smiling girl posing outside

Adventures of a Student Athlete

I know that college is hard for everyone. This is not an article belittling anyone’s personal difficulties. I just want to highlight student athletes for a moment. I am a freshman and I run for our Track and Field at DSU as a multi-event athlete. This means that I compete in short hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, javelin, 800-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. All multi-event athletes have an extended practice schedule. A typical practice schedule for us would be sprinting and lifting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we have jumps and throws practice.

On top of school and sports, I also have two jobs. I work at Scooter’s, and if it was not obvious, I am a sports reporter for Trojan Times. I chose to work at Scooter’s because not only is having extra money nice, but I also love coffee. I have done volunteer work for coffee shops in the past, so working there is familiar. I chose to work for Trojan Times because I want to go into journalism as my profession when I graduate college. As amazing as it is having two incomes, it can get stressful trying to keep up with my day-to-day tasks.

Because I do have a lot on my plate, I try to make sure I get my schoolwork done the day it is assigned. Typically, I start my homework during the time between class and practice. Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays are my busiest days because I have 3 classes as well as practice, so forcing myself to stay in a routine is essential.

Due to my complicated school and track schedule, I can only work during the weekends. My manager has been very flexible with my scheduling needs, which is one of the reasons I enjoy my job at Scooter’s. As for working with Trojan Times, it typically fits in with my homework. I get assigned to write an article a week, so it is not a burden if I stay on top of everything.

In a perfect world, my schedule is never messed up. I get everything done and turned in on time with enough time to still enjoy binge watching Netflix. Unfortunately, life does not always work out like that. I recently got sick and missed a few days of classes. Having things, such as getting sick or not getting interview responses on time, mess up my schedule is stressful. I have to catch up on all the work I missed and study a bit to make sure I am grasping what I am being taught. This means a lot of late nights and little sleep.

As a student athlete our minds and bodies are being stretched and pushed daily. On top of worrying about school, an athlete also has to think about what to do to better themselves in their sport. The pressure to perform well in every aspect is very stressful. I try to make sure I take time for myself. It is good to remember to take a deep breath and know that everything does not have to get done all at once. Also, I try to remember that no one expects me to be perfect. My coaches, manager and editor have all been very understanding, which helps lower the stress.

It is important to take care of my mental health. A part of being in college and away from home is having to realize that there will not always be someone to wake you up on time, force you to do homework, or go to practice. When I have good mental health and am motivated, getting things done feels a lot easier.

As for my social life, I would not say it is nonexistent. My friends and I have movie nights during the week, whenever we are not catching up on homework. I typically hangout with them after work on the weekends if I have any homework that can wait till next day. I feel as though it is important to give myself a break and grasp the little opportunities for me to relax and enjoy myself. I appreciate my friends because we also have mental health check-ins throughout the week. We may meet up to watch movies or just have a girl’s night where we talk about everything. Hanging out with them once or twice throughout the week is just enough for me so that I do not go insane thinking about everything I have to get done.

I am very appreciative of the people I surround myself with as well as my coaches, editor and manager. Although the opportunities I have here can be stressful, it reinforces time management skills, the ability to prioritize, and perseverance. Student athletes have more responsibility that not many can handle. Every week and every day may not always look the same. I am sure everyone can agree that adulting is not easy especially for student athletes.