Demi Mulder

Meet Demi!

Hey, my name is Demi. I study Science and Arts, majoring in Psychology and Sociology. I'm also part of the UNSW Baseball/Softball club and UNSW Muay Thai club as a committee member in both. I was the Arc Sport Intern in 2016, the Festival of Sport Coordinator this year and am currently the Arc HR Intern.  

Sport has always been a part of her life, but the road hasn’t been easy  

I was born and raised in South Africa, where the sports culture is quite prominent. I was fortunate enough to attend a primary school and high school where sport was a very important aspect of the culture so it was easy for me to just get involved. I guess my family is also very involved in sport so that kind of helped. In primary school I played netball, softball and hockey, amongst others, and in high school in South Africa I played softball and hockey.   

When I moved to Australia I attended a high school where sport wasn’t as prominent. It made it a bit more difficult to be part of sport when it wasn't at a competitive level in the high school I attended. I then played hockey for a club, but that was out in Homebush when I lived in Maroubra, which made it very difficult. My mum had to drive me to practice on Thursdays and then again to games on Sundays, also the people were all older than me so I didn't really have many friends there. I ended up stopping after one season because I didn't get much enjoyment out of it.  

Once I finished high school I took a few years off studying and just kind of took my own initiative to be part of sport and stay active. I started doing muay thai at a boxing and muay thai gym in Bondi. It was easy for me to access because I had a scooter, and I was working full time so I had a steady income and could pay for it. But then once I started uni it was very hard to stick to that gym because it was expensive on a student's budget and far away. 

When I found out that there was a muay thai club here at uni it made it so much easier because it's on campus. It was just so convenient! It was affordable as well and with people my own age- other students who share the same interests as me.  

I also did softball in first year, but that was out in St Ives. Games were on Saturdays and it was tough because I was working at a bar on the weekends. So Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays I had work at night, which usually started at 4 o'clock and went until 1 in the morning. Then softball was either really early on a Saturday morning or late in the afternoon, which meant I couldn't be on tome for my shift on Saturday nights. I stopped after a season because it got too inconvenient with my schedule. That’s when, in order to still be active, I had to do my own thing at home - getting workout routines from the internet and that sort of thing. It was only when I started working for Arc in 2016 that I found out about all the clubs that we have and how easy it is to get involved.  

I think I'm very lucky and privileged that sport is part of my life. I see sport as a luxury. Although it is something that everyone can be involved in somehow but things like distance and cost often mean people can't do as much as they'd like. Here at uni there are just so many clubs and so many things going on - and all so easy and cheap - that I feel very lucky to be able to do as much as I currently do.   

Being a student and a sportswoman at the same time has its benefits!  

I think as uni students we tend to get caught up in university work and the stress associated with university. I think sport really helps relieve that stress. It makes you less worried and more productive with your study, which means you have more time to do other things. It is difficult to get that balance, but once you do you actually look forward to being active and going to training sessions. I would definitely be more stressed and very unhealthy from stress eating if I wasn’t involved in sport!  

More than that though, being involved in sport really complements the student life because you also learn so much! You learn things like time management, people skills, communication, discipline, you learn about success and dealing with failure, and all these other things that apply to both sport and everyday life, which a lot of people don't necessarily realise.

The cool thing for me, personally, is that if I wasn't involved in softball/baseball then I wouldn't have gone to unigames and I wouldn't have met the Arc Sports staff, so I wouldn't have applied for my internship with the sport department. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn't have experienced Festival of Sport in 2016 or ultimately become Festival of Sport Coordinator this year. Finally, I wouldn't be involved with Arc to get the HR internship that I currently have. I've basically gotten two jobs and a coordinator position purely because of my involvement in sport. Sport opens so many other doors that you don’t even know of.  

She’s quite passionate about women in sport and wants to get the word out about it  

I think there’s a misconception about women in sports, particularly the martial arts ones. We have so many martial arts clubs on campus and I feel like some girls might not feel comfortable stepping into that area because it can be seen as an aggressive, combative sport and girls may not see themselves in that environment. From my perspective, though, the clubs aren't like that. They're all inclusive and always support female participation. 

We not only have heaps of female members, but girls running the clubs as well! I can understand it could be quite intimidating starting out if it was mostly guys, but it really isn’t like that. We have so many girls and love welcoming new members!  

Arc Sport is so open to questions, so if you feel scared then come and have a chat to the Arc Sport staff. They’re very friendly and they can help you in the right direction and give you advice. The main thing I want girls to do is just try something new. If you don't try it out, then you’re not going to know if you like it. You won’t have that experience to go 'yeah this is for me' or 'nah I want to try something different.' I think the great thing about the She Can campaign is that it offers opportunities to try out the different clubs through the beginner sessions. So the main thing I would suggest is to come along and try it, and then you'll be able to judge if it's a fit for you.    

Also, get friends to do it with you. It's easier if you have some friends with you because then you can motivate each other to go to training or go to social sport or go to training or practice after uni. It will help you commit to that goal. It also makes it more fun! It's not always easy to get up in the morning and go rowing or whatever, but if you know that people are relying on you or that you will have a friend there then you make sport fun as opposed to it just feeling like a chore.   

Lastly, find something that you enjoy. Don't feel like if your friends tell you 'hey lets do soccer', but you don't like ball sports, then that’s your only option.

There’s so many things offered here! There's recreational clubs where people go scuba diving or camping etc., the martial arts type clubs and all the other sports offered as well. With the She Can pop-ups and fitness classes it’s so easy to try things out. So yeah, try something new, bring a friend along and try things until you find something that you like.