Balance: Succeeding as a Student-Athlete

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Media by Rachel Kreid

Around 9 P.M. on a Friday night, while most people are watching movies, going to parties, or hanging out with friends, Allyson Grabowski creates flashcards for her biochemistry course while she sits with her teammates in a small hotel room. Earlier in the day, she and her twenty teammates rode on a bus to Chicago for four hours before competing in two volleyball matches later that afternoon. Despite being physically exhausted, Grabowski, better known as  “Ski” to her teammates and coaches, still manages to put all of her efforts into studying for her next exam before she must go to bed in order to get enough sleep for her matches the following day.

Media by Darrin Stewart

It is no secret that the majority of Greenville University’s student body is comprised of athletes. In any given classroom, most – if not all – of the students participate in a sport, whether it is affiliated with a club or recognized by the NCAA. With student-athletes, a common concern is how to manage athletic and academic responsibilities while achieving success in both areas. While this balance seems to be a constant struggle for almost every student-athlete, Grabowski seems to have figured out the formula to solve this problem. As one of the top liberos in the Saint Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) and as one of the most successful biology majors on campus, many wonder as to how she is so great at balancing it all.

Media by Ryan Nelson

While it may seem like there is some type of mystical gift that allows her to balance it all, the most helpful strategy is to manage time properly. By knowing what assignments to do and when they need to be done, she is able to adjust her schedule so that she can allow herself plenty of time to complete her work. “Organization is a big thing for me,” Grabowski says, “I keep track of all upcoming assignments and tests, and I work ahead to stay on top of things.” Being so “on top of things” does occasionally mean that she has to miss out on some things she enjoys, such as having free time, but in order to truly be a successful athlete, these sacrifices are necessary. “While it may seem boring, I use any free time that I have to work on my academics,” Grabowski remarks.

Media by Ryan Nelson

Admittedly, this disciplined lifestyle may be more easily said than done. Even Grabowski had difficulty adjusting at first. She admits, “When I first came to college, I was very overwhelmed, and it took me a while to figure out the best way to manage my time.” The key is to not be discouraged right away. Like just about anything else, figuring out your balance is like solving a puzzle. It is mostly done by trial and error, which can take quite some time, until the pieces finally fit together perfectly. “Once I figured out a method that worked for me, it was much easier and helped me find balance,” Grabowski says.

While finding balance as a student-athlete is a frustrating and tedious process, it is worth it in the end. “Being a student-athlete at GU is very rewarding. It is a big part of the person I am now and of the person that I hope to be in the future,” Grabowski states.

Media by Ryan Nelson.

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