Life of Being a Student Athlete in College

Raiven Encarnacion

Many people go to college and get involved by joining a club or becoming apart of a frat or sorority. Some decide to just focus on academics because doing more would be too stressful. Like me, others come out of high school and go to college to get an education and continue their athletic careers. I personally feel, along with other athletes, that being a student athlete takes more of a toll on other components of college life than the average student that decided to join a club or join nothing at all.

Student athletes are obligated to go to class, practice, study hall, community service, lift weights, and watch film on a daily bases. Some of these obligations are to be done more than once a day. Not to forget, they still have to fit in eating, sleeping, having a social life, and doing homework that doesn’t get done in the hours of study hall. Being apart of a team in college is different than doing so in high school because it practically becomes a full time job. Freshman year in college for a student athlete is especially difficult due to being in a new and different environment with more expectations. Both athletic competition and academic expectations are heightened. Classes get missed because of traveling and that has to be properly communicated with professors. Time management is a huge key when playing a sport in college and can also be a students biggest challenge because they chose to make a commitment to do many things in a short amount of time each and every day.

There’s many difficulties when it come to playing a sport at the collegiate level. The average student is most likely waking up at 10 a.m. to go to class while a student athlete has been up since 6 a.m. because of practice or weight lifting. Therefore, getting less sleep and having to get more done throughout the day. I interviewed Sam Britton, a current basketball player for the SUNY Oswego Lakers Women’s team, and asked her specifically how she felt about morning practices. Her response was, “I hate 7 a.m. sprints, it is absolutely terrible having to be up that early to run for an hour and then I have to go to class right after. Sitting in class sweaty and tired doesn’t make me the happiest, all I think about throughout the day is when I will be able to take a nap.” Going to parties on weekdays is out of the question for athletes, there is not enough time in the day for and it’s also a bad idea when you have to be up early for practice. Trying to stay on top of work isn’t always the easiest especially with traveling and being tired. It can be very frustrating having to balance everything. To do so, the athlete has to work 10 times as hard as the average student.

Being a student athlete isn’t all a struggle, there’s many great things that come with being apart of a team. Being able to represent your school while doing something you love is a blessing. There’s so much pride that comes with playing a collegiate sport because most have worked their whole life to be able to say they made it further than high school and get to continue their athletic career on a bigger platform. I interviewed Ishmael Chisholm,  a player for the Men’s SUNY Oswego Lakers, and I asked him how it made him feel to be able to walk onto the court in an Oswego uniform. His response was priceless, he said, ” It makes all worth it, all the hours in the gym of being tired and having less time to be with friends. I see the crowd cheering for us and it makes me proud to be a Laker. I don’t want to have a great game just for me, I want to do it for my team and for the fans because that’s what it’s all about.” I also interviewed Tatyana Fish, also a member of the Oswego Women’s Basketball team, and I questioned her on what she felt was the best part about being apart of the team. She said, ” The best part of being apart of this team has to be being surrounded around my teammates, they make it so fun.” Being on a team creates so many opportunities to meet and create relationships with people who have a lot in common with you and go through similar every day obstacles.

Waking up at 6 a.m., going to practice, watching film, going to class and study hall every day is all part of the life of a student athlete. Hearing the crowd cheer for you on game day and creating new connections is also apart of being a student athlete. It is a huge full time job, but it all pays off in the end because there’s so many lessons to be learned through sports.

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