A healthy lifestyle is my theme for top sports and studying, says Eva Hovenkamp
Choosing a programme of studies is difficult but, if the chooser already knows what areas of interest or what subjects he or she wants to explore further, then a major obstacle has been overcome. ‘Something related to health’ is what a lot of young people say. Eva Hovenkamp as well. ‘ A healthy lifestyle is my theme for top sports and studying,’ said top athlete Eva, who represented the Netherlands at the Olympic Games in Rio and who also studies. (in het Nederlands, Dutch version)
Helping to improve people’s health
It’s indeed admirable to want to help improve people’s heath. But that’s not enough. There are almost 300 programmes that ‘have something related to health’ Those choosing a programme of studies are familiar with ‘medicine’, but there are many more programmes that focus on human health. ‘I wanted to study something related to health,’ ‘to really stimulate people to live more healthily,’ said top athlete Eva Hovenkamp. ‘But I also love my sport and am very proud of the fact that I’m a top athlete. I’m a sprinter and one of the Dutch record holders for the 4 x 400 m relay race. That qualified me for the Games in Rio. But how do I combine that with studying? A healthy lifestyle, my theme for top sports and studying. And I think that both my sport and my studies are important.’
Top sport and studying ‘something related to health’
‘I train very hard for my sport,’ Eva said. And you have to because otherwise you’ll never reach the top. But I also wanted to study. There are people in my athletics team who say they’ll just follow a lower level of studies.’ But I can study at the university level. And after my sports career, I also want to work at ‘my’ level. Preferably in health. Next to sports, health has always been my passion. And sports and health are of course completely interrelated.
Bachelor Health and Society
To be honest, I’d never heard of my programme before I started to take a closer look at study programmes related to health. Because I already knew that I wanted something in that area. Health and society is a social sciences programme. It concerns the influences of your surroundings on your health. How can you improve the health of a population group? I take subjects like social psychology, health sciences and communication. The goal is to stimulate people in various ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle. In the beginning, I could easily combine studying and top sport. Also because they are both my passion. A healthy lifestyle is my theme for top sport and studying!
Third year is more difficult
I’m now in the third year of my bachelor’s and it’s becoming more difficult. But the university gives a lot of opportunities to combine studying and top sport. I’m not following all of the courses, but I’m spreading them out over a number of years. I’ll spend five instead of three years on my bachelor’s. In the end, it makes no difference.
The lecturers also make extra efforts for me. Twice already, I was unable to take an examination because I had an important match. What’s important … important match … one of those two times was exactly when I was in Rio. They then made a special examination for me. Really super. So I was able to participate in the Olympic Games and further my studies.
A healthy lifestyle is my theme for top sport and studying, even now
I can currently realise a lot of my study-related passion. Because I’m a top athlete, I enjoy name familiarity. With the programme ‘Top Sport Gelderland‘ I went to primary schools, where I gave pupils information about healthy food and a healthy lifestyle. Many primary school pupils are overweight. I want to motivate them to live a healthier life. This is in line with my sport and with my studies. A healthy lifestyle is my theme for top sport and studying: the central thread in my life.
After graduating, I want to continue in this direction. That’s why I’m now taking courses in nutrition. My programme of studies focuses on social sciences, and nutrition is more of an exact science. But it’s easy to combine this. Part of your bachelor programme is the minor. A minor last for half a year. In that period, you can follow subjects that aren’t directly part of your programme. This enables you to broaden your knowledge. I am studying nutrition. After graduating, I’d like to do something in ‘sport nutrition’, for example. But I can also stay in my own area. For example, I could set up all sorts of projects on health, like a government project to prevent overweight or how to help young people stop smoking. And businesses also want to employ top athletes because they’ve shown that they can go for something that motivates them and that this is important.
Following my passion
I think it’s important to follow both of my passions. And I can do so because I was given the freedom to combine studying and sports. A healthy lifestyle is my theme for top sport and studying: I can also make this concrete when I’ve finished studying. I strongly advise everyone to think carefully about what their passion is and then go for it. More’s possible than you’d expect. Eva Hovenkamp