It’s challenging to juggle being a student, a friend and sometimes just being a functioning human being and remembering to do our laundry and feed ourselves. Therefore, when you throw another label—“athlete”—into the mix, life can become as hard as juggling rings of fire if you don’t have a plan.
As an incoming freshman for Fordham University’s women’s basketball team, Taryn Durant feels that her high school has prepared her well. It now “comes naturally to find a down moment in my day to read or do some form of work,” she says. “I believe it is all about knowing when your workouts are and not being lazy in between them.”
Stacy Berg, a rising junior softball player for Washington University in St. Louis, says, “It may sound strange, but I think being a student athlete can force you to stay on top of your work. When you have a lot of free time, you’re able to put off doing work because you know you’ll have time later.” We all know this too well. That’s why the key for Berg has been to use her time wisely.
Savannah College of Art and Design rising junior Kerry Stephens has learned to work ahead on her projects whenever she can. “I make sure I am aware of the details that my projects require ahead of time, for instance being prepared to print and mount my project before they are finished.” Paying attention to detail as an art student is crucial, and Stephens makes sure to allot time in her busy schedule for these preparations in between swim practices, workouts and meets.
Lane Clelland, a rising senior football player at the University of Notre Dame, believes that you have to be able to “turn your athletic self on and off” to be successful. “When you are at that sports practice or event, nothing else can matter. You have to indulge yourself in order to be successful in whatever you do.” It’s all about “allowing yourself to be fully focused on that task at hand.” That way, when you are doing something whether it’s related to your sport or to your education, you are being as productive as possible and not wasting any physical or mental power, which is important so you can make time to hang out with friends or catch up on sleep.
Lara Tomaszewski, the assistant coach for Stevenson University’s women’s volleyball team, explains that “the epitome of living a great life is living a well-balanced life, and the balance can be quite challenging and is different for everyone.” It does take “discipline and individual responsibility,” she says, “but once it is found, it is a great foundation for life” as a student, as an athlete and as a professional.
If you can integrate these tips into your life as a student athlete, than your life will look less like a circus juggling act and more like that of the put-together, organized athletic academic that you have become.