Starting college is a different lifestyle with many freedoms and many distractions. There's also no one pushing you to stay on track with schoolwork. Imagine the work that comes with adding a sport on top of that.
College is all about time management: when to wake up, when to do work, when or if to go to class and when to eat. Now throw practice and game days into that mix and it can get difficult for student athletes.
There is no time to relax until late at night and you feel like you're on "repeat" every day. My day starts by eating breakfast, going to lift at the gym, class, lunch and class. It can be overwhelming to make the adjustment from studying and preparing for exams to clearing your mind for practice time.
When you step on the diamond or field your mind is on that sport.
Practice usually is about two hours where the student- athlete is exhausted by the end of it.
Time to grab dinner then go do homework and study. This is when time management and priorities come into play - study or go hang with a friend? As a student-athlete, you have to choose study because you cannot drop below a 2.0 GPA or you are off the team.
There is no such thing as an early night when you're an athlete - especially if you're traveling that day.
Your assignments will still be due; professors don't push deadlines back just for athletes.
Then the day is repeated.
By the time off-season comes - winter for softball - is when a student athlete may have mandatory lift at 6 a.m. with additional workouts for each sport. The day becomes even more exhausting.
When your prime season starts and the team starts traveling during the week is when studies get tough. Student athletes start missing classes, which includes notes and special details that they should know for an upcoming paper or exam.
That isn't an excuse though. Work still has to be done on time.
Going through daily practices are tiring but worth it to play sports at a collegiate level.
When game time comes, all the cramming and not being able to go out Saturday nights are worth it because of the love you have for the game.
The blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice are all worth it when you have that game-winning hit or goal.
Everyone says college will be the best time of your life. That is true, but nothing compares to the teammates that you will meet playing a sport.
Those are the friends that you will have for the rest of your life because of the connection with the sport.
If someone is thinking about playing a sport in college - DO IT!
Even if it is club, the bond that one will create with the people is one that will never go away.
Stupski is a student in Dan Mason's journalism class at Mansfield University.
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