Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Delicate Balance: School and Sport

This is what goes through my mind when non-athletes complain about their workload and how overwhelming it is to be them. Please. Whining about getting up for an 8 a.m. class? Give me a break. Try doing what we do: wake up at 5 or earlier, go straight to practice where you're pushed to the edge mentally and physically, and then go to your 8 a.m. after choosing either a shower or breakfast (because both would make you late). And who knows? After that you could still have a couple more classes before lunch, not to mention the extra workout in the middle of the day twice a week. Now, I'm not complaining. I have plenty of free time because I don't have much of a social life. I'm just here for my fellow athletes, providing a guide to balancing school and sport. Here are just a couple things to remember from what I've learned:

My first advice is do not stress out. Obviously, stress is a natural, unavoidable part of life, but when you feel it starting to overwhelm you, take a break. Give yourself an hour or a day or whatever you need to get your head back to normal. As a lifelong procrastinator, I have no problem putting things off until tomorrow, but for those of you who must get things done on time (I admire you, first of all), I promise that taking a breath will help. Just take half an hour to watch a funny sitcom episode or do some internet surfing or even both-- anything to take your mind away from schoolwork and your sport. But make sure your break doesn't last too long. You don't want to end up forgetting the thing you're avoiding.

Another way to balance is to keep a schedule for yourself. Get into a routine with your classes, practices, and homework time. If you can keep this in your head, great. If not, get a planner. They're pretty great. Even though I tend to use them one semester and then neglect them the second, but that's just me. There's an underlying lesson in this, if you haven't already figured it out. Be better than me. Learn from my mistakes.

The final mistake of mine from which we can all learn a valuable lesson: don't get a concussion. Then all the rules go out the window.