The Rigors of the College Student Athlete

College is an experience that I feel everyone should have a chance, especially the American college experience coeds, parties, dorm life, and coeds - The Rigors of the College Student Athlete introduction. With college though also comes a lot of responsibility. It comes in the form school work. The work load in college can force you to stay up late into the night typing papers and studying for test. That and social life is all most college student have to deal with when away at school. Their commitment to their school only goes as deep as the price they pay for school. For a small percentage it goes farther than that.

Student-athletes must represent their schools on the athletic field, while at the same time staying on track in the classroom, having some sort of social life and last but not least getting in the Z’s. An athletic career at the very competitive college is practically a non-paying job that expected to give a large part of your life to. The college work load is of course heavy, some people cannot manage just the school, and must be dealt with or you don’t play. On my list of priorities I you need to get a good amount of sleep to succeed in college as a student-athlete.

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A body that isn’t well rested won’t think clearly or practice and play efficiently. A student athlete in college has a lot of things to deal with and has to learn to balance their priorities and deal with stress. A good amount of sleep also prevents sickness. Getting sick at the wrong time of the term or semester can really throw you off course in class. Having ample an ample amount of energy and a clear mind are keys to be a step ahead. To achieve this I try to get at least 9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep, I believe, is the key to achieving success as a student-athlete.

A mind that is insufficiently rested is dull and will not retain as much information as possible. A tired body on the athletic field can cause you to be complacent on the practice or game field. A weary body can keep you from going all out. Worse it can cause you lose a starting spot or worse, injury. Most injuries happen when an athlete is not going full speed. My mom always said “your body is temple, so you have to treat it that way. ” I see sleep as the best remedy for a sore body or stressed mind. It can also prepare me for the college rigors I face every day.

I learned while at school that nap is not only for pre-schoolers. During the day I often take at least two hour-long naps so I can be proved with an extra boost of energy before class or practice. While it is second on things I consider important, academics is really what will help me make a living long after I walk off the athletic field for the last time. You want to be able to leave school with a diploma cause less than one percent of collegiate athletes go on to play a pro sport. Even if a student athlete goes on to the pros, their career will last less than 20 years.

Life certainly doesn’t end there. Another reason a student-athlete has to make sure their grades are good in class is to be able to play and practice. I as an athlete have to make sure I am in compliance with NCAA grade policy. NCAA has step the bench mark GPA at 2. 00. If a student-athlete falls below that mark they often have to sit for a whole term, commonly referred to as academic probation. This can put a death sentence on an athlete’s season. It can also drastically affect your relationship with the team and ultimately the coach.

Academic probation has ended great college athletes’ careers for the simple fact that they were not as committed to school as they were in their respective sport. The hardest part of class, from my experiences is not getting up and going to it. Skipping can really become a habit, especially when you’re a freshman. I know if I make an effort to get to class everyday there is no way I can’t at least past my classes Lastly you came to college so that you can do what you really want to do later in life. As my coach told me in high school “You will never go down this path again. As a college athlete you will give more to your school than any non-athlete on campus. You will have to take on two full time jobs that will drain a person mentally as well as physically (and sometimes even spiritually! ). More than half the battle is in rest and keeping academics as my top priority. You have enough things to take care of; I don’t need problems off the field. The rest has to do with earning my scholarship and performing on the practice and game field. Keeping a level head and checking my emotions. As an athlete I have days where I can’t do any wrong.

Where every ball is caught and route is run crisply. Then there are the days when the coach can’t seem to call my name enough, and I can’t even catch the easy passes. On bad days I can’t get frustrated with myself. I just try to tell myself to trust my hands, and the next one is mine. On good days I’ve realized just let the game happen and react. Almost like when I’m playing backyard football with friends. Football is still a sport I play because it’s fun and I like to be competitive. When I think of football in this way I usually have a good practice.

Keeping my emotions on the field a must especially when playing in the highly competitive college game. I find that my self-esteem can be affected by how I am doing in practice and on the game field. So keeping my emotions in check can affect school work and my social relationships. Most importantly you want to perform because you got a scholarship or when a walk-on is trying to gain one. A coach didn’t spend time calling, visiting, and offering you a scholarship to not get your best. Few are student-athletes are given scholarships so I have to take advantage of the opportunity given to me.

Another important reason athletics is important is because it’s part of the reason I chose the Upper Iowa University. As an athlete I directly represent my school. The way I play shows how much pride I take in my school colors. This also applies to when I’m out of uniform. I stand to lose more than a normal college student if I get in trouble with the law. Last but not least, if you’re a college student you have to have some sort of social life. This is what makes college, college. I don’t get to go out as much as everyone but I make sure to hang out with friends on weekends when I don’t have commitments to football or class.

After a week of classes and working out, there is no problem as long as I wind down in a responsible fashion. After academics and football I did come to school to also meet new people from different walks of life. My plate is full as a college student-athlete but I would have it no other way. I signed up for this, and knew the responsibilities and privileges that were handed down to me. I wanted to continue playing football in college because I still have a genuine love for the game I’ve been playing for most of my life.

The scholarship money is also a great plus because its helping to alleviate the cost of paying for school. While I don’t get paid directly for my two “jobs”, I know down the road I will be able to earn a diploma and go out into the workforce. I feel the days of late sleepless nights of studying and sweltering football practice have provided a glimpse on how to handle life after college in the real world. Football also can give me connections later in life. The friendships I’m building on right now are one I will have for the rest of my life.

I feel I can come to my friends later down the road if I need a job or some help. I don’t know what I really want to do yet career wise, but I can rest assured that if I go into coaching I can become a GA under my present head coach. People sometimes ask me why I play a sport in college. They say I could just “enjoy the college experience. ” For me though, this is the college experience. I would have it no other way. Not many college students have to deal with what I have to everyday. I know its hard but I learn how to deal with it every day. As my friend says “life is a Circus, juggle. ”

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