Being a student-athlete is extremely rewarding because it not only betters you athletically, but also in terms of interpersonal skills. As a member of the women’s golf team, I’ve had the opportunity to travel and play with extremely skilled players. I’ve also had the opportunity to prepare myself for my career and develop skills that will help me in my time after Nazareth. Here are three skills that I have been able to develop over the past few years as a Golden Flyer (there are many more but after having two internships, I’ve seen myself implement these three skills a lot):
Time management: Being a student-athlete requires having the ability to manage your time to ensure you are completing athletic, academic, and extracurricular activities. I recommend having a planner to map out your week, and luckily, the Athletic Department gives each athlete a new planner each school year! There will be times when you’ll have to go to class dressed in your practice gear so that you can go straight to practice when it’s done. There will also be times when you will need to complete assignments a few days early because you know you’ll be traveling with your team. By doing this, you’re able to have a lighter homework load on the bus so then you can enjoy the traveling. This carries over into a job because there may be times when you’re working on multiple projects at once. By developing time management skills in college, you are able to implement that into your future career to stay on top of your projects.
Discipline: This skill sort of ties in with time management in the sense that you need to be disciplined to start assignments early to make sure you stay on top of your academics. When you plan out your days, you’re able to discipline yourself to make sure you make the most of your time. Student-athletes do not necessarily have less spare time than fellow classmates, rather, they are on a regimented schedule due to practice and games. This requires discipline to say to yourself that you have a two hour slot before practice, let me do homework instead of taking an afternoon nap (I’ll be honest, it took me a little time to choose homework over the nap!). Discipline will be used in the workplace when you have multiple projects at once but one in particular is due the following day but, unfortunately, another project due in a month has more of your attention. Discipline is needed to sit down and focus on the project due the next day knowing that once it’s completed, you can move to the next project.
Communication: This is a two-way street in the sense that you have to communicate with your professors as well as your coaches. Communication is needed with your professors when it comes to having to miss class for games (the Athletic Department does have excused absence forms for you to give to your professors when you have to miss class for a game). It’s important to let them know when you won’t be in class so that you can get assignments early as well as meet with them one-on-one to make up the missed work. In terms of your coaches, it’s important to communicate to them when you can’t make practice certain days of the week because of a class. Furthermore, it’s critical to let them know when you need to miss practice to meet with a professor to make sure you are prepared for a test or an assignment. Communication is key to a job because you need to communicate with your co-workers and supervisors when you need to take a day off of work or have a large workload and need help.
Most prospective student-athletes ask myself and other ambassadors about balancing academics and athletics. To keep it short and sweet, it is definitely manageable as long as you are in tune with your surroundings and are willing to succeed in both academics and athletics. The faculty and staff at Nazareth are extremely supportive and want to see you succeed. You will be missed in class or at a practice but it’s important to develop these skills to keep focused and to use them in your career.
Naz is an awesome place to be an athlete. Read more about what being a DIII athlete meant to Karissa and why Lauren thinks being a student athlete at Naz is the greatest things ever.