5 Ways to Not Trip Up as a College Student-Athlete

Interested in playing sports in college? Worried about how you’re going to juggle classes, new friends, and sports? If you’re a higher schooler who wants to play sports in college, get good grades, and maintain a social life, you’re going to need to learn how to manage your time. By planning and prioritizing the different areas of responsibilities in your life, you will not only manage, but thrive. Here are five tips to help you manage your priorities as a student-athlete.

Student-athlete1. Plan ahead

Before your season starts, keep track of all your games, practices and other team commitments. Whether this means writing down the dates in a planner or typing it up on a calendar on your phone, take some time before the season begins to map out the semester and set early deadlines for yourself. This includes setting dates to study for exams (instead of trying to cram the night before) and notifying professors when you’ll be gone at the beginning of the semester.

2. Choose non-conflicting class times

Most teams have games and practice in the afternoon. If that’s the case for you, try to schedule morning classes so there’ll be minimal conflict. While most college students would opt to take afternoon classes so they can sleep in, student-athletes need to be a little more intentional about how they schedule their classes. If you’re not sure when your practices will be, talk to your coach before you register for classes and choose classes that don’t conflict with practice times.
Remember, you’ll also be traveling for games, so keep in mind that you may have to leave several hours before the game to get to your destination. While you may be unable to avoid missing some class time, make it as infrequent as possible by choosing an academic schedule that accommodates your athletic life.

3. Schedule homework time

homework timeYour schedule is packed. A luxury that you don’t have as a student-athlete is getting things done “whenever you feel like it.” Figure out when you have free time, and choose one of those times to be your designated homework time. This can be the two-hour block of free time you have after your morning classes and before afternoon practice or the several hours you have before you go to bed. Know when that time is and commit it to getting school work done.

4. Say no

It’s important to choose wisely how you spend the rest of your time, especially when you’re in season. Avoid overcommitting to too many other activities. This doesn’t mean you can’t be involved in other clubs or groups, but it’s better to do a few things well than to spread yourself too thin.
College is a whirlwind of contact activity. Take some time to rest and recuperate so that you have enough energy for the important things, such as giving it your all during practices and games, spending valuable time with friends and family, and spending enough time on homework assignments and studying for exams.

5. Ask for help from teammates

TeamworkIf you play sports, you already know that your teammates are like family. You can keep each other accountable by doing things together, such as setting aside time to do homework, eating healthy, and working out.
You can also see what works for your teammate, especially the upperclassmen who’ve been student-athletes for a couple of years. Something that works for them might work for you too. There might even be times when the team can get together for study sessions or quiz each other on the bus on the way to games.
Being a part of a team is one of the best experiences you will have during your college years and with the right plan in place, you can thrive on the field and in the classroom!
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