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Under-doing and Over-doing as a Student Athlete

Hi, I’m Al, an international student-athlete on the track team.

One of the main challenges of being a student-athlete is time management. As old as it may sound, being able to balance your academic and athletic life has great consequences to your short-term goals. Getting a D+ in a class (or even failing) not only effects your situation in school, but at Aquinas it may jeopardize your chances of competing the upcoming season. How do you stay on top of your game, both athletically and academically?

The most difficult aspect of my last semester was dealing with a schedule that literally had all time slots full. During my time at Aquinas, I have learned that there are four things that must remain unchanged in my calendar as a student athlete: class times, practice times, work hours (got to pay rent!) and meal/bed times. Not much is worse than pulling an all-nighter to finish a paper due the next morning (even though it was announced at the very beginning of the semester) to then force yourself to wake  up, go to class, try to fight off grogginess with endless coffee, and realize that you are just a couple hours away from a game or a meet. If a student athlete performs poorly, there’s a risk of getting benched, or wasting a shot at qualifying to Nationals.

Truth be told, some people can handle it and are naturals at time management. Others cannot and, in my humble opinion, it is because of either ‘under-doing’ or over-doing. Under-doing is spending the downtime between work, class and practice (not counting the always-necessary nap time) and instead of being productive in an academic sense, they are checking Facebook, looking up sports stats, YouTube-ing every single ESPN play, and even taking a new snap for My Story. I’m not telling you to stay away from social media, but the day only has 24 hours and most of those hours are already packed with other commitments–and sometimes I don’t even feel safe from social media in the library! Where are you going to find that extra time to get those two hours of review/reading per class?  How about over-doing? I have been a victim of overdoing: taking 16 credits while working 30 hours (so bye-bye weekends!) and practicing so hard that not even an hour-long ice bath will do. Tough day at the ‘office’, I end up in bed before reading the chapter for my 9am the next day.

I am one of those people who believe that something can’t go well if other things in your life are not on the same page. Setting priorities is also about knowing that things placed under your main objective do, in fact, compliment what is on top. I think it’s good to pursue your passions and to diligently get those workouts in, but it is also important to plan some time for the other aspects in your life. This way you will not become worried during the harder times, thus negatively effecting your overall performance and well-being.

Ace that exam. Ace that game. Ace that life.

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