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How do you thrive in college when the academics are hard and you play college sports?

I am going to play softball in college next year and am worried about juggling all of this at once

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Forrest’s Answer

Hi Jana,

First off, congrats on all the success in softball. Playing at the collegiate level is no easy task. As someone who played on the Men's Golf Team in college, I was constantly working to balance out my academic work load with practice, training, and team meetings and definitely can feel for your concern.

I would first recommend talking to your Softball Coach and also your academic advisor to make sure that your classes and practice times do not conflict. Your first year will feel as if you are trying to do a lot at once between trying to meet new friends, excel in school, and perform well for your sports team so time management is key. The better you can manage your time off between certain activities such as doing school work in the van rides to practice/tournaments, setting up time to socialize with friends during meals, meeting with career and academic tutors/advisors between classes, etc will make a world of difference.



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Paul’s Answer

I would take advantage of all the resources that the college will offer you as a student athlete.

Many colleges offer their athletes their own advisers, they have study halls, tutors and instructional assistants, and assistance in setting up class schedules that will help to balance your athletic and academic life.

College athletic departments also have faculty advisors and faculty representatives, who monitor student performance and concerns.

So, definitely consult with coaches, advisors, and utilize the academic resources you will be offered as an athlete.
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for sharing. Many students are struggling on time management. Firstly, you need to find a time management tool to help you, e.g. Google Calendar, Phone Calendar, MS Outlook, etc.
Below are my suggestions :
1. Put down the time you need to attend lessons
2. Put down the time for Softball training and competitions
3. Assign time everyday for assignment, projects, etc. and revise the material covered in the classes. You can have 5-10 min break for every 1.5 - 2 hours.
4. Make sure you have enough time to sleep
5. You may need to assign more time for revision before your exam / assessment
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Niha’s Answer

Okay, so very first step: Do you want to continue to play past college, or are college sports a way to help you afford college for academic? Either answer is valid and very fair, but it's important to be honest with yourself because that will help you determine your next steps.

If your answer is professional sports:
1) Determine a back up plan by choosing a major that allows for flexible classwork and good job opportunities. I would recommend you go the route of determining what majors are a hard NO rather than a hard YES.
2) Your practice hours, work outs, and cool downs are going to take up most of your time, so I recommend making a semester and monthly schedule. Write out all game/competition dates, then write out all exam/presentation/assignment dates. If any overlap, speak with professors EARLY to ask for extensions, early turn ins, rules regarding absences. The last thing you want to find out late in the semester is that you'll be failing because you missed a class due to a game and the professor is not a forgiving individual.
3) Talk to your coach and professors every semester so they can help you get what you need to balance your schedule.
4) Communicate well and often with family, friends, peers so you can still get some social activities with the people you love.
5) When you schedule out your month/week/ etc, always underschedule your time so if you need some extra time to cool off, or to relax your body, you have it available.

If your answer is academics are important over going pro:
1) Make a schedule that accounts for class time, class work, then fill in sports times (practice, competitions/games, personal work outs).
2) Allot for study sessions, and ask coaches for possible study partners during bus rides/between games. Allot as much time as possible during drives, etc to study.
3) Speak with your professors early on about potentially needing help ahead of time. They will appreciate you advocating for yourself early on.
4) Make friends in all your classes so you can potentially borrow notes and to have study partners you can ask questions to!

I hope this helps!
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Kentaus’s Answer

Being a college student-athlete can indeed be challenging, but it's also an exciting journey. It's all about mastering the art of juggling time. Unlike their peers, student-athletes have a unique set of responsibilities to handle. A usual day might be filled with sports training, individual tasks, study sessions, and practice, not to mention the primary duty of attending classes.

Sometimes, socializing might need to take a backseat to accommodate the busy schedule of a student-athlete. But remember, it's all part of the thrilling experience. So, the secret to thriving as a student-athlete lies in smart time management. It's not just about surviving, but about enjoying the ride and making the most of this unique college experience.
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Allison’s Answer

Hi Jana!

I just graduated from Vanderbilt after being a swimmer there for four years. I majored in economics & history and minored in business. I would say that while it can be challenging to balance athletics, academics, and a social life at times, the challenge is what makes you so valuable as an employee after college and made my college experience so much more rewarding while I was in school.

One major benefit of being an athlete is the structure that comes with being an athlete. Something that I often found was that I was much more disciplined about getting my work finished and getting to bed on time compared to my non-athlete friends. Having sports built into your schedule makes it much easier to have a routine and live a happy and healthy life in college compared to normal students who don't have the structure and accountability that comes with being on a team.

Additionally, my athletics department offered tutoring services, academic counseling, and enforced mandatory study hours to ensure that we were set up for success as student-athletes. If you use these resources to their full advantage, you'll surely excel in your sport and your selected field of study.

However, I would advise against attending a school simply to play sports. If you're looking into a school that does not seem to offer the support and resources that you feel you would need to be successful, maybe consider finding a program that will offer the support that you need. I am so glad I chose to be a college athlete, and some of my best memories in college are from my time with my teammates. If you do your research and find a program that fits your needs both academically and athletically, I highly recommend taking on the challenge of being a student athlete!
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