When athletes first commit their lives to play a collegiate sport, there is excitement that comes from seeing that hard work actually pays off. But what athletes don't get to see before they attend school is that, although we are called "student-athletes," it's hard to be a student before being an athlete.
Between practice, treatment and film, the average amount of time spent for a sport is four to five hours per day. You must arrive early to practice and stay late to heal your body. You must watch film to adhere for your mistakes on the field and spend extra time fixing those mistakes for the next game.
What many people forget is that not only do we have to include two to three classes a day, on top of three or more hours of homework, but we also have to include meals and a social life that help keep us sane. Some friends may think we are ditching them, or that we are don't like to have fun.
But in all reality, athletes love to be just like everyone else. Not getting recognized as an athlete all the time can sometimes be nice. People like to stereotype athletes as lazy students, but in all honesty, the amount of time athletes put into school is about as much time as they can.
Professors at certain colleges do not like to deal with student-athletes. We miss an average of six sessions per class a semester while in-season. Professors expect us to get notes from classmates (who we do not speak to) and understand what they are writing down. They want us to come to their office hours that most likely do not fit into our practice schedule, or make up an exam on the road after we finish games that put us out in the sun for nine hours.
So the term student-athlete can sometimes switch to "athlete-student." As many people like to praise athletes for their accomplishments, they also like to put a negative stereotype on athletes in the classroom.
As I cannot speak for all athletes, I do know that even though people may think athletes have it easier than non-athletes, I would like to enlighten others that until you have been in our shoes, we have to work a lot harder than what you think to just be able to live a balanced life.