I have always felt it is important to make the most of my opportunities both in my sporting career and at university. I have been lucky enough to travel the world playing water polo, including receiving a scholarship to study in the US and playing professionally in Greece, which is where I am currently.   

These are my top four tips for juggling study, water polo and international travel, while aiming to perform at my best both in the classroom and on the world stage... 

Have a plan  

I have all my commitments detailed in a yearly calendar so that I can reschedule any assignments or exams that might clash in advance. I also use a weekly diary to plan my study and recovery between training sessions.  

Set short term goals 

Having this yearly calendar somewhere visible, alongside a weekly diary, helps me set short-term goals for the week to maximise my productivity. 

If I know I have a lighter training block, I will set more goals for uni and vice versa. This also helps me stay motivated in all areas of my life.

Be proactive  

I always try to approach my Elite Athlete Program Coordinator and professors with all my commitments and a proposal for how we might reschedule any clashes at the beginning of the term. 

I find that taking this initiative means they are more willing to cater to my needs. 

Work out what is best for you  

I have watched cohorts of students graduate before me, but I know that I only have a small window of time to pursue a professional sporting career and perform at my best.

I have chosen to study part-time to harness my potential as a water polo player, but with the knowledge that my career in the pool will come to an end, and that I'd like to have a successful career after sport. I am incredibly grateful for the support of UNSW and the Elite Athlete Program who have allowed me to study flexibly throughout my degree. 

UNSW student and Olympic Water Polo representative Amy Ridge.

UNSW student and Olympic Water Polo representative Amy Ridge, Photo: Tamara Sales.