The Oxford School of Drama

Third Year student insight

We asked a student if they had ways to look after their wellbeing while studying on a full time Acting Course.

Maximilian Graham, a Third Year student, gave this insight..


There are lots of things that I find really important in order to stay healthy whilst training. Keeping healthy and looking after your instrument is vital whilst here.

For me the most important thing about staying healthy and ready to work all day is my sleep. I’m someone that struggles when they haven’t slept enough so I try to keep a regular sleep schedule. Using an app like Sleep Cycle really helps. I also make sure I’m winding down before bed properly by either reading or listening to an audiobook. There are times in the course where I haven’t been as disciplined with this and it has made a big difference (by watching an extra episode or playing a few extra games of FIFA). It does really catch up. The terms are 11 weeks long so your stamina is extremely important. Habits are easy to maintain earlier on but as the term progresses they sometimes fall by the wayside. Keeping little things like sleep and food prep up makes life a lot easier.

Third Year student insight

Good food and food prep is extremely important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having energy that lasts you through the day. It sounds obvious but energy is vital to getting the most out of actor training. Your time is limited at the school so make the most of it. I have changed my eating patterns and experimented with food constantly throughout my time both on the foundation course and the 3 year course. For example I went though a phase of drinking no coffee to avoid a caffeine crash and I also tried just eating veggie lunches as they were easier to digest. I often find that when I don’t eat well or I am not quite on it with my prep my day is affected. There isn’t a shop that you can just pop to, so make sure you have enough with you to last the day! Running out of food during a day here is the worst! If you forget to make lunch there is a food van that comes to the site but it’s more expensive and not necessarily as nutritious! I only use it to get a cheeky chocolate bar or a can of coke if I have a less demanding afternoon.

When it comes to what I eat I try and keep it as balanced as possible, but I also want to enjoy it. Have plenty of snacks as they really help you get through the day. I bring in lots of fruit (an apple, a banana and an orange) everyday, nuts to graze on and cereal bars. Make sure you are bringing in snacks that give you long lasting energy not just short bursts.

I batch cook lunches for the week so I’m not spending every morning making my breakfast and my lunch in a rush. It is also far more cost effective. Being well prepared in terms of food really helps with maximising down time and resting after school. In the winter I like to prep stews, rice dishes or soups that I then warm in the microwaves at school. Eating lots of pulses and grains is not only healthy but again helps you stay present and energised for the whole day. I do love a good sandwich as well but I always make sure I’m using a seeded loaf or brown bread.

Third Year student insight

I exercise a fair amount outside of school time as well. I play football once or twice a weekend but around shows and leading up to them I tend not too as I don’t want to get injured. Doing some exercise that’s not with everyone else helps me step out of the school bubble and takes my mind off the work. I have also recently started going to the gym. I go two or three times a week before school in the morning. It’s a very early start but it definitely boosts my productivity and I am ready to attack the day rather than feeling as though I have just rolled out of bed. A few people go in the evening after school has finished, but I prefer the morning as it keeps my evening free.

When it comes to drinking and going out… do it! But I would say make sure you get your sleep on at least two of the nights. I know this sounds really boring but it really makes a difference to the start of the week. Letting loose is soooo important. So have a wild one on Friday and a nice Saturday night in to recuperate. Definitely don’t go out during the week. I have tried it before and never did it again. It can be really tempting especially if you have friends living in Oxford but try and steer clear.

I have found routine to be really important during my time here and this is just a sharing of my experience. This is what has worked for me over the last few years. I haven’t been religious with all the things I have mentioned but when I have done these things I’m far happier and the quality of my work is higher. Looking after yourself and staying healthy makes everything easier and keeps your mental health good during your training. To whoever is reading this I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a lot of fun in your training here or elsewhere!

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