Life through the eyes of a student-athlete in university

July 4, 2023

As a recruit for Université de Montréal’s varsity tennis team this year, I can confirm that being a student-athlete and representing my university has been a fascinating experience with many benefits.

The atmosphere

It’s an incredible atmosphere! We’re 11 girls and 11 guys, accompanied by two coaches, defending Université de Montréal’s Carabins varsity colours in tennis. We are all very motivated to win our tennis matches to climb to the top of the ranking and win the title.

It’s an enriching and exciting experience for players looking to succeed in the sport. Nevertheless, you need to find balance between your course load and training. To achieve success in both areas, you need to be very well organized. And it’s well worth it, because you’re in for an incredible experience!


Intensive tennis training takes place at IGA Stadium. Every week, we have two two-hour training sessions to prepare for the Québec university championship. Our sessions are intensive because we don’t have many hours dedicated to training.

All Carabins varsity sports also have free access to the Carabins gym, in addition to the public gyms. We need to go at least twice a week to physically prepare for any competition.

In total, you need to be prepared to train at least six hours a week.

The tournaments

The season for university tournaments starts in January and ends in April.

In 2023, the draw is made up of men’s teams come from six universities and women’s teams from 4 universities. At the start of the season, the makeup of the women’s team and men’s team is already set, but, depending on the strategies in place, the team makeup can change.

Then, every or almost every weekend, the universities meet for home games or away games to play six singles matches and three doubles matches. At the beginning of April, the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals are played out. The winners earn the title of Québec Champion, but there’s more!

In August, a Canadian championship is held. The best teams from the provinces meet for a competition at an even higher level! The winners earn the title of Canadian University Tennis Champion. For my part, my university’s men’s team has already won the title in 2022! As for the women’s team, they took third place in the Canadian championship.

The Québec university singles championships between student-athletes take place in November. It’s a good tournament to get a taste of university competition.

The benefits of being a student-athlete

When you are a student-athlete in a varsity sport, many benefits are available to you. For example, if you get injured, you have access to a certain number of free medical appointments with a sports physician or with a physiotherapist. It’s helpful when you’re doing a high-intensity sport, especially since student-athletes need to go to the gym regularly. But no worries, as I said before, you have free access to gyms!

At the start of the academic year, you get free Carabins varsity apparel that you wear to university matches and a photographer comes to take group photos and individual photos of all the players.

After a competitive year filled with emotions, a gala is held to get all student-athletes together from every sport representing Université de Montréal. The gala celebrates and acknowledges student-athletes who are involved in sports to defend the school’s colours.

Being a student-athlete in university is an enriching experience where you get to meet passionate players who also expect a lot from themselves. You need to know how to maintain an academic-sport balance, and flourish in your social life so you can enjoy an exciting experience that you won’t find anywhere but in Canada!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.