September 28, 2020

BY CODY MUDGE

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Starting college is intimidating. You’ve likely found yourself in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by people you hardly know and only the vaguest impressions of what the next few months are going to be like. Perhaps you’re in a new city or even a new province or country and you want to do more with your spare time than watch Netflix on an endless loop.

Conestoga College’s intramural sports programs offer students a chance to play a sport they love and remain active. First semesters can by very trying but the potential benefits of being involved in collegiate intramurals are numerous.

According to Dr. John Ratey, a psychiatrist with Harvard University, everyone knows that exercise makes them feel better, but most people have no idea why. He wrote about the subject in a press release, saying, “We assume it’s because we’re burning off stress or reducing muscle tension or boosting endorphins, and we leave it at that. But the real reason we feel so good when we get our blood pumping is that it makes the brain function at its best.”

This boost in brain ability facilitates learning. Through his career in psychiatry, Ratey has explored the roots in our brains and evolutionary history surrounding activity, social interaction and learning. An active lifestyle for students can be critical in their academic success. Even just getting out of the house or dorm has a positive effect.

Students don’t even need to worry about their skill level when it comes to intramurals. Sure, there’s a championship to vie for, it wouldn’t be much of a sports league if there wasn’t, but that isn’t the point. Intramurals are about being active and having fun and you don’t need to be a star athlete to do either of those things.

“This is a great opportunity to make new friends, stay active and enrich your college experience,” said Ilana Romanow, the intramural co-ordinator for Conestoga’s Doon campus.
Currently, Conestoga College has intramural programs for volleyball, dodgeball, indoor soccer, squash, ball hockey and ice hockey. Teams meet once a week and students may need to pay a fee in order to participate depending on which sport they choose as well as ensure they have the proper equipment necessary for the sport. Individuals are welcome to sign-up as well as groups
If you’re interested in suggesting a new sport, contact Romanow at the college. She is open to any suggestions that students might have to improve the intramural program.

“Intramural sports are offered after school, which should not conflict with any class time. This is a good opportunity to take a break and refresh your mind,” Romanow said.

She encourages new students to take a chance on intramural sports to gain the advantages of being active, meet new people with similar interests and participate in a co-operative group activity. A sedentary lifestyle might be tempting to a student who feels overwhelmed but being a shut-in shouldn’t be the answer.

Students have to try and get over their nervousness and fear of starting a new semester and focus on their health. This approach ensures that even when stress builds and deadlines seem unachievable you’re empowered enough to think clearly.

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