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.

Social Media and Body Image in College

Wake up, silent alarm, pick up phone, begin delving into one of the many social media applications downloaded to your handheld device. Put down phone, get out of bed, begin brushing teeth, open phone and select from one of the other media platforms. Reply to a comment, tweet your morning thoughts and post your “outfit of the day” for all of your seven hundred sixty-eight followers – and counting, to see. This process of picking up your phone, aimlessly scrolling through applications like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, will continue on throughout the rest of the day, into the evening and will only pause for a brief moment while you rest your eyes at night. If this continuous act was nothing more than physical, it would not be an issue that it is consuming the college population, but because it indirectly effects our mental health as vulnerable, teenagers, it needs to be addressed. As written in Researcher Perloff’s article, “media thinness portrayals can exert deleterious influences, ones with potentially serious psychological implications, in combination with certain individual difference factors, a point acknowledged even by scholars who doubt the pervasiveness of media effects” (Ferguson et al. 2011). There is no question that the constant viewing of photos and posts online for multiple hours of the day every day has an effect on a person’s mentality. With all of the posts regarding fitness and reaching the “perfect body,” it is easy for someone, specifically an already fragile student to get caught up in this thought that if you can only be one thing, you might as well be as fit and as “perfect,” as the people on your screen. Scrolling past these types of posts multiple times within each hour of a day makes it a habit, and without even knowing it many of us are subconsciously addressing these posts throughout our days when our phones are not in our hand. It is not that this phenomenon of negative repercussions has yet to be proven. A survey was conducted in the United States, in it over 800 college females were studied, specifically their use of social media. Following the research, it was concluded that about 10% of these females posted about body image, while close to 30% of them were commenting and discussing the topic. “More time of Facebook related to more frequent body and weight comparisons, more attention to the physical appearance of others, and more negative feelings about their bodies for all women” (Eckler, Petya, et al. 2017). This study proved that people, here specifically females, are inclined to focus in on body image ideals while scrolling through their social media. To think that this idea is covered by all ways possible on all media outlets, and that the majority of college students are on at least one of these outlets is unnerving. This strongly enforced belief of a “perfect body” is all over the internet, and all over our phones. Without us even realizing, it has become the center piece of our tables, staring back at us each time we think to have that extra snack, whispering in our ear every time we think to skip the gym just one more time. Body image is something many people deal with, it is the unfortunate reality of this world, but college students, being engulfed by social media are specifically victimized by this. It is constantly thrown at us, filling our phone screens each time we refresh our timelines and there is no way out of it. Undress, redress into pajamas, begin brushing teeth, open phone and once again delve into the hundreds of photos filing into your newsfeed. Rinse with water, turn off light, get into bed, pick phone back up and once more fall victim to this never-ending cycle that attacks each of us daily showing us the perfect body, the ideal weight leaving us with only that to dwell on when our phone is finally put down.

Diversity at SUNY Oswego

These old  pictures that I found tell the story of the diversity that took place at SUNY Oswego. The Oswego bus shows that these pictures were taken a long time ago. The school library was filled with students, but all these students are of white descent and in the next picture all the students are of black descent. Although the students seemed to be grouped with their common descent, these photos show that there has been diversity at SUNY Oswego for a very long time.

I went to our schools archives to get these photos because the archives holds all kinds of Oswego history. I picked these photos because I could see that there were places with different kinds of people on campus and I feel like the diversity the campus has is important to this school today.

Raiven Encarnacion

Name: Raiven Encarnacion

Year:   Sophomore

Major: Broadcasting and Mass Communication/ Marketing

Hometown: Beacon, NY

Raiven Encarnacion is a student-athlete attending SUNY Oswego and is a double major studying broadcasting/mass communication and marketing, hoping to have a career as a sports reporter or a producer in the near future. She is a outgoing and smart girl that would love to share her personal interest and opinions through media and is in the process of learning the ins and outs of the broadcasting and sports industry.