Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) Elite Athlete Program member and recent Senate Scholarship recipient, Erin McKinnon, proves that you can balance competing in sport while maintaining outstanding grades.

Carly Aasheim sat down with Erin, or ‘Tall Erin’ as she’s affectionately known at her club, the Sydney Uni Bombers, to talk AFLW, study and life after sport.

How did it feel to be awarded the 2018 Senate Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement?

It was really great to be acknowledged for my academic achievements, especially considering how challenging it is to try and do well in uni while playing sport at a high level. You’re currently studying a B. Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) at Sydney University.

What’s your favourite part of the degree?

Studying Exercise and Sport Science, I quite like how it incorporates a lot of topics which I can relate to my own experiences playing sport.

What is your dream job?

I know that I want to work in the elite sport industry, though in what area exactly, I’m not sure. Originally, I wanted to be a physiotherapist, but now I think I’m more keen on strength and conditioning coaching or sports analysis.

What is your biggest sporting achievement so far?

My biggest sporting achievement would have to be being named in the AFLW All-Australian team this year.

What was the best part about your most recent season?

This last season at the Giants was really amazing. It was great to be a lot more successful this year (finished 4th on the ladder), but quite disappointing to fall short of the Grand Final. The best part would have to be the great group of girls that made up the team as we all got along so well. Also having Alan McConnell come on board as head coach.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll still be playing AFLW. By being drafted at such a young age, it’s great to have this option.

How do you balance study and sport?

Time management and being organised is really important when it comes to balancing study and sport. After I get home from uni I have to make sure I prioritise all of my homework, assignments and study, and make sure that I utilise the limited time I have before trainings to the best of my ability, rather than just sitting on the couch and watching TV, no matter how tempting it is.

What advice do you have for athletes who are struggling to balance their sport and study?

Try and organise yourself sooner rather than later. I find putting together study schedules a couple of weeks before the exam really helps me. That way I can see how much time I have in between sporting commitments so that I’m not as stressed the night before a final exam.

More about the Elite Athlete Program HERE.