Playing a sport for your school can feel like a dream come true. You get to spend your days on the field practicing and going head-to-head with other teams, developing close friendships with your teammates, and more. It might seem like your athletic experience is all that matters, but you should remember that you play for a school and not a professional franchise, which means that you have academic responsibilities to manage as well. Read on to hear some of my advice on how you can succeed as both an athlete and a student.
Recognize Academic Responsibilities
While a player at Ohio State, Cardale Jones once tweeted a question to his followers: “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS,” he wrote. Two years later, however, Jones had realized that classes weren’t pointless, and he even went so far as to delay his NFL debut so that he could graduate from college first. The first step to achieving balancing class and athletics is to realize, as Jones did, that you have academic responsibilities. You might make a commitment to yourself to graduate or to earn a certain GPA, but you need to embrace the fact that succeeding on the field means succeeding in the classroom as well.
Learn to Manage Your Time
A typical day for a student-athlete might feature a morning workout, classes during the day, an afternoon workout, and practice at night followed by homework. If you have a game, then you might need to include additional time to travel. With all of these claims on your time, when do you fit in sleep? A social life? Internships or a part-time job? All of these commitments and activities mean that you need to manage your time well. Create a calendar and list specific times when you’ll be in practice and in class so you know how much time you have to go to do your homework or spend on other activities, like joining a club. You should also be sure to build in plenty of time for you to get some rest!
Take Advantage of Additional Resources
Coaches and administrators recognize how hard it is to be a student-athlete, and that’s why they offer a wide range of resources to help you succeed. Follow up on as many of these opportunities as you can: For example, go to team study halls so that you can have a space where you can focus and get your work done. Go to your professors’ office hours or seek out tutors if you need help with your classes. See if your school offers any counseling services or similar resources if you need help managing stress or anxiety.