T-Birds 5-on-5: Star Studiers

It's that time of year again: Thrive week is now over and finals are fast approaching — the final leg of fall term is upon us. With that in mind, for this edition of 5-on-5 we spoke to five Thunderbirds about exams and coping with school stress while kicking it with their teams.

Kerman Pannu (KP): Men’s soccer, third year.

Mia Bottrill (MB): Swimming, third year.

Philip Ireri (PI): Track and field, third year.

Jake Hanna (JH): Track and field, second year.

Hayley Madden (HM): Track and field, first year.

1) How has being a student athlete impacted your wellbeing?

KP: It keeps me on a schedule and forces me to manage my time well. This helps me prioritize what needs to be done now and what can wait. Also, training daily is a great stress reliever.

MB: Knowing I have teammates that are going through the same things as I am balancing school and swimming, and also having them as a support group to talk to if I'm stressed about something [really helps].

PI: Being a student athlete forces me to eat healthy, sleep well and since we train about six times a week, I'm rarely out partying. It also involves lots of exercise so that's great. However I'm taking a full course load as well and sometimes it's tricky to balance the two.

JH: Definitely for the better! Obviously it keeps me physically fit, but it also helps me de-stress and keep focused on what I want to do.

HM: I think it's really helped me stay sane. Being a student athlete means that there's a whole network of teammates and coaches who will support you no matter what. That can be very comforting.

Hayley Madden successfully clears a hurdle.
Hayley Madden successfully clears a hurdle. Courtesy Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

2) Does being in a varsity team help you regulate the daily stresses of university life?

KP: Yes. Being around some of your best buddies, where you all are striving for gold every day, definitely helps keep my mind fresh and off of school stress. It gives me a whole new world away from the classroom.

MB: Swimming nine times a week can be pretty stressful but when I go to the pool I try to forget about school related stuff.

PI: Yes very much so. Every time I have practice after a stressful day/week I usually feel better after literally running it off. It's definitely an outlet for university stress!

JH: Yes, when I am at practice I don't need to worry about anything else, and it's a nice escape from reality.

Jake Hanna strides ahead of his opponents.
Jake Hanna strides ahead of his opponents. Courtesy Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

HM: Definitely, going to practice is a great way to de-stress, burn off a little energy and just clear your mind. When I'm at practice I can forget about everything else and just focus on what's happening in the moment.

3) What is your favorite way to procrastinate?

KP: I like to beat my roommates in FIFA and watch TV.

MB: Netflix, napping and going on Instagram for way too many hours.

PI: Watching anime and reading manga. I've been a huge fan since I was in grade 8 and haven't stopped since.

Philip Ireri battles for position in a race.
Philip Ireri battles for position in a race. Courtesy Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

JH: 100 per cent Netflix like most people, especially if it's a Thursday and the new Riverdale is out.

HM: Taking my dog on really long walks.

4) What is your go-to study snack?

KP: Definitely chocolate and some ice cream. Chips can have their days too.

MB: Depending on what I'm studying for, either [an] apple and peanut butter or ice-cream.

Mia Bottrill competing in a backstroke event.
Mia Bottrill competing in a backstroke event. Courtesy Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

PI: Fruits! I usually end up eating two oranges and two apples during a study session. I also end up drinking lots of really cold water because it helps keep me awake.

JH: Probably trail mix or dark chocolate.

HM: Popcorn.

5) Why do you think people should be active to thrive in campus?

KP: Some sort of exercise daily will help you reduce stress immensely. It is fun and a great way to meet new people. Staying active keeps your mind and body happy and healthy.

Kerman Pannu celebrates a goal for UBC.
Kerman Pannu celebrates a goal for UBC. Courtesy Rich Lam/UBC Athletics

MB: You gotta be active to sprint across campus in 10 minutes!

PI: I believe being in university is an opportunity to grow intellectually but also to explore your talents. It doesn't have to be sports based at all, it can be music, dance, debate etc. UBC has lots of clubs and is an excellent platform to discover more things about yourself, because you never know where they could lead or what value they can add to your life.

JH: I think if people were more active they would [be] happier and less stressed.

HM: Being active is a great way to bring balance to your life. If you're just studying all the time, you're probably going to burn out. Going outside or to the gym allows you to let your mind relax and forget about anything that's stressing you out.