Holly Cliffe - Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education

Holly Cliffe has always been an active person, loving all things related to sport and exercise. After going straight into the workforce out of high school, before going on an OE, Holly worried she had missed the boat for study. However, after having her son, she decided she wanted to do something for her career and future that would bring her joy in the workplace.

“I have spent the last three years juggling university, motherhood and full-time work, and while it has been incredibly tough at times it has also been so rewarding in many different ways.”

After going on maternity leave at a job she disliked, Emily refocused on what was important to her and decided to take the plunge and begin studying in a field she was passionate about.

“I was accepted into a couple of different universities and decided on the University of Auckland because of its reputation and the great expansion for opportunities in my chosen programme.”

Holly chose the Sport Science pathway during her degree because she was captivated by the core physiology papers she encountered throughout the programme.

As I delved into the intricacies of human physiology, I found myself increasingly drawn to the profound effects of exercise on the body. These papers not only sparked an initial interest but also fostered a deep understanding of the subject matter that I had not anticipated before embarking on my degree.

Holly Cliffe Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education

“The exploration of physiological mechanisms behind exercise-induced adaptations, such as cardiovascular responses, muscular adaptations, and metabolic changes, fascinated me and unveiled a newfound passion for unravelling the complexities of human movement and physical performance. This realisation ultimately solidified my decision to focus on exercise physiology, driven by my desire to explore the fascinating interplay between exercise, the human body, and optimal health.”

Holly loves the confidence studying as given her, admitting that before entering university, she found academic study difficult.

“I went into university with the right mindset and wanted to learn, with that came academic results I had never achieved before!”

Like many university students, Holly has had to juggle studies with work to maintain financial stability.

“I was lucky enough to be offered a full-time job in the industry my degree was working towards, meaning for the final year of my degree I have been juggling full-time study with full-time employment. While it has been one of the toughest years managing everything on my plate I consider myself very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to get into the Health Sport and PE industry whilst also being able to continue my studies.

“I am working alongside youth in the sporting field and developing a full school initiative for health and wellbeing in the sporting space, while also working with a smaller group of athletes with a holistic approach to their wellbeing and aligning their sports with all other factors of life.”

Holly has been surprised to find that the courses that made her feel the most uncomfortable while completing, have provided her with the best insights and confidence in the workforce.

“Learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable has been a massive learning curve for me and has assisted in me growing as a person. The experiences throughout the programme that replicated real world situations provide you with the ability to tackle the challenges you will face daily.”

Watching the impact she has had on the growth and development of the youth she is working with is the best part of Holly’s current role.

“You become a support network for them, and it’s amazing to see how much they look to you for support and guidance.”

To anyone considering studying the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Education, Holly suggests familiarising yourself with the various pathways to ensure completing the right pre-requisite courses and having no timeline clashes.

“Also build a strong support group and network with your cohort, you are all going through a similar experience and no doubt you will face similar challenges or questions. It also makes the group work that much more enjoyable.

“Get involved and make the most of the opportunities that come your way!”