Between academics and athletics, is conflict inherent? The students from the University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) manage time properly, focus on the present moment, and make wise trade-offs to achieve the complementarities of a balanced student-athlete life.

Alan Wai Lon TAM, a second-year student of FHS, is the President of Karate Club of the UM Students’ Association Sports Federation. Inspired by his high school teacher, Alan has stepped onto courts of karate since his first year of secondary school. After years of persistent efforts, his success in various competitions is impressive. Life is a limited amount of time and energy, how can it be used for maximum impact of both academics and athletics? Concentration is Alan’s key to achieve a balanced student-athlete life. “I only think about the practice when I am standing on the court, and these thoughts won’t come up to my mind when I am having my studies in laboratories or classrooms,” says Alan. “When you force attention onto the current situations that truly matter, anything you do in that moment is the most you can obtain at that time.” Being focused is Alan’s secret to be in two minds with academics and athletics.

Winky Xuanqi CUI, a third-year student of FHS, is a member of the badminton team of the UM. She needs to have a demanding practice for competitions in her onerous study schedule. “University team members are not accorded with any privileges. The requirements of course hours, levels, assignments and credits are the same as other students. Therefore, we need to make the most of every minute,” says Winky. According to her, time management is a vital component of success in balancing academics and athletics. She always makes good use of prioritization strategies in juggling studies and intensive training with the principle that academics must always come first. She accepts the fact that as a student athlete, academics and athletics will consume the majority of her time, yet, she has no hard feelings on this and just enjoys these golden years, and give her studies and sport most she can.

Conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, reviewing and writing papers are part of the heavy course load of a doctoral student of FHS. Gigi, Chi Teng LEI, the PhD student of FHS, manages to handle her study demands, and is in the midst of competing on the UM volleyball team as an athlete. She thought that an optimal balance between academics and athletics relies on a good time management, and naturally triggers a need for trade-offs. “To have enough time to do what we want to do depends on what we decide to do with the 24 hours in our day. Eliminating those tasks that are unimportant or add no value enables me to create time to achieve my goals. When you stick yourself to a phone for hours, you actually let your time sneak out.” says Gigi. “Time will reward you when you treat it nicely.”

Alan, Winky and Gigi all think that sports in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Concurrently, the spirits of persistence, diligence, exploration, innovation developed from conducting research enabled them to be determined in sports, overcome fear of failures and take up a gauntlet. Academics or athletics? Why not both? According to the three students, academics and athletics can complement each other and together contribute to a meaningful and fruitful university life.

Alan, Wai Lon TAM

Winky, Xuanqi CUI (Middle)

Gigi, Chi Teng LEI

Gigi, Chi Teng LEI (1st row, middle)