By Alex Bock
Life as a student-athlete in college isn't all fun and games; it is a nonstop grind that leaves athletes both physically and mentally exhausted at the end of every day.
While typical college students normally wake up around 8 or 9 a.m. in the morning, or even sometimes as late as 11 a.m., most student-athletes are waking up for early morning practice around 5 a.m. in the morning - while the sun is barely peeking over the horizon.
From there, athletes endure lengthy and physically enduring practices. Teams cover drills, team scrimmages and, of course, conditioning. After all of that is said and done, players still need to go to class like everybody else, as well as do homework like everybody else.
If you ask any college athlete, they will tell you it's quite physically and mentally demanding, but it's all worth it. They'll tell you the sacrifice is worth the reward, and that the chance to collegiately play the sport they love and represent their school is priceless.
The article "The Life of a Student Athlete" by The Huffington Post stated only a small handful of athletes continue playing their sport at the college level. The article states, "Growing up, hundreds of thousands of young athletes dream about playing college sports. Then reality sets in. Everyone on your JV Basketball team isn't getting a full ride to North Carolina or UCLA."
It's explained right at the beginning of this article that the harsh reality is that not every high school athlete is going to make it big-time at the collegiate level. It is only the most gifted athletes that will have that chance.
While the life of a college student athlete may seem like living the dream to all the non-athletes, it's not nearly as easy as many people claim it is. The Huffington Post also stated student athletes don't have the luxury of a long summer vacation like regular students.
Other students will put certain labels on college athletes, believing that they're the ones who party the most. But what most regular college students often forget is that they're the lucky ones who get to enjoy their summer while athletes stay on campus for offseason training. The athletes also don't get to see their families as much as regular students do.
Many student athletes are where they're at because of their undying love for their sport, even as other athletes have gone so far as to quit their sport to get involved in other college activities. There are, in fact, athletes out there who would trade their sport in for a different kind of college experience.
The bottom line for most athletes is that it's all about time management. Being a student athlete is the ultimate way to teach people how to manage all of their priorities.
Sean Zak's article "From Sunrise to Sunset: The Life of a Student Athlete" described how a typical student athlete's schedule is broken up. Zak wrote, "The time commitment always leads the discussion. It's why some student athletes quit playing the sport they love. It's why the offseason is easier, academically and socially, compared to the competitive season. It's why most students, not even athletes, struggle to match the academic marks they made in high school. A day always has 24 hours, and sometimes it seems like less."
The key to being a successful student athlete is being able to balance academics and athletics at the same time, as well as other college activities.