Thursday 16th February
St Johnstone defender Joe Shaughnessy, accompanied by Saint’s School Engagement Manager Megan Moss, visited Perth Academy last Monday to deliver an inspirational message about balancing education and sports.
Shaughnessy, who is currently working on a maths degree, spoke to a first-year maths class about the importance of continuing higher education. Influenced by the encouragement of family members to continue education, Shaughnessy described how “easy it is to get caught up in the everyday of football and not recognise what will come after your career, no matter how successful”.
In addition to considering future prospects, Shaughnessy also discussed time management. Though he describes how St Johnstone’s training schedule allows for time to easily balance both football and studies, it still takes a bit of self-discipline.
“You have to discipline yourself to go home and study. I suppose when you’re bringing that into football, you’ve got to discipline yourself, and not take any shortcuts. You’ve got to concentrate on what you’re doing all the time.”
Shaughnessy also advised other young footballers to consider doing something along side football, explaining how “when you’re playing football, you’re around the same people everyday (…) It’s all football, football, football. Doing maths, allows you to broaden the people you talk to, and it definitely helps you to become more well-rounded as an individual.”
Perth Academy Rector Jonathan Lothian added “It was a pleasure to welcome Joe (Shaughnessy) into the school and have our students receive an inspirational message reinforcing the value of lifelong learning as well as the importance of values such as ambition and perseverance”.
Saints' midfielder Chris Millar, who recently earned his degree in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting, though not on this school visit, had similar thoughts when interviewed earlier.
“I think anything to just better yourself and keep your horizons open. You can only be a sportsman for so long, it’s a short career, and you have to look to after. I think it’s important for any footballer or athlete, to plan for your future.”
Millar additionally explains how getting his degree helped him on the pitch. “I found it was really good to use your brain again, using that side of the ‘ol grey matter. I found it refreshing, and I was playing well, because I wasn’t just constantly thinking about football”.
When asked about the visit, Saints' School Engagement Manager Megan Moss added “I just think if you have an important message and a platform to deliver it, you should make yourself heard. In this case, I think it is very important for young aspiring athletes to know it is possible to balance education and sports, and hearing it from the professional football players themselves makes it all the more potent.”
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