged on our performances. Every day someone is trying to get selected ahead of you. Every day I wake up, my body hurts a little more. There are times when I am so tired I can’t even follow the plot line of my favourite TV shows. We don’t get days off.  We are always socially unavailable. We make sacrifices left, right and centre. Friends weddings to family holidays, I can count my attendance to both with one hand in the last 5 years … You could say a large part of my life has been put on hold.

That was until it came to pursuing my career in Cardiac Physiology. The opportunity of a place on the NHS Scientist Training Programme is hard sought after and one I was not prepared to throw away. Equally, to land a job at the Queen Elizabeth ‘super hospital’ in Birmingham, was unbelievable. I am ambitious, and love a challenge, so I was determined to make this dual career successful.

This success, however, often depends on the goodwill of personnel in key positions in an organisation.  The demand for ‘extra holiday’ is often problematic in a working environment, let alone an environment where you are trying to combine a Masters degree alongside of it, as we are on the STP training programme. Nevertheless, the evidence supporting the value of dual careers is unequivocal. Time management, organisation, discipline and efficiency are all useful skills, all transferable from sport into a working life.

Sport, like many drugs, conjures emotions few experience during their typical day at work. Don’t get me wrong, I have been to some pretty dark places, but the highs have been incredible and live long after the moment has gone. I have shared some experiences like no other in both my job and my hockey, and even now, they still bring tears of joy.

There is always more than one way to live your life. I choose to live mine this way!

Rebecca Condie, Cardiac Science STP trainee


See also: Cardiac Science trainee to represent Scotland at hockey European Championships

Last updated on 4th September 2019

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