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What advice do you have for a future Vet Science major hoping to participate in sports and keep up with academics?

I will be going to college in a few years and I love soccer, but grades are very important to me. Any advice on how to balance school and sports is appreciated. Thanks!

Thank you comment icon Confidence is Key and also self-motivation is great when you are hoping to participate. Caleb

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Kim’s Answer

Balancing school and sports can definitely be a challenge, but with some planning and organization, it's absolutely doable. It involves being self-aware and understanding what you can handle physically, mentally, and emotionally. Knowing your limits helps you avoid burnout, stress, and potential harm.

In terms of academics and sports, knowing your limits means understanding how much you can realistically handle without compromising your well-being or performance. It's essential to set realistic goals and prioritize your commitments. Pushing yourself is great, but it's also important to listen to your body and mind and take breaks when needed.

It's important to remember that everyone's limits are different, and it's okay if yours differ from others. Don't compare yourself to others and focus on your own progress and growth. By knowing your limits, you can make informed decisions, manage your time effectively, and maintain a healthy balance between your academic pursuits and sports activities.

Here are a few tips to help you find that balance:

1. Time management: Create a schedule that includes dedicated time for studying, attending classes, practicing your sport, and other commitments. Prioritize your tasks and make sure to allocate enough time for each.

2. Stay organized: Use a planner or digital tools to keep track of assignments, practices, and games. This will help you stay on top of your responsibilities and avoid any last-minute surprises.

3. Communicate with your coaches and teachers: Let your coaches and teachers know about your commitments and ask for their support. They might be able to provide some flexibility or offer guidance on managing your time effectively.

4. Take advantage of study opportunities: Use any downtime during practices or travel to study or review your notes. This can help you maximize your study time and make the most of your schedule.

5. Prioritize self-care: It's important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. Make sure to get enough rest, eat well, and stay hydrated. Taking care of yourself will help you perform better both in academics and on the field.

Finding balance is a personal journey, and it may require some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help or seek guidance from your coaches, teachers, or academic advisors.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Victoria
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Todd’s Answer

Hi Victoria,
I will answer this from the perspective of a now retired, 30 years on Veterinary Doctorate grad.
I think Kim gave you some good pointers, and you will find when you start college a lot will change. Sort of like primary school to Mid high to high school, only on steroids. I would encourage you to keep as active in sports as you can, as this contributes to physical health as well as mental health.

I do distinctly remember at Vet School orientation the prof asking us to write down our hobbies, team sports, etc. After doing so they said, "save that list, you can get back to it in four years". That was their way of saying we wouldn't have time for much during vet school except study, eat, sleep, repeat.
At the time I went to school, an undergrad course load was 13 to 15 hours, and in Vet school it tended to the low 20s.
I had classmates that could study a few hours, go play a few hours, and still pass. They were the exception, though, and most of us regularly fell asleep in class and at night studying trying to keep up.

To sum it up, you may be able to balance scheduled team sports and a heavy course load, or you may not. You will have to prioritize your time, brain bandwidth, and energy. Keeping up in school may mean playing in pick up games instead of on an organized team depending on your personal limits & ability. The important thing will be to pay attention to your long term goals -do you want to be a Veterinarian or play soccer - and adjust accordingly. Once you finish school and begin to work, you will have more time to return to previous interests, but professional school can be very time consuming, and exhausting.
As Kim said "Finding balance is a personal journey", don't study too much (go for a run or bike), but also don't loose focus on what you are trying to achieve and be willing to make some sacrifices in order to give that your full attention and effort. Lastly, don't hesitate to ask for help, whatever form that may be. You're going to pay a lot of money to be there, and however it may seem at the time, they really do want you to succeed.

Todd recommends the following next steps:

Take on as many varied experiences as you can while you are young, this will help you later when you can draw on these experiences for knowledge and strength. Never shy away from hard, dirty, physical work, It makes the intellectual stuff seem that much easier, and as we "boomers" like to say builds character.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Victoria