By Michael Andrejco
Everyone will see the success of an athlete on the field or court, but no one ever sees the time management or work ethic needed to succeed in the classroom. Life as a student-athlete is far from easy. The average collegiate football player’s schedule often starts with 6 a.m. wake-ups for a lift. Following lift, athletes scramble to find a quick meal to fuel up for the next few hours of classes. After two to three hours of class, it’s right to meetings and practice. Practice is a grueling two hours of work to prepare for the next competition. Practice consists of constant screams and shouts from coaches, whose livelihood depends on the college athletes’ performances, remembering complex plays and formations, and pushing the body to its limit. Once practice concludes, it’s around six-thirty in the evening. The rest of an athlete’s night is scheduled around dinner, homework, and study hall. If done correctly, the athlete can normally get to bed at eleven, just to wake up and do it all over again. But why would someone do this?
Although it does not seem enjoyable, there is a love for the game. It is the truest form of passion for a sport to play with no monetary motivations. So, the touchdowns, goals, homeruns, and kills are far more than just the work put in at practice to make it possible. It is staying up past midnight studying for an exam knowing you have a six o’clock lift the next day, it is typing a paper up instead of eating lunch, and it is rushing out of practice just to get to a night class, that makes success on the field possible. A student-athlete needs to be as equally devoted to the game as they are to the classroom. To remain academically eligible, an athlete must maintain at least a 2.3 grade point average. Like athletics, school is a challenge mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is a constant struggle to maintain an adequate grade point average, and to retain information that prepares students for a career. It is worth mentioning that if an athlete travels for an away game and is absent from class, the athlete is responsible for all missed material. As a result, school is as much as a full-time job as athletics.
Student-athletes are driven by competition. Winning and losing is the reason why every athlete fights to get out of bed in the morning, instead of hitting the snooze button. There are many positives that come to being a student athlete. A major reason that student-athletes play a sport is to be recognized, sometimes by the professional level. There are more academics opportunities readily available to student athletes, such as study hall, tutors, and academic advisors, which are essential. Socially, it is easy to make friends since athletes are around their teammates for a majority of the time in college. Teammates tend to share common goals and beliefs which makes bonding and connecting with them easier. Also, teammates endure the same struggles and grind, so there is more empathy on a team. Overall, being a student-athlete is anything but stress-free or relaxed. It is a constant process of bettering oneself, both in the classroom and physically, in order to make everything that is done on the field-of-play probable.