Adjusting to college can be an overwhelming change, especially as a student-athlete. As an athlete in high school, you are expected to go to school, practice, and play in games on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons. With that being said, the expectations change drastically once the student-athlete enters the exceedingly difficult world of college.
I focus on this transition as a student-athlete in a podcast titled, “Learning to Live”
I can attest to the fact that transitioning into college as a student-athlete is overwhelming. Not only do you have to go to school, but athletes also have to attend workouts 3-4 times a week, study hall if the coach requires throughout the day and the evenings, practices, as well as develop a healthy diet to keep themselves going throughout the day.
In reading a post on surviving freshman year as a student-athlete, I found 4 suggestions that might lead to a successful college experience as a student-athlete. I had and most college athletes have probably heard them many times before, but it is always good to keep these ideas in the back of your mind. Repetition is the best way to learn.
Balance is Key
Finding a nice balance between academics, athletics, and social life are definitely helpful! I have found that organizing yourself by using a planner is a great way to stay on top of these aspects of your college experience. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to organization, but since the end of sophomore year, I have written down everything that I want to get done in regards to academics, athletics, and social life from the beginning of my days to the ends. You might think that this is a bit excessive, but at least try it with academics and the rest should work itself out. When you are doing well in school and stay on top of your academics, life seems a bit easier; much more pleasant, which leads to success on the field.
Use Your Resources
You really want to make a habit of and take advantage of all of the resources that you have around you. Athletes have somewhat of an advantage in my eyes because at some schools, they have an academic advisor, as well as an athletic advisor. In meeting with advisors, athletes can then make sure that they are aware of the GPA requirements that the NCAA holds. These are not to be taken lightly as if they are not met, the NCAA will hold you ineligible to play your sport for a full year from the time that the incident occurred.
Take Care of Yourself
I cannot stress how important it is to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. One of the many pieces of advice that a coach gives to his or her players during weeks of long practices, which might include tests in classes as well is to REST! Rest your body and mind so that each day you can start off with a clear head and well rested muscles/joints. Eight hours of sleep is hard to come by, especially in college, but if you get all of your work done early in the day then you can get to sleep earlier! Don’t worry about the fear of missing out as you will have plenty of time after college or on Saturday evenings to catch up on your social activities.
Make sure you talk to your family or loved ones! They are your biggest support system most of the time.
Get to Class
Make sure that you attend all classes and only miss the ones that you are obligated to be absent from. Your coach will provide you with notes prior to the start of each semester with any reasoning behind why you might need to miss a class and the teacher will understand if it is athletically related. Attending all of your classes is only the first part of the “get to class” concept. Student-athletes should also expect to be present in class by participating in class discussions and activities. This will show the teacher that they did not come to school to major in athletics (Ha Ha), rather they are invested in their education. It will certainly help towards the end of the semester when grades are due, especially if the student-athlete is struggling in a class or two.
I can almost guarantee that if you follow the advice that has been given here, you will be successful as a student-athlete! Live that healthy lifestyle that every student-athlete wishes to have. Be the best and set your goals high.
THE HIGHER YOU SET YOUR GOALS, THE SMALLER THE COMPETITION WILL BE.