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School of Engineering Blog

School of Engineering Blog

A blog for students, staff, alumni and friends of the School of Engineering.

Getting involved in University sport

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Katherine, fourth year, MEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

Getting involved with a sports team was one of the best choices I made at university. Joining a sports team has not only helped me keep fit and active, but has also allowed me to meet lots of new friends from a whole range of backgrounds, ages and degree programmes.

My journey in fencing

I started fencing at school aged 11, so that I could enjoy an indoor sport in the winter time, however continued to take part all year around. Fencing is a combat sport that involves fighting with swords – there are three different weapons: épée, sabre and foil. I later joined a local fencing club, and started fencing more regularly at competitions across the UK.

At school, I fenced foil, a sword where the torso is the target area, however picked up sabre, a weapon where everything above the waist is target area, when joining the university club. Fencing is usually an individual sport, however at university there is a unique team version of the event which brings together fencers from all three weapons on one team. It’s been lovely to bond with teammates from other weapons, who I would not have ordinarily fenced with.

When I came to university, I found the fencing club at the Sports Union fair, and joined them through their website. Older club members were very approachable and welcoming, and it didn’t take me long at all to fit in with the fabric of the club. Team trials often happen in the first week of the academic semester, so if you are looking for a place on one of the first teams, it is worth putting in some practice at home before arriving, so you can be at your best for the trials.

Why join a sports team?

Learn something new

Personally, I became very involved with the fencing club, however there are over 68 different sports clubs to choose from. Often, it is an inexpensive way to try a new sport, or continue an old sport. There is a number of different clubs and teams to suit everyone, whether you wish to play competitively, or just casually with friends. Many sports also have evening and weekend training sessions, and these are a great opportunity to improve and learn new skills.

I have fenced for many years, however, students often pick up a new sport at university. Many sports clubs offer tuition for beginners, as well as experienced athletes. My sports club has personally supported me through a number of qualifications, including coaching qualifications and referee qualifications. Opportunities exist in the number of sports clubs to volunteer in these kinds of roles.

Unwind from your studies

I personally find sport a great way to relax. I find it manageable to be involved with my sports team, without compromising my study time. I found having time away from my studies to play sport a really good way of maintaining my work-life balance, and it has also been beneficial to have a weekly routine.

My club has also arranged many social events, including ceilidhs and balls, which have been a fantastic way to socialise with current club members and alumni alike.

Compete at any level

I have had the opportunity to compete on behalf of the university at multiple competitions and events. Many sports clubs compete in British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) league. Typically, matches are held weekly during term time on Wednesday afternoons, or at weekends.

Participating in a BUCS league has given me the opportunity to fence at multiple different universities across the UK. It has been enjoyable to travel across the country with my friends and teammates, including getting to know students who compete for other universities. Many clubs have teams of different abilities, so matches are of a competitive and enjoyable standard, ranging from novice to world-class. In the fencing club, I have had the opportunity to train alongside many international athletes and world-class coaches.

Additionally, there is an intramural league available in some sports which allow you to play on behalf of your school or society, against other similar clubs. This can be an excellent way to play sports and unwind with your classmates.

Make lifelong memories and friendships

Overall, playing sport has been one of my personal highlights in my time at Edinburgh. There is such a great sports community, and so many opportunities to get involved. I’ve made friendships and connections which I hope will last long after I graduate – I’ve shared so many amazing and unforgettable experiences with my teammates.

p.s. If you’re packing for university, I would definitely recommend packing your sports equipment. While many clubs have equipment available to borrow, there is nothing quite the same as using your own equipment!

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