What It Means To Be A Student Athlete

What It Means To Be A Student Athlete

What does the hard work really mean?

Chances are if you make it to collegiate athletics, you have already put in countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears into the sport you play. Collegiate athletics is the next step in becoming a better athlete. But collegiate athletics is like a hidden life that only the dedicated and hard workers are privileged to get to experience. There is so much hard work, pain, fatigue, etc., that goes on behind each student athlete. It is a full time job to play college athletics and although the NCAA currently is against college athletes being paid, we spend countless hours working on our craft to bring in a substantial amount of revenue for the school. I mean lets face it, would schools like Alabama be so popular if coaches like Bear Bryant and Nick Saban didn’t recruit incredible talent to win national championships? However, this article is about the life of a student athlete.

While the average college student schedules classes later than 10 a.m., most student athletes have already been up since 6 and have gone to a practice and lifted weights. We must schedule our classes around our practices to make sure that we can give 100 percent in the classroom and at practice. I mean let’s face it, bad grades means we can’t compete. Some student athletes get the joy of going to class sweaty after lifting weights and not having any time to shower, whereas your average sorority girl comes in wearing a $500 outfit, straightened hair, and a full face of makeup. It is a blessing to somewhat look decent to class if you’re a student athlete.

When the average student shows up to class 45 minutes late, it often infuriates the student athlete that has been up since the crack of dawn and must be on time to class never knowing if there is a class checker there making sure you’re on time. We overhear the plans of what frat/sorority socials and parties are being held on week nights and know that if we even want to survive the next morning there is no way we can go out. Like I said, collegiate athletics takes full dedication. Some might say that student athletes are not smart, and they’re only there to play sports. My response to that would be try doing “20 hours” a week of practice and then being attentive every day in class (and all you college athletes know why that 20 hours is in quotations). It is not easy to be on top of all the work all the time when majority of the time you just want to fall asleep. The free time that we do have is spent at study hall getting mandatory hours and studying for upcoming tests. Our lives are practically spent complying to the rules our universities and the NCAA. Although it might seem that I am making an argument for why student athletes have it harder, we actually are the blessed ones.

Being a student athlete is much more than the hours we put in to our sport. It is much more than the early wake up time, the frustration with teammates, coaches, and your average student. Being a student athlete means that we get to put our school’s name on our back and represent it doing what we love. We have worked hard to accomplish where we are and that pride of stepping out on game day is worth every ounce of sweat.

Being a student athlete means you are among some of the most athletic peers in your age bracket that are experiencing the same college journey as you. You get to meet other athletes that are gifted, driven, dedicated, and so much more. You get to create bonds and friendships with people that all start because you share a passion for the same thing as them: being an athlete. It means that when you graduate you walk across that stage knowing you gave all you could in the classroom and you represented the university playing your sport, and that is a dedication only some will come to know.

Being a student athlete means that young kids look up to you in an admirable way and you have the influence to empower them and keep them reaching for their dreams. Only athletes understand what other athletes go through and because of that it creates unification between sports. When we look back at our time with collegiate athletics we won’t remember most how much we hated specific practices (although they will forever be embedded in our minds), yet we will remember the joy, happiness, and pride that was spent doing what we love with people that we love.

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12 Confessions of an Ambivert

The complicated truths of an introverted extrovert.

Ambivert- (n). A person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features. I have been an ambivert for as long as I can remember. My mom likes to tell this story of me as a baby where I would be happy and playful and suddenly I would become fussy and I clearly just needed space. My mom would tell people, "Just set her down and give her a couple minutes". Sure enough after I had those few minutes to regroup, I was ready to be a friendly baby again.

It's different when you get older, though, because you can't just cry and push people away anymore and expect them to patiently wait for you to bounce back. People don't always understand how you can be both extroverted and introverted at the same time because most people fit into one category or the other: quiet and soft-spoken or comfortable with all the attention. They don't always understand how you can be so confident, loud, and obnoxious one minute then you need time to be by yourself the next. They don't always understand how you you actually like spending time by yourself and it has nothing to do with your feelings towards them. They don't always understand how exhausting it is to figure out how and where to invest your limited amount of energy throughout each day.

Because that's exactly what we do: it's like we start the day with 100 pennies. Eating a meal out with friends will cost 22 pennies, stressing about homework and other responsibilities will cost 31 pennies, going anywhere like the mall or to the movies or anything really will probably cost about 45 pennies if it involves socialization (not because socializing as seen as a chore, rather this is when we become extroverted and it takes a lot of energy). Then you're left with 2 pennies before you know you're going burn out, and sometimes you get stuck. You can't leave or escape so you have to force yourself to continue to be "fun" and "witty" when all you really want to do is close your eyes and wrap yourself in a blanket for about 23 minutes.

This is why sometimes we choose not to do certain things with others. If we can't mathematically figure out how to string our days together and balance our energy properly, we know the wave of exhaustion coming our way. I hope other ambiverts out there can relate to these confessions and characteristics from a fellow ambivert.

1. Sometimes we wear a mask that is basically labeled “extrovert”.

This is not to say that all extroverts are obnoxious; some are just sociable. But I know when my extroverted side comes out, I am loud, proud and looking for attention.

2. Other times the mask comes off and we just can’t “people” anymore.

I always want to leave if it becomes too "people-y".

3. We need time to recharge.

It doesn't take long; but it's necessary for the survival of an ambivert. Too many things going on (especially if there's little time in between) does not end well for us.

4. We like spending time by ourselves just as much as spending time with people.

I love my people. But I also kinda like me.

5. We love strangers.

Custodians? Love em. Workers from the Hill? They know me by name. Random people at the grocery store? We're friends now. I get this one from my mama (she's even worse though- most of the time I really think she knows the person).

6. Other people's energy helps to determine our own.

This one is interesting because sometimes we feed off other's high energy but other times we don't like to fight for the spotlight if someone else has it. Sometimes we join in and other times we get it started; energy is complicated. We are complicated.

7. We become standoffish when we’re uncomfortable, intimidated, or unsure how to balance our energy levels.

I'm the queen of standoffish behavior. Passive aggressiveness is not far behind. I'm so sorry.

8. We look forward to unwinding after a long day, week, month, year, life.

It's the only thing to get us through when we're dangerously close to the burn-out zone.

9. We are often comfortable as the center of attention and are able to lead a whole group confidently.

I gotchu fam. (Most of the time).

10. Some people assume we are quiet and shy all the time.

Especially in classes. Or when we're walking somewhere alone. So many reasons to be introverted and save up that precious energy.

11. We are like the definition of a wallflower.

Take it all in. Adjust our energy. Repeat.

12. We are constantly thinking and observing, and reacting to these thoughts and observations. Being an ambivert is quite exhausting; but it's all we know.

It's definitely exhausting but it's also kinda cool; we have the best of both worlds. It's just hard to explain to others because it is an inconsistent phenomenon. In the end though, it's all we know.

Cover Image Credit: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Projection-Mirror-Image-Mirroring-Mirrored-2968578

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12 Thoughts Every Average American Has While Watching Above-Average Americans Compete In The Winter Olympics

I'm sorry, how old are these people again?

The Olympics is an international stage for the world’s greatest athletes. There are two types of Olympic games: the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. Every two years the Summer and Winter Olympics alternate, each taking place once every four years. There are some key factors that make watching the Winter Olympics very different from watching the Summer Olympics like the seemingly greater risk-taking of the winter games.

The 2018 Winter Olympics is taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea right now, and everyone watching the games on their television back home on their couch are thinking very similar things.

1. Wait… how old were they again?

Half of these athletes are years younger than me or my age, and they have already accomplished much more than me. It is disconcerting. It makes me feel like I should go be more productive in life because if 17-year-old Red Gerard and Chloe Kim can win gold for the USA in snowboarding, I can at least get up off the couch.

2. These athletes are all beautiful.

Olympic athletes have bodies that are the epitome of body goals. They are all extremely fit, and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to look like that. I just can’t figure out if I want to look like them or date them more.

3. I can do that… in a video game.

I mean, SSX3 anyone? Or Wii Sports? I promise you that part of my brain is thinking of how I can pull off that trick in some kind of video game because that is where all those insane tricks and flips belong—in a video game where no one actually gets hurt.

4. How are any of them even alive?

Winter Sports seem to take injury-risk to a whole new level. Figure skaters do flips and jumps on ICE with sharp blades on their feet, and snowboarders fly high into the air to land on hard, packed snow that feels like the equivalent of CONCRETE if you fall.Then, of course, you’ve got all the speed-sports where athletes go WAY TOO FAST on mountains or ice. They all risk serious injury every time they compete (or practice). And yeah, I’m pretty sure those snowboarders have all broken their necks at least once.

5. I know they practice and prepare for this exact moment their entire lives, but they’ve got to be superhuman right?

Okay, we have already gone over how they are all risking their lives and yet continue doing crazy stunts. Now let us talk about the actual stunts they do. None of that seems real, right? I can’t be the only one who thinks that the way these athletes can pull of these insane moves seems superhuman, and it is more than just tricks, it is the fact that they can do those tricks under immense pressure.

6. It’s not fair how easy they make it look.

Not only do these Olympic athletes pull off insane moves under immense pressure, they make it look easy. They make it look like they somehow haven’t been just defied all the rules of gravity. I know it is not easy, but they are so talented that they make it look like they just took a regular walk in the park.

7. I’m so anxious! I can’t watch!

I can get so caught up in cheering on the athletes that I get nervous for them. I think it is near impossible to not get nervous when Shaun White jumps near 20 feet in the air or when Mikaela Shiffrin zooms down a mountain at ridiculous speeds or even when Chris Knierim throws his wife and figure-skating partner, Alexa Scimeca-Knierim, into the air - all I can think during those moments is “Don’t fall! Don’t fall!”

8. Man, that spandex looks really uncomfortable.

I don’t know if those uniforms and costumes are actually uncomfortable, but they certainly look like it. The athletes look like they should be cold too; it does not look like they are wearing enough layers most of the time with the exception of snowboarders.

9. Bless their families!

I cannot imagine how hard it is for the families of these athletes. Families of any athlete sacrifice a lot. I know because my family is full of athletes, but none of us are Olympic level athletes. It makes me wonder how much more families of Olympic athletes sacrifice. I doubt there would be as many athletes in the Olympics if it were not for such supporting families willing to make it happen.

10. Do the athletes get to have any kind of social life?

I wonder what kind of social life these Olympic athletes get to have and how they manage to balance all of that with the intense training that comes with being an Olympian. I mean how much free time do they get in between being superhuman?

11. Speechless.

Sometimes while watching the Winter Olympics, I become utterly speechless. I just have no words. There are some moves these athletes execute that I cannot react to more than to look on with wide-eyes and open-mouth. The Winter Olympics is filled with heart-stopping, jaw-dropping moments where simple words cannot do justice.

12. I’d love to actually go to these someday.

Going to the Winter Olympics is on my bucket list, and it should be on everyone’s list if it isn’t already. To be able to see these events alive would be amazing, and I imagine that the excitement level would be even bigger than it is now while I sit on my couch.

All that being said, the Winter Olympics are special, and the athletes, no matter which country they are from, are even more special to everyone watching. It is moving to watch the athletes succeed at reaching their dreams and goals and to feel like we are a part of the moment. Thank you, Olympians, for all of your hard work and sacrifices; it is a joy to watch you beat the odds and do the impossible.

Cover Image Credit: @bmlvail | Instagram

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