We all know college will give you a run for your money…Literally. Going to college is tough but throw playing a college sport in there and it’s down right difficult. Many student athletes make rookie mistakes at the beginning of the year that are nearly impossible to reverse and save your grade and GPA last minute. The last thing you need is to under-prioritize being a student and wind up sitting the bench because you put yourself on academic probation for the semester. Below are a few tips and tricks I learned first hand that have helped me along the way:
- Ask your coach for your schedule ASAP
Most coaches have the vast majority of the season mapped out months in advance so before you schedule any classes make sure to get your season schedule from your coach. Then you can evaluate your athletic schedule and base your academic schedule and classes around that. For example, maybe you notice you have games almost every Monday, Wednesday and weekends, instead of taking classes Monday through Friday it would be smart to take Tuesday and Thursday classes and anything else online. This is especially helpful with practice since it would cause unnecessary stress to take a 3:00 class if you know practice starts at 3:30. This way you do not have to stress about missing a ton of classes or in class assignments.
- Communication is key
Make sure every single one of your professors know that you are an athlete for your school. You would honestly be surprised how many professors are willing to work with you when they actually are knowledgeable about your priorities outside of the classroom. Moreover, by following step 1 above, you can give your professors a copy of your schedule if you know there will be conflict between your schedules. Trust me, your professors will greatly appreciate this and be much more understanding if you have to miss an important lecture or test day. Not to mention, tell your coach about your academics if necessary. Your coach can easily email your professor verifying that you will be missing class or you need an extension because of road games or even if you need a test rescheduled because of last minute make up games.
- Form study groups with other athletes
The great part about fellow athletic peers is that they 100% understand the struggle of finding free time to do homework. Meeting up after practice with other athletes in the same class as you or better yet with teammates who are or who have already taken the class can help you study or explain parts of the course you may be uncertain about! Take advantage of being surrounded 24/7 with your teammates. Soon enough your study group on your team can fill bus rides or overnight hotel stays with study or homework sessions.
While the pressures of preforming to the best of your ability on the field coupled with fulfilling high academic expectations can be overwhelming, being proactive can give you a jump-start to accomplishing your athletic and academic demands. Best of luck!