My name is Jemimah Ndune. I am a junior business major with concentrations in accounting and management. I am also on the Milligan Women’s Track and Field team. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a student-athlete. I was 10 years old when my love for running and interest in trying new things resulted in me joining my middle school’s track team. I continued running track throughout high school, and I was given the opportunity to participate in collegiate track. Over the past 12 years, I have learned a lot about the sport and the techniques that come with it, but most importantly, I have learned the vitality of being a student-athlete.
So what exactly does it mean to be a student-athlete? A student-athlete is an individual who can juggle course workload and athletic expectations. It is about balancing sports, school, family life, friends, etc. In my experience, being a student-athlete is about being a student first and an athlete second. It means saying no to a lot of things due to prioritizing grades, sport, and family. It means going to sleep earlier in order to excel in sports and school. It means asking for help when needed and communicating with your coach and professor. But most importantly it has to do with being a student before an athlete.
Here are a few do’s and don’t when it comes to successfully being a student-athlete.
|Prioritize practice||Take on too many responsibilities|
|Complete assignments in chronological order||Skip class or practice|
|Maintain consistent sleep schedule||Miss meals|
|Use school resources||Try to hide injuries|
|Study early||Fit into stereotypes|
|Use planner or calendar||Conform to peer pressure|
|Communicate with coaches / professors||Wait till last minute to ask for help|
|Surround yourself with strong relationships||Study late|
|Challenge comfort zones||Let failure put you down, learn from them.|
To succeed as a student-athlete, you have to be able to prioritize your time. Between practices, classes, friends, etc. being able to set time to do different activities can seem overwhelming. But what I found helpful is having a planner; know when exams, tests, and games occur and fit them into your schedule. In the classroom, make it an effort to get to know your professors. Seek help from them if and when you need it. Do not be afraid to visit them during office hours, and always, always communicate with them.
Being a student-athlete is no easy task. It requires a lot of dedication to successfully do both. Rather than focusing only on academics or sports, it allows you to be more well-rounded. It teaches you important life skills such as time management, teamwork, staying positive, and growth from failure. There may be days where you feel like you cannot do both, but always remember you are a student before an athlete.
Although it requires much work, being a student-athlete is rewarding. The Milligan Track and Field team has enabled me to form an inner community outside the campus community. I have gained new friends and a second family. I enjoy going to practice because of the positive environment surrounding the track team. We hang out together outside of track and enjoy activities such as bowling, hiking, and playing frisbee. Thus, I would not trade my life as a student-athlete. I am able to grow both personally and professionally, day in and day out.