If there was ever a better time to do this than now then I completely missed it; and it was probably because I was busy with practice or a meeting.This is my life as a student-athlete.
This compounded phrase of a student and an athlete together conveys the balance that one, such as myself, must obtain in their athletic, academic, and social life. If not done properly, one of these three aspects will suffer. Being a student-athlete is currently my entire life, and one thing that associates with this life is a time-consuming schedule. In my field notes I tried to include an example from each part of a normal day for me; which can be seen in the chart below.
- 6:55am Lifting
- 8:00am Shower/Eat
- 10:00am Class
- 12:00pm Class
- 1:00pm Class
- 3:00pm Pre-pracice meeting
- 3:30-5:25 Practice
- Dinner, whenever i get out
- Study Hall for 90 minutes
What this table depicts is possibly one of the worst combinations of a weekday that I can have. Beginning this is our Monday, Wednesday, Friday mandatory freshman lifts. These lifts usually involve struggling to wake up from a long night of studying, and a rapid pace due to those with 8a.m classes. I personally don’t have an 8a.m class but due to the idea of the ‘team’ we all must be the same. My second field notes touches on this idea that if one person is involved or messes up, then everyone is involved/punished. This seems fair, until someone actually messes up and you realize in your punishment that it wasn’t your fault. Does this question pride? Or show discipline? A lot of people may miss or mess up on things, on the contrary there are a lot of things to miss and/or mess up on. In the moment, everyone usually complains about the punishment, and how they won’t be responsible for those that failed to be responsible, but in the end it gets done anyways, because if it doesn’t, then more has to be done. Following lifting, we must shower as a team, and mostly everyone goes and eats. By the time we have done all of this, most students are just now rising for their first class. After this, the little space of free time I have is usually spent on studying or watching game/practice film. Thereafter I have my first 50 minute block class, with another hour break after it in which I prepare for my next two classes at 12 & 1. In between these two classes I have a 10 minute window to grab lunch for the day. Due to this I am usually the last one to my ENGL123 class, rushing in with seconds to spare. After this class is over I have around 45 minutes before our pre-practice meeting, I would sleep during this space but my food wouldn’t settle, which would result in sickness at practice. Therefore, I usually just go into the locker room and get as much done academically as I can before practice. Meetings begin at 3, and dress and ready is at 3:25 (Which is really like 3:18 with Coach K). Practice lasts until 5:30 and then I have 30 minutes to shower and get ready for my 6’o’clock class. This class last until 7:15p.m and if I choose to attend study hall that night then I go grab food and take it to my 90 minute session. After all of this I probably still have homework, and need to study, and it is likely that I’ll forget something. Another challenge is that everyone is telling me about something that I should go to, or what is going on that night or the next day. In this hectic schedule it is hard to talk to everyone as much as they’d like to be interacted with, this may leave some unhappy, which presses more stress upon one like myself.
My personal field notes depict both the beneficial and the stressful things amongst my life as a student athlete. One I thing I knew going in, and that my field notes confirm, is that as a student-athlete, like I, must always be sharp and on top of their game. Obviously it may be easy to do this some of the time, but what is challenging is to do so consistently. The simple fact of the matter is that a majority of the time you are just tired and/or stressed. When in this state, some skip out on things, or just accidentally miss. As stated in my field notes, not executing things off of the field carry over onto it. The reversal of this is true in my opinion also. Even though I can personally gather this information, it was stressed by coaches in an attempt to explain why things on the field were sloppy in our loss; concurrently they were simply justifying the reasons why they were going to run us to death in practice that day.
Basically I’ve said all of that to in order for this point to be obvious, the life of a student-athlete is tiring, and stressful. Statistics have shown how hard the jump from high school to college can be, but they also show how much more stressful it can be for dual obligated freshman student-athletes. As defined by Folkman and Lazarus, stress is the negative feeling that occurs when an individual feels unable to cope with the demands placed upon them by their environment. This can easily overwhelm a developing student-athlete. (Gregory Wilson, 2005)
One major-shock lies in the reality that they aren’t the start athlete anymore, this even includes the possible lack of praise they receive from fans. Also the possibility of not seeing the field or court at all for the first year and who knows how long. Injuries, high demand of excellence, time, and winning, and many more factors intensify this stress which breeds all kinds of results. This stress can stem into anxiety, fatigue, and even depression. (Gregory Wilson, 2005) It obviously doesn’t help someone such as myself who’s family is three and a half hours away. With all of these things in mind, I’m sure you have completely forgotten about a social life, with so much to do all you want to do with free time is rest. With all of this on the table, there is competition among position to all obtain the starting spot. And this makes me ponder, why do we put ourselves through this optional like of challenge being a student-athlete? The big picture of ultimate student stress among college students relates directly to this one. We ask is it okay for them (the higher up) to put us through this while we pay X amount of thousands of dollars, just to get a decent role in life to pay it back. When at some point we must realize that this was our choice, and that we put ourselves through it. Maybe ignorantly at first, or for the wrong reasons such as popularity, or solely sports; but what we one day realize is what my football seniors told us all the way throughout camp. It gets better. Though some of my field notes are negative, they all share the proof of what being a student athlete molds you into. It changes you as a person, and a human being. It teaches everything you will need for life. Self-discipline, time-management, honesty, hard-work, motive, and pure grind are all things that can only benefit you in life. It creates for you lifetime friends, memories and connections. The biggest part of sports, in my mind, is PROGRESS. Though stress may sometimes try to get the best of us, we can’t let it; because in the end, it’s all worth it.