A Crazy Student Athlete

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Written by Whitney Nichols.

When it comes to graduating high school, you immediately realize that you are finally growing up and officially becoming an adult, who will soon start making decisions for there individual self rather quickly. Things change, people change, and not to mention, your schedule starts to change as well. Summer quickly passes, and all the sudden you are heading off to your first day of college. One to three classes a day isn’t so bad unless you are a college athlete. From starting your day off at 6 AM to soon climbing into bed at midnight, the journey of a student-athlete is nothing short of easy. It’s quite crazy if I do say so myself.

Coaches and supporters. Source: Maci Bonacorsi.

When you think of a student-athlete, what comes to mind? For me, I think of a student-athlete as being a participant in a competitive sport which is sponsored by the educational institution where he or she is enrolled. Student-athletes are full-time students as well as full-time athletes. Between classes, practice, studying, and a whole lot of matches to be played, you really don’t receive a lot of free time for yourself. At times, student-athletes find themselves in a rut, to say the least. Trying to find time to complete all of their tasks on their list can be difficult with the load that he or she may be carrying due to being a college athlete. That’s when planning a healthy schedule comes in handy.

First and for most, keep your eyes on the prize. Whether or not you want to go pro, academics should be your No. 1 priority in college. Even if your goal is to be a professional athlete, life can change your plans faster than you think. Being a college athlete doesn’t last forever. It’s important to think about life after college, specifically what you want to accomplish after graduation. But, if your dream of going pro does come true, focus on your studies because for any athlete to be eligible to play, maintaining a solid GPA is extremely crucial.

Whitney in action. Source: Darrin Stewart.

Prioritize what’s important. When it comes to being a student-athlete, at times you find yourself having to sacrifice a lot of things. Skipping out on a social event with friends is more than likely to happen. Why? Being a student-athlete means that practice or even a match must come first, besides your studies of course. But if you plan your schedule in advance, meaning when you first receive your class syllabi or even your practice/match schedule, you can find a way to spend weekends with family and friends without having to worry about other obligations. Enjoying your free time keeps you healthy in a way where planning ahead of time is key.

Lastly, study wisely and don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you are a student-athlete, you don’t want to exhaust yourself by spending all your time either in class or at practice. If you study smart and use your time wisely, you can successfully balance academics, athletics, and social events. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach for help when it comes to the academic side of things. They understand academics are your first priority, so if you have an important exam coming up, they might be OK with you missing practice to study. Don’t forget that your professors are there to help you succeed as well.

From balancing your studies, sport, and overall social life, at times, it can be challenging, but not impossible. Remember to focus on your academics and long-term goals, and create a schedule that allows you to balance all aspects of the college experience.

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