Simply put, being a college athlete is hard. Not only are you balancing a class schedule, and attempting to have a social life, but you have to worry about what time practice is at, when the training room is open, and what day you have to leave in the middle of the school week for a race. All of these added stresses may be time-consuming, but being a college athlete is an honor that I will cherish forever.

I will always be grateful, and I will always love that I decided to run for TCU. Although I am just a sophomore, I know that becoming a college athlete has helped me become more responsible, determined, self-sufficient and hardworking.

1. Sleep is key

I know this goes without saying, but sleep is so important. Sleep is the best way your body can recover, and when you're lifting or running multiple hours a day it is important to help your body recharge.

2. You're not going to have the "normal" college experience

You have to accept the fact that your college experience is just going to be different than everyone else, but that is not a bad thing. In my opinion, I think it is an amazing thing. Yea maybe you don't have the ability to join a sorority or fraternity, but your team is your family. Maybe you can't go out every day of the week because of practice and races, but you get to fly for free to different parts of the country to represent your school! Also, there are quite a few perks.

3. You are going to be an expert on time management

Morning practice at 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., class from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., training room from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., night class 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.! Great, I have an hour and a half in-between class and training room I can get some homework done..

This is kind of what your life becomes. You have to make plans everyday to figure out how you can squeeze something in. However, you will have time management perfected when you head into the real world, so that's a plus.

4. You are going to miss A LOT of school

Since you have to travel to races, games, or matches almost every weekend, you may end up missing a lot of school. This can be stressful at times, but if you've perfected your time management, you can conquer this small problem in no time, and hey, at least you get to travel!

5. You get to experience new places

I am only a sophomore at TCU, but I have traveled to New Mexico, Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, and I have seen a large portion of Texas. In my opinion that is really cool, considering that I do not have to pay for these trips, and I get to do what I love and compete for my school.

6. Sometimes you are going to show up to class sweaty and smelly

This is just a fact of life. You are not going to look your best all the time. I think most athletes can agree that putting on a pair of jeans is now your idea of dressing up.There will be many cases when you have to go straight to class after a workout. You may not look "hot", as some may say, but you need to own it.

7. You are going to be hungry all the time

Since you are constantly working out, your body is always going to want to eat. Not only are you using up all your energy throughout the day at school, but you are also in practice for three hours a day. Personally, I don't think this is a bad thing. You get to eat more in order to fuel your body, and who doesn't love eating?

8. You get to represent your school doing something you love

Not only do you attend your college, but you also get to compete to make your college better. As a college athlete, you get to step on the court, field, or track and know you're representing your amazing school.

9. You're going to meet the best people ever

Maybe when you're a college athlete you can't be a part of greek life, but I think being a part of a team may be even better. You are surrounded by people who are as determined as you, and all they want is for you to succeed. Through thick and thin, they have your back.

10. You know in your heart that becoming a college athlete is one of the best decisions you've ever made

Although it can be hard sometimes, you know deep down it is one of the best decisions you have ever made. Not only do you gain friendships that will last forever, but you also become more responsible and dedicated. You get to represent your amazing school by doing what you love.