Being a student-athlete can have its perks. Missing class because of travel, receiving free gear and potentially having school paid for with athletic scholarships are just some of the benefits of being an athlete in college.
However, the life of a student-athlete is much harder than people think.
The life of an average student on a college campus can be stressful. Sleep schedules can be altered due to workloads or meetings and events. Add a practice schedule, travel and games, and life can be much more difficult.
Students who complain of having 8:30 a.m. classes and do not feel like going perhaps do not understand how swim and diving team members have to wake up before 6 a.m. to jump into a cold pool for practice every day.
Some do not know what it is like waking up to go to an 8:30 a.m. class on a Monday after getting back from a 10-hour road trip that morning at 3 a.m.
Student-athletes also have to be more aware of the internet and social media so that they do not set a bad example for both themselves and the university. Every post could be used against them, so athletes have to be careful with what they post.
The ability to miss classes could be considered great by some because it is one less thing to worry about during the day. For an athlete, every missed class is one less day of learning and it is possible that the student-athlete missed something important for an upcoming test or missed the test completely and have to make it up.
Usually, student-athletes miss one to two days of classes due to games and travel. That may not seem like many, but having to miss one to two days each week during the semester add up. Constant and weekly communication with professors is necessary.
In my mind, being a student-athlete myself is challenging and at times can be very stressful and because of that, it affects the way I work, live and play.
At first, I thought being a student-athlete playing baseball was going to be fun and exciting because I received St. Bonaventure baseball gear, made new friends on the team and was able to play the sport I love after classes every day.
I made that assumption in the fall of my freshman year. Baseball season is in the spring semester and the reality hit me hard.
Leaving on Thursday and not coming back until Sunday night from a three-game series or leaving in the morning for a mid-week game on a Tuesday, added up quickly in a 40-plus game schedule.
I missed a great deal of class and missed opportunities to attend events and be with friends back on campus. My grades began to slip because of missing class and not being able to learn some of the important information.
My sleep schedule was altered greatly and going to class, practice and then having to do homework after practice became tiring and my social life and spending time with my friends was reduced.
I know from my experience and from others who play sports, being a student-athlete is harder than one might think.
From the outside looking in, being a student-athlete on a college campus may seem easy and fun. Basketball and football players seem like celebrities to some because of who they are and where they might go in the future.
But being a student-athlete is more than just playing a sport and going to class. There is a lot between the lines that people do not see. I can relate to other athletes on campuses around the country because it can be upsetting to miss certain school events or not be able to hang out with friends on weekends due to travel and games.
Average students do not have two-hour practices every day. They do not leave school for days at a time to play games, and they do not know that posting whatever they want on social media can get them in trouble and suspended from the NCAA.
For me and all of the college athletes around the country to be able to play the sports we love past high school at a Division I level is a dream come true. However, the classroom has to come first and being able to manage time and life is the key to success of a student-athlete.