For so many varsity student-athletes, having the chance to compete and play sport at the university level represents the pinnacle of their sport journey. The twists and turns student-athletes take to reach the top of their game are numerous, varied and certainly unique to each indivdual’s own experiences in sport.
And, more often than not, there is very little appreciation for the efforts, motivations and inspirations that drive each of these athletes to want to play varsity sport. Like the tip of an iceberg, so much more can be found below the water line.
Anchored in the efforts to spotlight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) student-athletes, the initiative See How She Got Started showcases and tells the story of how some of the conference’s talented student-athletes first got involved in sport and have made their way to the varsity stage on which they currently shine.
It is also hoped that their stories can inspire young athletes to aspire to compete in varsity-level sports.
To help facilitate storytelling, each student-athlete was asked eleven questions that addressed a variety of topics. In addition to asking about their study majors, hometowns and years of eligibility, we asked questions that would help them share deeper insights around what they thought of their time in university sport; what excited them about competing in the OUA; and when did they believe they could play at the elite level of their sport.
We also wanted to know more about how they first got started, what were their fondest memories, and who or what in their lives had inspired them to strive to be their best athletically.
Finally, we wanted to give each student-athlete an opportunity to share what they thought was unique about their particular sport; the advice they'd give to someone who was thinking about taking up their sport; and what they would say to their 10-year-old self if they could go back in time.
Survey summary statistics are based on the answers received from 90 Student-Athlete respondents who completed and returned our survey.
Student-Athlete Respondent Statistics
Universities Represented By Student-Athlete Respondents
Provinces Represented by Student-Athlete Respondents
Countries Represented by Student-Athlete Respondents
United States of America
Current Year of Study/Eligibility for Student-Athlete Respondents
1st Year (19) - 21%
2nd Year (28) - 31%
3rd Year (18) - 20%
4th Year (19) - 21%
5th Year (4) - 4%
6th Year (2) - 2%
Sports Represented by Student-Athlete Respondents
Basketball - 8
Cross Country - 6
Curling - 5
Fencing - 2
Field Hockey - 3
Figure Skating - 2
Golf - 1
Ice Hockey - 9
Lacrosse - 2
Nordic Skiing - 5
Rowing - 3
Rugby - 14
Soccer - 13
Squash - 2
Swimming - 2
Tennis - 2
Track & Field - 2
Volleyball - 7
Wrestling - 2
University Majors of Student-Athlete Respondents
Science/Tech/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) - 37
Human Behaviour/Psychology/Sociology - 15
Business & Economics - 12
Criminology/Policing - 6
Nursing - 5
Education - 3
Communications/Media & English - 3
Music Performance - 1
Law - 2
Sport & Recreation - 1
Arts & Contemporary Studies - 1
Physical Education - 2
Urban Planning - 1
Philosophy - 1
OUA student-athletes shared many thoughtful and insightful feedback to our questions around their journey to varsity sport. Over the next eleven weeks we will share their stories across multiple sports. We will also share respondent summaries to each progressive survey question posed to student-athletes. We invite you to taket the time to get to know these amazingly talented student-athletes, learn more about what drives them to be their best in their chosen sport and to be inspired by their athletic involvement with the OUA conference.
Question 1 - How did you first get involved in your sport?
Question 2: What most interested you about your sport that made you want to pursue it at a high level?
Question #3: What is your fondest memory/experience of being involved in your sport thus far?
Question #4: What excites you most about continuing your athletic journey at the varsity level within the OUA?
Question 5: Who inspires you to continue to pursue your sport and to pursue it at a high level?
Question 6: Was there a specific moment/experience that led you to believe you could compete in your sport at a high level?
Question 7: What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting in your sport?
Question #8: What is one critical thing you do to experience improvement within your sport?
Question #9: What would you say to your 10-year-old self about playing and staying in sport?
Question #10: What are some of the more unique aspects of your sport that others may not know about?
Question #11: How do you create a positive student/athlete balance in your life? **New Survey Question**
**New Student-Athlete Stories for the sports of Figure Skating, Lacrosse and Tennis!**
Figure Skating (Week 11 New Stories!)
Lacrosse (Week 11 New Stories!)
Tennis (Week 11 New Stories!)
Track & Field
Head to the SWSCD Athlete Advisor, your online athletic business directory. Find, rate and review programs, local community offerings and businesses that will help you do your thing.
Start a group around a physical activity in your neighbourhood. Explore events. Check out our SWSCD Hub.
Look for advice, stories, news and more on our Active Living activity page.
Have a sport, recreation or physical activity accomplishment you'd like to celebrate and shout out through SWSCD? Become a SWSCD member and share your story directly on SeeWhatSheCanDo. Or, simply add the hashtag #seewhatshecando to your public social media posts and SWSCD can help you inspire others around you.
Blog by Caroline Wiley. Caroline bridged her 20+ years of professional experience in the sport and recreation industry together with her passions for photography and supporting women in sport to create SeeWhatSheCanDo. Her vision is to create a welcoming space where active women find a sense of belonging within their own local community, see themselves in authentic and awe-inspiring ways and find resources to help them be their best active selves.
Photos courtesy of Ontario University Athletics and SeeWhatSheCanDo unless otherwise indicated.
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