Being a college student is a daily struggle. Add in playing a sport and your struggle increases dramatically. I can't imagine my life or college without sports, but there is an increase in stress with being a student-athlete. Here are 10 common (but not all) struggles that every student-athlete will face at one point or another.
1. There is no off season.
Is ice hockey a winter sport? Yes, but the season begins in the fall and ends in the spring. Is lacrosse a spring sport? Yes, but there are practices held in the fall and winter, while games start while snow is still on the ground. Summer? What is summer? We still have to train everyday, even if we go on vacation.
2. If you don't take at least one nap a day, you will not make it through the day.
Naps become your best friend. You will be able to nap wherever, whenever. Sitting down, standing up. Laying on a couch, on the floor of the locker room, maybe even in the shower, you will start to surprise yourself.
3. Being tired and sore all the time.
You can spot the athletes from across campus by the way they walk, or waddle, from class to class. More often than not they will take the elevator instead of the stairs to go from floor to floor while going to class. Sleeping is the only time the pain stops.
4. Having a bottom-less stomach and never ending hunger.
You can't remember the last time you had a regular meal schedule.You use your rigorous training schedule as an excuse to eat more. Who cares if you have six meals a day? You had practice.
5. Staying at school during break
While everyone else is at home or on vacation, you are still at school, practicing and playing games. While spending endless amount of your team without the stress of school is fun, you start to miss your bed at home and home cooked meals.
6. Not knowing what to do when Coach gives you the day off
What do you mean we have the whole afternoon free? Maybe this means that I might be able to go to sleep with all of my homework done before the clock hits midnight. However, you might think you can be super productive when you don't have a 3-hour block for practice, but your day might just end up unproductive.
7. Making your class schedule to accommodate your practice and game schedule
You need to take this class to graduate, but it's during practice, what do you want to do? Classes on Friday? Not an option. Classes after 3 in the afternoon? Not an option either.
8. You have the daily debate on whether to wear sweats or "real clothes"
It's cold out and you're tired, so what's easier to put on? Sweat pants of course. Your daily struggle almost always ends up with sweats winning. As an athlete, you will have an excess of team apparel. Real clothes only exist for special occasions.
9. Not having a standard sleep schedule
On Wednesdays you have a sleep in until 10:30, but Friday morning you're up bright and early for a 6:00 morning workout. Have too much work? You're asleep at 2:00 am, but other nights you can fall asleep at 10:00.
10. You feel like you're behind in everything
You miss class because of games, can't sign up for clubs because you just don't have enough time, have few friends outside of the athletic community, feel unprepared for internships, and you're always exhausted and have a hard time focusing in class.
Although there are the major struggles of being a student-athlete, the good outweighs the bad. We couldn't imagine our college experience not revolving around sports. We learn so many life lessons along the way, and learn to work hard. We have built character and mental toughness and we love being challenged. We chose to be a student-athlete. We chose this life.