Succeeding academically and athletically at the same time is no easy task. It takes a lot of time, planning, and stamina. Being a student athlete is challenging but rewarding. It gives a lot of opportunities, so the path is worth the hassle.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to effectively balance everything out and come on top of the game as a student athlete.
Set Realistic Goals
The first step is to create a list of goals you want to achieve for a specific period. They can be on different levels, from big to small ones, but most importantly, they have to be achievable.
SMART goal setting stands for:
So, the goal “I want to be a successful student and athlete” doesn’t work. It is not specific, measurable, or time-bound. The better formulation could sound like, “I want to perform at two competitions this semester” and “I want to pass all exams and get only A and B grades this semester.”
These goals serve as a blueprint of what you need to do and what you consider a success. Remember, though, that it is a relative term. But overall, it is much easier to achieve something when you know exactly what you are aiming for.
Develop a System of Helpful Resources
You’ll have to be very precise with your management and prioritization. So, anything that can help you do things faster, easier, and better is a helpful resource. This might include study groups, online resources, databases, or organizational apps.
One of the major parts of the college experience is academic writing. Students have to do a lot of papers, essays, and projects timely. Many learners tend to struggle with this, so it is good to gather useful resources.
For instance, if you are wondering whether someone can help me write my term paper, the answer is yes. Platforms like WritePaper offer assistance for all types of college papers. Experienced authors deliver writing, editing, and proofreading to all students who need such services.
So, when you lack time or confidence in your writing skills, it is great to have a helping hand.
To achieve the best results and boost your academic performance, create a system where you have all your resources close and can access them when needed. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.
Create a Schedule
The next step is to up your time management. College athletes should create and maintain a schedule that incorporates sports and all college activities. It’s also important to find some time to relax. So, how do you reach that perfect balance?
It is always good to have a digitized system with an online calendar and to-do lists. It is better than a paper notebook as you can take it anywhere with you and set notifications.
Here are the rules of reasonable scheduling:
- set all types of activities you need to engage in, from practice and classes to chores and rest
- put the deadlines in as soon as you get an assignment
- plan some buffer time in case something goes wrong
- set notifications for assignments two weeks before the submission date so you can start early
- be realistic with what you can do in a day
- plan out trips and sports competitions beforehand and add travel time
If you always practice at specific hours, set regular reminders. It will be much easier to follow if your schedule is mostly predictable.
Prioritization is the basis of time management. You cannot do everything; there are some things you’ll have to compromise on. Yes, it’s not that fun, but it is what it takes to be a successful athlete in college.
If you are using a digital to-do list/schedule, you can set different colors to various priorities. Those can be:
- red for urgent and important
- orange for important but not urgent
- blue for urgent but not important
- green for neither urgent nor important
Try to start with the most daunting task. With it out of the way, you can easily finish other tasks. And do not forget that although you have a lot of responsibilities, it is essential to relax and unwind.
If students skip the time to rest, they might end up with academic burnout and other issues like anxiety or depression.
Utilize All Your Time
Chances are you have some time during the commute, between practice sessions, or while you are waiting for the team/coach. You can use this period to keep up with your studies.
For instance, you can use wireless earphones to listen to audiobooks or lectures. This is also great for warmups or training sessions you do yourself without having to listen to instructions. Or you can open an app with study flashcards and revise some of the concepts or terms while you are traveling to a certain destination to participate in a competition.
Even taking some reading materials with you will help utilize your schedule to the maximum.
Communicate With Professors
Introduce yourself to the professors you are going to work with this semester. Let them know that you are an athlete and have a particularly busy schedule. It is a proactive approach that helps establish good relationships.
So in case you need to miss a lecture due to an important game, you can reach out and let your professors know beforehand. Also, ask how you can make up for the missed class. Maybe you can do a project or an essay to keep the grades up and follow the curriculum.
If you have any questions or concerns, visit professors during their office hours. They will gladly help and offer advice.
Find a Study Buddy
Another good idea is to find someone you can cooperate with in your studies. Athletes can join groups devoted to particular subjects. Or you can find a friend that can help you stay on track and not miss anything.
You can do projects together, share resources like helpful research databases and great grammar-checking apps, or learn in a pair. You can also keep each other accountable and motivate one another to achieve your goals. And if you miss some instruction or don’t take notes, you have someone to go to.
Look for Campus Opportunities
Colleges want all students to succeed. That’s why there are plenty of on-campus resources one can utilize. Start with an education counselor to adjust your schedule and optimize the workload for the year/semester.
You can also research tutoring centers, libraries, archives, and writing centers on a college campus. There might be athletic mentorship programs as well. Campus resources are usually free and designed specifically for students of this institution. And they are always in proximity, which is great.
Student athletes must show a lot of discipline and willpower to succeed in sports and academics. But it is not impossible. With reasonable planning and organizational skills, you can balance out studies and sports. Be realistic with your time management, create a comprehensive schedule, and utilize all available resources.
Do not forget to get some rest and ask for help when you need it.