What do you think when you hear about student-athletes? If you are one, the first words that probably pop into your brain are stress, sports, competitiveness, oh and more stress. The words “student” and “athlete” combined (in my opinion) is one of the most challenging phrases known to mankind. You may have already guessed, but I am a student athlete at my college, Christopher Newport University. Although being a student athlete is extremely busy, it is also such an honor to play the sport I love at the collegiate level. While being a soccer player isn’t my complete identity, it is a huge part of who I am, and I’m very proud of it. For my soccer team at CNU we have film-watching sessions before practices a few times a week. Here, we receive information about not only how we played in the past week, but also about how our next competitor plays. It is quite beneficial to have these film sessions because as a visual learner I am able to absorb the information our coach is telling us more accurately. Below is an example of one of my field notes that I took regarding one of our film sessions.
“9/14/2015: Watched film on team that we played last week (Houghton College). Studied their strategies and made sure that we knew how to compete well with the team that we were put up against. Also practiced certain plays that we needed to improve on based off of our mess ups in the previous games (by watching our own film beforehand). Connects to Society’s competitiveness/competition; emotional stress”.
My room-mate (who is on the soccer team with me) and I also have conversations about the game film we watch and I gain information from her as well. She helps give me great advice on not only my soccer, but also on my stressful school life as well. Our face-to-face conversations are a prime example of how we are exposed to new information. Most of the time when we tell each other stories, the information we are saying has not been stated before. Therefore it is new information that has to be retained. One of the days that we talked last week we informed each other of the levels of stress that school and sports put on our shoulders.
“9/15/2015: Stress of balancing college athletics and college classes: CLASSES ARE SO HARD!!! Gab and I talked/cried/yelled about the little amounts of sleep we get and the vast amounts pf of assignments we have to complete. Helped give each other ways to cope with stress. Put away electronics. Hugged it out. Got homework done. Ate some yummy candy to get us through the painful night (ha ha).”
At this day and age most of the younger generation revolves around getting information from social media websites. I have learned many pointless things from being on social media sites such as Twitter. I scroll across relatable posts and end up retrieving new information every day. As a student athlete I follow athletic accounts and teams (especially my own) to keep up with what’s happening. Sometimes our coach even puts links to film sessions or cool pictures that he thinks we would enjoy.
This week while I was collecting field notes I had to take a closer look at what it meant to gain information. When we were assigned this blog post, I immediately thought of explaining my life as a collegiate student-athlete. I chose this because we not only have information to retrieve from our classes, but from soccer games, teammates, and social media as well (we have to be extra careful of what information we put back out into the internet because our words reflect the values of our team). However, my self-observation was a little more surprising than expected. Although my first instinct was to think that I receive most of my information from face-to-face conversation (with professors, coaches, teammates, my room-mate, etc.), it was in fact quite the opposite. I grasp most of my information from technology.
“9/19/2015: Computer won’t connect to wifi… not really sure how to function right now. I can’t get on Twitter or Scholar or anything academic. This is SO ANNOYING!!!”
Being without internet connection for a day was like living in the desert without water- death seemed near. It really amazed me at how much I rely on the internet to provide information and relaxation to me. Quite frankly, it was sad to see how dependent I am on my technological devices.
Watching film (and being a student-athlete in general) and going on my computer/social media are ways that I realized I collect information. I believe that my experiences relate to different larger social issues. While watching our film, practicing every day, lifting twice a week at 6:00 AM, having games on the weekends and stressing about classes is fun and all… we don’t get rewarded for it (in money form). I believe that no matter what level, a collegiate athlete has to sacrifice time and effort to be the best that they can be. Therefore, I think that even Division 3 athletes should receive some sort of financial aid or scholarship just as the big D1 and D2 programs do. Going on social media and learning pointless information day-in and day-out relates to the social issue of dependency and addiction. Americans today have become so dependent on their technology that they feel as if their world will end if they don’t have their cellphone or laptop charged. It is a serious issue in the world today, and it is time to cut back on technology before the world becomes too far deep into addiction to be able to come back out of it