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Managing College Life as a Wilkes Student-Athlete

Hello everyone, my name is Tatiana Mancera. I am a junior communication studies major with a double concentration in multimedia journalism and media production, as well as a double minor in sports management and sports psychology. I am also a member of the women’s soccer team. In the Fall 2020 semester, I had an amazing opportunity to intern with the Allan P. Kirby Center as a communication intern, and I was fortunate to have been given the chance to stay with the center for the Spring and Fall 2021 semesters.

To put it simply, being a collegiate student-athlete is not easy. There were moments before coming to college that I second-guessed being able to manage being a student and an athlete. Frankly, I have thought about quitting my sport at times because of the workload. There will be days when you have lift, practice, papers, tests, meetings, classes, and so much more, which is why it is important to learn to manage your time properly.

Here are a few tips that I have learned that have genuinely helped me succeed throughout college and never made me second-guess giving up my sport again.

Tip #1: Always read through your syllabus

This first tip may be one of the most helpful I can provide to others. Reading through your syllabus is truly the first step in managing your time effectively. It will highlight the expected workload, due dates, and the weight and worth of every assignment. Reading through the syllabus for each class will help you to plan ahead and allow you to communicate beforehand to your coaches, bosses, and supervisors what days are more flexible for you. It will provide you with an idea of how your days will look for the semester and how not to spread yourself too thin.

Tip #2: Always do your assignments when they are given

Sometimes, professors will not tell you about an assignment until a couple of days before it is due, or they will tell you months and weeks in advance and it will be your responsibility to remember. They will make sure you are keeping up with lectures, readings, and assignments, which is why it is important to always do assignments either soon after they are assigned or little by little. Creating a system of when you do homework and when you take breaks could be helpful, as due dates are closer than they appear. One minute, you may think that you have a substantial amount of time to complete an assignment because it is not due until next month, and then the next thing you know, it is that month. Be careful with leaving assignments until the last minute because that could cause you to fall behind.

Tip #3: Focus on the present, not the future

It is incredibly important to always be present mentally. Yes, you can show up to practice or lift. But, were you really there? Were you really paying attention to the drills or just going through the motions? As a student-athlete, there are going to be days where you are going to be practicing, and you find yourself thinking about all the homework you have to do or that huge test you have tomorrow. Understand that this is part of being a collegiate student-athlete, and it is normal. You need to focus on the present and what you can do to get there effectively.

As stressful as life may be, it is always important to remember that you are playing your sport for the joy that it gives you. When you are practicing or competing, this is your time to forget about every other stressor in your life and do the thing you love to do. It is your two hours a day to relax and have fun with your teammates. Do not worry about the homework and studying that is waiting for you – just focus on practicing and getting better and stick to your schedule to get work done.

Tip #4: Get yourself an agenda and make sure you do not spread yourself thin

As important as homework and exams are, it is also essential to remember that you are human and that rest is necessary. As a collegiate student-athlete, it is important to write down all of your due dates for classes and for the center (if you get the opportunity to be an intern or a scholar), as well as all of your games, practices, lifts, and films. Once you have this information, write it down and make a schedule for yourself every week. This will help you to manage your time properly, and it will let you know when you can take on more work and when you can not. And even if you feel as though you need to tackle another assignment, remember sleep and food are necessary. Never put them second to your work.

Tip #5: Enjoy yourself, you are only young once.

And last but certainly not least, it is important to remember that you are still young. Push yourself throughout the week; get all of your work done; and enjoy yourself on the weekend as a reward for your hard work. Even if you feel as though you should be doing some type of work, try to avoid leaving major responsibilities for the weekend. If you did all you had to do for the week, enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation. We may be pursuing degrees and preparing for our futures, but we will never get these years back. There is nothing wrong with taking a break, especially after you have earned it.

If you are a senior in high school who does not know whether to play your sport in college, do not be scared. It is all about time management. I always wished I had someone to help me as a first-year student, but I am glad I have the opportunity to help advise the younger generation of collegiate student-athletes.

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