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Behind The Bench Q&A with Nicole Hegyi and Clare Kilgour

Get an inside look into how two of Dal Commerce’s fiercest female student athletes balance their lives as women in sports and business….

Nicole Hegyi

Q: Tell us about yourself (year of study, program, major, sport, hometown)

A: Hello! My name is Nicole Hegyi and I play on the Varsity Women’s Hockey Team at Dalhousie University. I am going into my fourth year of the Bachelor of Commerce program with a major in Marketing Management.


Q: How do you manage your workload and practice schedule during your in-season? What are some challenges you face? Do you have any advice to incoming student athletes?


A: The biggest skill that I have learned being a varsity athlete at Dal is time management. I found that five practices a week can be overwhelming at times, especially during exam seasons and stressful times. It can be very challenging to focus on both hockey and school at the same time, especially with a full course load. To stay focused, I manage my time around my practices and training and I am really organized in the way I schedule my time and schedule the courses that I want to focus on that day. My advice for incoming student athletes is to not fall behind in the first couple of months, especially when your sport is more intense than your actual course load. It is so important to focus on school and stay ahead of your workload because once you fall behind it is really hard to catch up.

Q: What is your experience being a woman in sport? How has it inspired you to become an overall stronger individual?

A: Being a woman in sport, I have received a lot of respect and disrespect throughout my career. I have had people tell me things that push me to keep going and that inspire me to be the best athlete that I know I can be. I have also had people put me down and tell me that I will never make it, and that as a female hockey player, I won’t get anything out of my hockey career. I think this has taught me to become a stronger individual. Especially in the sense that I do not really care what people think, I am pursuing my sport because it makes me happy. It has also taught me to reach for my goals because I want to get there and not because someone doesn’t think I can. Hockey has inspired me to have a stronger attitude about the things that I am passionate about. I am more confident because the experiences I have had growing up as a woman in hockey.

Q: Have you faced any gender biases in your sport? How have you overcome them?

A: The biggest gender bias that I have experienced as a woman in sport, and I think it is true for all women in sport is the lack of equality between female and male athletes. There are more professional leagues for men, these leagues receive more funding, and they are more appreciated by fans. As a female athlete at Dal on the Varsity Women’s Hockey Team, Dal has been super supportive. However, there is still a lack of support from the student community and the Halifax community. Additionally, we receive less advertising and funding than male sports.

This can be super frustrating at times because we put in the same amount of effort that men do into their sports we are just under appreciated and underfunded. I would not necessarily say that I have overcome this issue, as it is an issue that is pretty prevalent in today’s society and my life.

The gender bias in sport is slowly getting better, and hopefully will be better for future female athletes.

Q: Tell us about how your sport impacts your daily work/school life? Has it inspired you to purse a more demanding post-secondary career?

A: Being a varsity athlete can be super demanding at times and can make my schedule and life really busy. This has affected my daily life and work life balance, especially during the co-op terms of my program. I have had to talk to employers about finding a balance between work and going to practices and games. This has been a struggle at times but has also inspired me to do better in my co-op positions to compensate for any time off I took to pursue my sport. It has also shown me that with balance I can perform well in both my co-op position and my sport. It also allowed me to challenge myself in my career and in my sport, and pushed me to become a better individual.

 

Clare Kilgour

Q: Tell us about yourself (year of study, program, major, sport, hometown)


A: Hi, I’m Clare! I am in third year and majoring in Accounting, and I play for the Dalhousie Women’s Lacrosse Team.


Q: How do you manage your workload and practice schedule during your in-season? What are some challenges you face? Do you have any advice to incoming student athletes?


A: My strategy for balancing school, extracurricular activities and lacrosse in my first two years at Dal, was to focus on my mental health. Going to lacrosse games and practices made me feel really good -mentally and physically. It is great opportunity to get exercise and see friends, and get out of the library and take a break from studying! I knew that

and I found that it was a lot easier to stay focused and have good time management when my mental health was in better shape. What I would recommend to future student athletes, is to make sure that your mental health is a priority and then to make a schedule that works for you! Another thing - I think it is super important to get in a routine of good habitats as quick as possible, because it be hard to fall out of bad habits!



Q: What is your experience being a woman in sport? How has it inspired you to become an overall stronger individual?

A: My experience being a woman in sport, I think is similar to most other women in sport. For women that have grown up playing sports or are still playing sports now, there is always that extra step that we feel like we have to take to prove to others that we have skill in our sports. We don’t take this extra step to prove our skill to our teammates or coaches, but rather to the people in the stands watching and the other students at school. Although constantly taking an extra step may be frustrating, it has benefited my work ethic. The work ethic that I have built through sport is now benefiting me both at school and will benefit me in my future career.

Q: Have you faced any gender biases in your sport? How have you overcome them?


A: I am lucky enough that I have not had any negative experiences being a woman in sport or faced any issues in sport that were directly linked to my gender - which I truly think is a privilege. However, I do think that we need to look at the professional level like the WNBA or the NWSL because many of the problems that these leagues face are directly linked to gender. Many people have an issue with these female sport leagues existing, using arena time, having fans and making money. I think that a good starting point to fix the gender bias in sport, is to start supporting these leagues and to continue to support them.

Q: Tell us about how your sport impacts your daily work/school life? Has it inspired you to purse a more demanding post-secondary career?


A: Playing lacrosse and playing lacrosse at Dal has been awesome! It has really helped me with my mental health and my ability to balance my mental health and school. This balance is super important to me and is the key to my success.

Playing lacrosse at Dal also benefited my time management skills and helped me to form good habits that I was able to transfer over to my co-op jobs. Especially in those co-op jobs with intensive schedules and strict deadlines. In these roles, the time management skills and good habits that I formed through sport were the key to my overall success.



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