You know them, you may be one, or you watch them during a national championship game. Division I college athletes go through daily struggles and trust me -- we wish someone told us these things before signing our lives away.
1. There is pain, a lot of pain. Sore legs, sprained ankles, and surgeries are normal for D-I athletes. There will not be a day where it is not a struggle to walk up stairs or lay comfortably in bed. P.S. sorry everyone for taking the elevator to the second floor (leg day got the best of me).
2. You will be judged by everyone. Jocks or whatever else you want to call them aren't all what you think. We may seem quiet in class and we are sorry if it comes off as rude; we are just tired from being up since 5 a.m.
3. Some (most) of your professors will hate you. If it is from the countless number of times you miss class for games/matches or the all the makeup work you turn in at a different time; we all have had to deal with the wrath of one too many professors.
4. 3 hours of sleep will become normal. Workouts at 6 a.m.? Practice until 1 p.m.? Class until 6 p.m.? And 5 classes and homework? No worries, 3 hours of sleep is fine for us.
5. You will be up and have already taken one nap before regular students are awake. Workouts over at 7 a.m. and class at 8 a.m.? Power nap time. Some students wake up at 10 a.m. to make it to their first class; most of the time, we have already been up, worked out, napped, and started class by 9 a.m.
6. Drug tests are at 5:30 a.m. Oh, lovely drug tests. I can never decide what the worst part is: waking up at the crack of dawn to hold your bladder while waiting in a line or having a trainer watch you pee into a tiny cup and pour it into another. Either way, it is terrible.
7. School will seem
nearly impossible. Playing a Division I sport has turned into a full time job for us. With workouts, practice, a full class schedule, mandatory study hall, drug tests, and all the meetings in-between, school is too overwhelming. We do value our education as much as the rest, but sometimes it seems like dropping out will lead to a happier, stress-free life (not like we ever would, of course).
8. You will always get weird looks when you have to wear your gear to class. Yes, hi, I am running in late to class and yes, I am wearing my tennis skirt and tank top and holding two racquets. Please don't look at me. I tend to not look my best after coming to class straight from practice. And no, I do not want to be wearing these clothes all day to "look cool".
9. Having a job will not be possible. Look back up to #7. If school seems impossible, a job or internship does not even cross our minds.
10. Or a social life. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. We are way too tired to hangout with friends on Friday night or will have games/matches scheduled for the next morning. Oh, you want to go to the pool before Spring Break? Sorry, you will find me at practice. Oh, and I won't be on the beach during Spring Break. I will be somewhere playing in the middle of who-knows-where.
11. Your dream finally came true. We dreamed of this. Sometimes, we didn't know if it would become a reality; sometimes, we really really wanted to quit. But, your dream is finally a reality. Your dream may not be what you envisioned, but you are living the dream. You are lucky to call yourself a Division I collegiate athlete.
12. It only gets harder. It is hard. There is no denying it. Some make it and some break. It is not the life for everyone, but it sure is worth the try.
Being a D-I athlete has it perks, don't get me wrong, but many things go unnoticed while deciding if this is the life for you. It is exhausting, time-consuming, and possibly everything you have ever wanted. Be prepared for the grueling world of college athletics and try to enjoy the ride.