Being a college athlete is a full time job. All of the time and effort that goes in to practice and team activities can make it easy to lose focus on the rest of your life. Academics is the reason you attend college and it should be taken just as seriously as sports. The best way to make sure you are keeping up with your schoolwork is to create a plan of attack every day and stick to it. The two crucial aspects of your life to manage are your time and emotions.
Time management is knowing how much of your day is spent doing each activity (see the topic Planning Your Day – 1). In addition to the time you spend in class you must have a designated study period every day. If you have mandatory study hall for athletics, this should be enough to get you through the week. On top of your weekly studies you should spend a few hours on Sunday getting prepared for the week. This study period will prevent procrastination and keep you from having to cram at the last second. Lastly, you need to schedule your sleep. A night of at least 7-9 hours will give you the rest you need without leaving you feeling groggy. Structuring your time ultimately gives you a feeling of ease because you don’t feel rushed or like there is always something hanging over your head. Make sure to use good use of the time you spend travelling to events.
Managing your emotions is not necessarily just suppressing your feelings. It is more important that you pay attention to your emotions and decide if they are appropriate for the situation. When you are playing your sport, it is often necessary to get emotionally involved to push through to personal bests. Tension between you and a coach or fellow athlete is hard to ignore when you spend many hours per day with this person. It is important that you try to leave these feelings behind when you leave the sports facilities. Replaying conversations over in your head, or thinking about how sore you are, will fill your mind when it should be time for learning or relaxing. When you are in class you should try to lower your emotion level and focus on the facts. Focus more on what’s in the room around you and less on the outside world.
Most campuses have special tutors for athletes should the need arise. Don’t be too proud to use this support.
You will also need to deal with scheduling classes around practice. Your most important resource is an academic advisor who really knows your major and can help you with scheduling so you don’t miss out on taking an important course that is prerequisite for other courses. Be wary of advisors in the athletic department. Often they are unaware of the requirements in your major and may place you in courses you don’t need.
Finally, you are going to have doubts about your major if you run into problems. Many students will have these doubts, not just athletes. Don’t let athletics lead you to a major that doesn’t take the full advantage of your academic abilities. If you do, you will really regret your decision once your athletic career has ended..