I swam at the University of Texas and got a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Art History. As a swimmer, we had a couple of weeks off every year after we were done competing at NCAAs. I found whenever I didn't have the structure of practice, that I was actually a much worse student! Athletics kept me focused and always helped me to get my work done. Plus, having the accountability of a team and the automatic group of friends helped me to be a better student overall. Athletics in college is one of the best, most fun experiences of your life. I wouldn't trade competing at that level for anything, even if you have to walk on.
US Olympic Team, 2000
I played Division 1 lacrosse at Liberty University while getting my B.S. in Industrial Engineering and pursuing a minor in math. It was basically working two-full time (40 hrs/wk +) at the same time. However, having the structure of practices and the support of being on a team made the education part of college extremely fun, rewarding, and doable. Yes, it is a lot of effort and you need to be diligent in both. But it is a very enriching experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I would highly recommend pursing being a student-athlete.
Not all majors require the same time commitment, so depending on what degree you want to pursue, it may be easier than others. A lot of my team mates did exercise science, comms, or business. But there were also a few who were engineers and nurses. I would recommend using the summer and breaks to take some classes so that when you are in-season you can reduce your credit/hours. This is super helpful, so that when it is season you can focus more on your sport. Some universities offer intensives (a course that you can complete just in one week) and those are really fun to do with your teammates to all get ahead together. Also not all collegiate athletic programs require the same time commitment (D1 vs D2 or D3), so there are ways to make it work for you regardless of what you want to do!
Hope that helps!
Sports do require a time commitment. I find that the exercise working on my sport is not only healthy but is a great break from school work. When it’s time to study, I have more energy and focus.
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