Balancing Life as a Student-Athlete

I’d thought being a student-athlete in high school would be one of the hardest things I’d have to endure. And then I went to college.

The difference between high school and attending a university with a Division I program is something that surprised me before I got used to my daily schedule. The practices combined with the classes, also combined with the task of writing articles for both my school and the newspaper for my home in New Jersey, is something that many students would not be able to handle.

Since I was little, I always dreamed of becoming a Division I athlete. Watching athletes compete at the highest level of college sports on television inspired me for a long time and made me strive for the goal through hours of hard work.

As I got to my later years, I started to become conscious of what exactly DI athletes go through to compete at that level, and even what they did to get to that level in the first place. Through countless hours of watching YouTube videos and studying different techniques the athletes practiced, I had a better understanding that these people carried huge responsibilities, and I was willing to do whatever it took to not only become a student-athlete of this caliber, but to become one of the best and stay at this level for as long as I could.

When I came to Sacred Heart University, I had a miniature understanding of what was to be expected of me. I knew I would have to balance my studies with athletics and maybe have trouble with this balance every once in a while. This was a big understatement.

Now, I am not saying this is the hardest thing in the world to do. I believe I am very adaptable and I have a skill of being comfortable in uncomfortable positions, but what I expected was micro compared to what reality was going to be for the next four years of my life.

Having to go from an average of two classes in the morning and early afternoon, to competing in hard practices, to fulfilling weight room requirements, to doing homework while perfecting my craft as a writer is very hard, to say the least. There have been times when I questioned if I am actually capable enough to handle all of these responsibilities. The mental and physical beating one takes from these kinds of days is extraordinary.

But every time I get to this state of mind, I remember my grandmother’s saying: “We are not like the others!” When my grandmother says her famous saying, it’s not to be arrogant or conceited in any type of way. It is more of a self-motivation scheme to analyze yourself and tell yourself that you are more than what you think. You are a person that can knock any obstacle and achieve whatever you put your mind to as long as you know there is nothing that can take your greatness away from you.

Fortunately for me, Sacred Heart is an institution that helps me fulfill my grandmother’s words. While being here, I have been able to practice with the best teammates and coaches who not only challenge me, but also bring a level of energy that is unmatched. My professors give great lessons to learn from outside of the classroom as well as inside, and I have great resources that can take my writing to another level. Yes, being a student-athlete is hard, but thanks to my environment, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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