Do you think studies help or hinder an elite athlete’s performance?
My studies have actually helped me with my playing – it sounds crazy, but I think a lot of athletes find this. It’s given me another focus, and something to take my mind off football when I’m not training or playing. I feel like I have better work–life balance, which helps both my playing and my uni results.
Why did you choose your course?
I’m studying a Bachelor of Business – I liked that it has common first year, and then you choose your major in second year. My major is Management and Innovation. It really interests me because it offers dynamic and global career choices in business – which I’d like to pursue post-football.
What is it about VU’s Block Model of teaching that’s so different to other unis?
In my first year I studied the traditional model (before the Block Model was introduced). It was hard juggling multiple subjects over a longer period (12 weeks). Block Model helps me set goals and get subjects done a lot quicker – in just four weeks. Doing one subject at a time, I’m not struggling to manage training, playing and studying.
Are there any positives to this tough time in isolation – and how are you staying sane?
I’m staying positive – taking this as an opportunity to focus more on my degree as I have a lot of spare time. The Block Model reduces the stress of multiple subjects – and the smaller class sizes mean we still have opportunities to interact with classmates and teachers via Zoom.
I’ve been keeping in touch with friends and family with video-conferencing – including weekly Zoom trivia nights with friends. For my mental and physical wellbeing, doing some sort of physical activity every day outside always makes me feel better. I’m staying disciplined with a daily routine too: it helps me create achievable goals and a real sense of purpose.
What’s your advice to uni newbies?
Talk to everyone you can, ask loads of questions and if you’re not sure of something, make sure you speak up! Things move quickly and you’re lucky to have the Block Model’s smaller classes so your teachers have more time for you as an individual, so use them whenever you can.
Finally, how did it feel to kick that first goal in the 2016 Grand Final?
It was quite surreal, at only my 11th AFL game. It was an amazing moment to be in the centre of the roar of 100,000 people all celebrating at once.