The Western Bulldogs’ Isabel Huntington isn’t your ordinary footballer. The former No. 1 pick balances her footballing responsibilities while studying a Bachelor of Science at University of Melbourne and completing rehab for her second knee reconstruction. She details her incredible life outside of the AFLW in an exclusive column.
Being at university, my life can be somewhat irregular. I don’t have a set routine for my week so it all just depends on which day of the week you ask but my life is fairly hectic.
I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne which is 16 to 20 contact hours per week and a fair bit of studying outside of that.
It can be fairly hectic compared to some other courses but I stay on top of the workload.
When I am at university, I spend most of the day there studying and attending classes before heading straight to training.
I don’t have a full-time job at the moment because of university but I work casually with Katherine Smith and her AFLW coaching business running clinics and training sessions for aspiring female footballers.
At the moment I am doing three rehab sessions a week at the club for my ACL injury, which normally range from three to four hours.
It certainly adds up in terms of time and I often check my watch and think ‘gee, I’ve been here a while,’ so my life is full on at the moment and it’s only going to get busier as the season starts and my workload builds up again.
I generally try to finish my rehab, conditioning and strength training within the one session if it isn’t pre-season or in-season, but if I have more time I aim to get into the club as much as possible.
The time I wake up isn’t particularly impressive compared to some of the other AFLW players.
I normally start my university day around 9am or 10am and then won’t return home after training until around 8pm, so my days can be quite long.
Part of balancing study, work and training is finding time to study, which is normally left until night.
I will usually study until midnight, I definitely take a few breaks in between but I am much more of a night person so I find it easier to focus then.
It’s undoubtedly challenging when you’re trying to maintain a work-life balance, and you’ll find with most of the AFLW players that studying and working that it is difficult.
The hardest part to balance is as the season approaches and you want to spend more time at the club, and the club also requires you to spend more time there, but you’re busy with other commitments.
I enjoy having balance and once you get into a routine it certainly makes life easier.
Being involved in the AFLW has been an incredible experience and I can’t wait for the future. The league has had an amazing impact for society in general and the advancement of gender equality.
As challenging as it can be, balancing life and work with sport is a unique part of the women’s game. It has opened up so many opportunities for women and I can’t wait for it to continue to grow.