From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P: The Transition

From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P: The Transition

From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P. is a series that will talk about what it is like to be a student-athlete, as well as a regular student. This first part of the series, The Transition discusses the pros and cons of both.


They're the easiest to spot on campus. You'll see them covered in head to toe in school gear- their backpack probably even has their name and their number on it. They're normally seen in groups or pairs, rarely ever alone. There will be a handful of them in your classes, sometimes just one or two depending on your major. Who might I be talking about?

You guessed it. The student-athletes.

People are always talking about what it is like to be a student-athlete, but what is it like to be a "has been"?

I've been a student-athlete for as long as I can remember, but it wasn't until I transferred to USF, that I became a regular student. I stopped playing division 1 basketball to focus on school and my future career. Being a student-athlete isn't all it's cracked up to be. Yes, you do get the free gear, you're never alone and always have your teammates, but even though it seems like we have everything, there are definitely pros and cons.

Being on both sides of the spectrum has been a extensive transition. What's the other side you ask? I am going to call myself a N.A.R.P., Non-Athletic Regular Person. Although I am still "athletic", I don't play any intramural sports on campus, I go to the gym when I can, and I most definitely am no longer a "student-athlete".

This transition has been a cluster of confusion, especially being a senior transfer student at USF. First off, as a student-athlete, my coaches always made my schedule for me. I never asked any questions, and they just handed it. BUT, as a N.A.R.P., I didn't even know the first step in registering for classes, how to use degree works, or even which classes to take! It was the hardest thing I had ever done, and the most important task I needed to finish to get my academic career started at USF.

Not only that, I am now starving. EVERYDAY. I don't pay for a meal plan, and when I was a student-athlete that was already a given. I commute to class and sometimes I'll bring food from home, or snacks, but nothing beats being able to walk to the school cafeteria and get whatever you want.

Next is, getting involved on campus. When you go from living on campus dorms to commuting from St. Pete to campus, you have no idea what is going on, or what events are happening on campus. My coaches used to keep us up to date on all of the events, and sometimes we would even go as a team. Now, I actually have to read my email, consistently check the school's website and calendar, and decide if I want to go (going to these events is now a choice, not an obligation like it used to be).

In addition, being a student-athlete, you have to battle with the student-athlete stereotypes. Some professors will automatically pre-judge you because you're an athlete, as will some students. Some students don't want to do group projects with you because they think you'll be gone traveling so much. Some professors don't care if you miss class due to games, they want you to get the work done regardless. But now, as a N.A.R.P., I am an equal, just like the other students in a class.

Being a N.A.R.P., has a ton of perks don't get me wrong. Student-athlete life may seem like its amazing, but here is the tea.

The first privilege you get as a regular student is TIME. Being a student-athlete, you owe your time to your coaches, to your team, and to the program. You can't opt out to travel because you have to stay on campus for a project. That would be equivalent to getting paid when you never show up for work (in a perfect world). Your scholarship is what is paying for you to go to school, so you have to pay homage to that as a student-athlete.

The next pro about about being a regular student, is actually being able to enjoy school breaks. When you're a student-athlete, whether it's spring break, winter break, thanksgiving break, or even MLK day, you are either practicing, watching film, or conditioning. There are no days off whatsoever. When I was playing, I once had only 4 days for winter break to go home, and I had to be back and ready to practice on CHRISTMAS DAY. Yup, Christmas Day.

As a regular student, you also get freedom. Freedom to do what you want, nothing holding you back. You can do your homework on your own time, you are not required to go to x amount of hours at study hall. You can decide to go to the gym if you want, or not go if you don't want to.

And, although making your schedule can be difficult, you can make it yourself! You don't have to take certain classes or move courses around your practice times. You can take night classes, day classes, even online classes whenever! The world is practically yours.

Lastly, you get to make your own friends and college experiences. Being a student-athlete, you're basically put into this pool full of people you don't know, and you're forced to do every single thing with them and hopefully get along. If you don't get along, you still have to see these people everyday and be cordial. When you're a regular student, the friends you make are fully up to you, and you have the freedom to venture out and meet more people. Sometimes as a student-athlete you can get trapped in the student-athlete bubble. I never had time to join any clubs or organizations when I was playing. In my free time I was either doing homework, or practicing. However, now I am able to be a part of the campus community, AKA, "The Odyssey" (which I am so thankful to be a part of!).

Sometimes I do miss being a student-athlete, but then I remember that being a regular student isn't so bad. You have more freedom, time, and energy that's for sure. Which would you rather be?

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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Sports And Religion

Why are so many athletes religious?


I recently just made it on to the USC Track and Field team, and it is easily the biggest accomplishment I have ever made in my entire life. I worked so hard to physically and mentally prepare to try out for the team, let alone actually make it. I thank God for allowing me to have the chance to be a part of this team, as well as giving me that physical and mental strength required to do so, and I express this whenever someone congratulates me for making the team or even asks if I made it or not. However, I noticed that when I did this, some of the responses were a bit dismissive when I brought religion into the picture. When I said I thank God for it, I would be met with responses like "Yea well even aside from God..." or another response that drew the conversation away from my faith, away from the concept of a god.

In fact, I've noticed that many athletes are religious in some form-- more so collectively than other student bodies aside from religious groups themselves. I thought about why this may be, aside from the obvious answer such as growing up religious at home, because that does not answer the question; many people grew up in a religious household and are not religious themselves. So, I began to think personally. Why do I thank God for my athletic performance? There's a certain level of uncertainty within every sport. All athletes train their hardest to minimize this level of uncertainty, in order to maximize their chances of success. However, you can only train so hard. To me, no matter how hard you train, there's always some type of level of uncertainty to every level of performance: the chances of you getting injured, the chances of you winning your game or race, the chances of the opponent's performance, etc. This is where I think God intervenes, and perhaps other athletes would agree. There have been countless times where I ran well and had absolutely no idea how I did it. Yes, I worked hard to improve my times, but when you are in the moment of a race, or a game, that fades into the background, especially when everyone else has been working just as hard. It's just you, your race (or game), and God. That's it.

I could have not made the team. As a walk-on, there is more pressure for you to perform since the coaches did not seek you out; you sought them out. You are proving your abilities. Thus, I was nervous about my chances of actually making the team, especially considering the fact that the USC track team is arguably the best collegiate track team in the United States. I performed well during my try out and finished all the workouts, however I wasn't as fast as the other girls. In addition, I was 3 minutes late to my last day of tryouts and got chewed out by the coach for it. I was convinced that I blew my chances. And yet, somehow, I made it. I worked so hard for it, yes, but I thank God for keeping my body healthy so I could train to the best of my ability. I thank Him for allowing the coaches to have the time to try me out. I thank Him for allowing them to see my potential. I thank Him for giving me the best high school track coach possible who prepared me mentally and physically, as well as supported me throughout all the highs and all the lows. I thank Him for giving me this chance to continue my track career at the most prestigious collegiate team. My gratitude for all this, is simply infinite.

There is good reason why many athletes are religious; being an athlete requires you to be more than yourself. It requires you to dig deeper, into places that you didn't even think were possible, and really aren't without the belief of a higher power. The belief in a higher power, in whatever form or name that takes, means the belief in infinite possibility. And for an athlete to have that, means nothing can stop them from chasing their dreams.

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