Studying and working as a college athlete is not for the faint of heart. There is an immense amount of responsibility that college athletes have to manage physically and mentally. Not only do you somewhat carry the weight of the entire university’s school spirit on a seasonal basis on your shoulders, but you also have to keep your GPA up so that you’ll be eligible to play the game. This doesn’t include keeping up with the physical requirements needed in order to maintain your athleticism.
College Athletes: Upholding the Weight of Responsibility
The level of responsibility and commitment required of any college student is a tall order. Adding college sports into the equation requires an extreme amount of focus and time management.
Balancing the responsibilities of sports and academic work in college is completely different from high school. While there is certainly more independence in college, there’s also the responsibility of taking care of the day-to-day tasks that your parent or guardian may have done for you.
College life is the threshold into the real world of “adulting.” As a college student, no one will micro-manage you into turning in assignments and scheduling your study time. You’ll have full reign to manage your academic load how you see fit. However, most of the strict discipline will come from your sport.
Balancing Athletic and Academic Responsibilities
Balancing athletic and academic responsibilities has the potential to distract you from your academic responsibilities, but here’s the conflict: if you don’t do well academically, then you’re not eligible to participate in the college sport. Consequently, both sports and academics take center stage in competing for your time. As a college athlete, one cannot operate without the other.
Many freshmen college athletes underestimate the responsibilities of working and studying as a college student-athlete. The duties involve much more than a few hours of practice and game time. Student-athletes are expected to get involved in game film reviews, chalk talks, positional and compliance meetings, additional team workouts, showing up for publicity and media events, dedicating a certain amount of hours to local community service and possibly even recruiting weekends.
Being a student-athlete is a Full-Time Job!
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), student-athletes spend anywhere between 30-40 hours toward their athletic endeavors. That equates to a full-time job! In addition to these hours, students are still expected to maintain a decent GPA. USA Today College reports that college students spend approximately 17 hours a week studying. This does not include class time either.
Understanding the Importance of Time Management
It goes without saying that mastering time management skills are a key trait every student-athlete needs to have. The administrative and faculty team at Florida National University (FNU) strives to help our students succeed inside and outside of the classroom. The only way for student-athletes to succeed is to be highly organized. Sports already plays a critical role in promoting the structure and development of life skills that help foster discipline, integrity, leadership, and cultural diversity. Yet, we want to help you further master your skill set as a successful college student-athlete.
Not only does time management matter for student-athletes in the academic sense, but also in the social and mental aspect. It is important for students to have a healthy yet balanced social life for many reasons. One reason is to avoid depression and stress. Having a social life creates an outlet and an opportunity for students to do what interests them and relieves stress.
A study revealed that trends suggest that students are so absorbed in academia that they don’t notice their unhealthy habits. Regular college students are stressed to the points of creating unhealthy habits that can lead to depression and many other problems. More than thirty percent of all college freshmen have reported feeling overwhelmed and ten percent of college students have been diagnosed with depression.
These statistics are taken and created from the reported cases of stress and depression; not all students receive or ask for help if they are having problems. Therefore, the percentages of students being stressed or depressed are most likely greater than we know. Seeing that regular college students, ones without required workouts and study hours, have stress issues clearly conveys that student-athletes are at an even higher risk for creating unhealthy habits.
According to the National Health Ministries, one of the main causes of stress among college students is higher academic demands. In order to balance this stress, student-athletes need to manage their time in order to maintain strong mental health.
Here are 4 ways to improve your time management skills as a student-athlete:
1. Set Goals for Yourself
What is your ultimate goal? Is it to become a professional athlete? If so, think about what needs to be done to make that dream become a reality. If you want to be a professional athlete, then you need to be the best student-athlete you can be so that recruiters will notice you. In order to do this, you’ll need to practice and participate in team activities whether it’s a game or community-related event. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re eligible to play. As mentioned before, this means maintaining an acceptable GPA. In order to do this, you’ll need to put in the work needed to produce good grades.
student-athletes have an entirely different responsibility that regular students do not have to keep track of. So many things come into play for student-athletes such as workouts, weight training, study hours, eating, recovery, rest, and finally- free time. It is important for student-athletes to practice setting goals in order to succeed academically, socially, and athletically.
2. Create a To-Do List
As you can see, there’s really no such thing as having one goal. Every goal you set for yourself requires needing to achieve a previous goal in order to make it to the next step. This can be overwhelming for some because it’s not easy. That’s why it’s much easier to manage a list of all your goals. You’ll reap the satisfaction of being able to cross off each one as you come closer to your main goal! Creating a to-do list also keeps you focused and on track.
3. Stay Focused. Avoid Things That Will Distract You
It’s so easy to get distracted—especially with the world at our fingertips in our smartphones. For student-athletes, achieving excellence on the field or on the court may be second nature. However, when it comes to achieving academic excellence, that can be a totally different situation. Much more of a thought process is involved that taps your intellect in ways sports simply cannot do. Not only must you complete the assignments at a satisfactory level, but you’ll also need to manage all of the responsibilities associated with your academic and athletic duties as a college student. Knowing when to say ‘no’ to people and/or situations and/or events that will derail you from accomplishing your goals is a prime example of acting like a responsible and successful adult.
Determination is a common characteristic among student-athletes. The need and desire to become better, faster, and stronger is a feeling that motivates athletes. If it were up to the coaches, they would want their athletes to be training as much as possible up to the point in which training could be harmful to performances. If this were the case, student-athletes would never have time to complete their schoolwork, have a social life with free time, or time to recover. To prevent this from happening, the NCAA rules state that no athlete can train over twenty hours a week (Summary of NCAA Regulations). Forms are required to be signed by all athletes on a sports team stating that they did not train more than twenty hours in one week. If a student is responsible for the academic and the social areas of their lives, the athletic aspect will come easily and work well for them.
4. Take Time to Communicate with Your Professors
One of the best ways to exercise your networking skills is to start communicating with your college professor. Develop a professional student/teacher relationship so that your professor will have a better understanding of who you are, what your goals are as a student-athlete and how they can help you become a better student. They are Conquistadors too! They want you to succeed in the classroom and in your spot because when you win, the university wins!
FNU: Helping You Win in Life!
In order to be successful as a student-athlete, one must have their priorities in line. Their busy schedules are fit together like a complicated jigsaw puzzle. All of the pieces have to fit and be in the right place in order to see the big picture that they form. student-athletes have to manage their time so precisely in order to work hard in all aspects of their lives.
The most important thing you need is good time management. If good time management is practiced on a day-to-day basis then a student-athlete will be able to excel in their sport and in the classroom. If time management is not practiced, the amount of stress will be enormous and the ability to complete everyday tasks demanded by coaches, teachers, or graduate assistants, will become impossible.
With Florida National University, you don’t just win on the court or out on the field, you win collegiately. Getting a degree from a regionally accredited university will open doors to your future whether you pursue the career of a professional athlete or an executive.
Call our Financial Aid office to discuss what kinds of scholarships, grants, and financial assistance might be available to you. Visit our official FNU athletics page here to decide which sport you might want to try out for. Contact us today to get the admissions process started!