If you're a student athlete, you know that you live a life very different from the average college student.
If you're not a student athlete, you most likely don't quite understand what college athletes go through on a day-to-day basis. As a soccer player at Iowa State, and someone who is experiencing the student athlete life, let me give you a little insight as to what it's really like. Let me start by saying, we play sports, and we are proud of it. What the average student doesn't quite understand is what goes on behind the scenes.
Many think that we use our gear to show off and gloat about how spoiled we are and how well we have it. Don't get me wrong, we are spoiled beyond measure and we do have it well. Very well. But what we sacrifice every single day to get the opportunities we have is often overlooked.
Now picture yourself being a student athlete.
This is your average day: You usually start with the sound of that dreadful alarm at 5:00 a.m. on the dot, sometimes earlier depending on the day. You get up, put on the workout attire, double checking to make sure you have on the right gear so you don't show up and have extra fitness to do. You grab a granola bar and run out the door. You and usually four or five of your teammates squeeze into one car and head to weights.
You walk into the locker room still a zombie.
You set your stuff down and know that you have a solid ten minutes to go from being half-asleep to pushing sleds and doing pull-ups. So you head to the weight room, do a warm up, grab your sheet to see your set weight for bench and squat, and you get to it. After a solid hour of lifting things and pushing things and throwing things, your out-of-body experience ends and you realize you're still alive.
Good news! You have about two hours to catch up on a full night's sleep, shower, eat breakfast, and get ready for class.
So, you spend the next one hour and 50 minutes sleeping and 10 minutes doing everything else including walking in late to class. You finally arrive, exhausted as usual, and force yourself to take some notes. So quick side note, this is the state in which most students see the student athletes.
We are always in sweat pants, probably eating something, and most likely half-asleep. So before you judge us again, saying we are so lazy and don't do anything, etc., consider what we probably just went through in the last four hours while you were asleep in your pretty little bed.
So after class, guess where you go?
No, you don't go home or do whatever you want like the average student, you head to the locker room to get ready for practice.
So there go another two hours of fitness and hard work that leave you dead. The first thing you usually want to do post-practice is eat. But wait, we have another class! So instead you grab three bagels from the locker room, smother them in cream cheese at a rapid pace, and go straight to class, sweaty and everything.
Finally, you are done for the day. Now, it's time for some homework. So you head home, study until about 1 a.m., then get up at 5 a.m. and do it all again.
So, to anyone who has ever judged student athletes and discredited us for the amount of work it really takes, enjoy hanging with your roommates every weekend while we do homework on a bus for seven hours.
Enjoy going home on occasion while we FaceTime our families that we hardly ever see. Enjoy all of the parties that we rarely get to attend. Enjoy having scheduling be a breeze for you while we try to fit our classes into little two-hour windows around practice.
Because I guarantee you, all of this hard work and chaos is the best thing that has ever happened to us and we wouldn't trade it for anything. Along the way, we meet our best friends, learn more than we ever thought possible about ourselves, and make priceless memories that we'll have forever.