The transition from high school to college-level sports often demand more dedication and time from student athletes, playing at a more intense level. With Meredith College being a NCAA Division III school, while being competitive, students are likely playing for the passion of the sport and academics may be the focus. When greater demands are placed on these athletes, it may become more challenging to find a balance between academics and their respective sport.
Balancing the two has proven an important factor for many incoming and prospective students. Meeting with recruits and even for myself, it is one of the first questions asked, whether or not it is manageable. Many students also take on an additional sport and are considered a dual athlete. Meredith Athletics “empowers each athlete to achieve [their] goals on the court and field as well as in the classroom.” They “encourage students to support the community in which their education is rooted, to give back to a community that has given to them a chance to foster and grow in athleticism and academia.” Although students welcome the challenge, many athletes have recently decided to take a break or step away from their respective sport for personal reasons—among them being overwhelmed with a filled schedule.
Of course, academics will need to take priority at the end of the day. Virginia Young, a parent of a student athlete, does have some tips for creating better balance and prioritizing both sports and academia in an athlete’s schedule. Her first recommendation is to “maintain excellent communication with your [professors].” This is something that Meredith staff organize well in that all athletes need to get a letter signed by professors at the beginning of the season acknowledging awareness of any classes or work that will be missed. It is still important to stay in constant communication with professors in order to keep ahead of work and not be overwhelmed with catching up.
Young also recommends “us[ing] your time wisely” with respect to utilizing any free time one may have in order to keep up with work. Bus rides to and from games for example, is often the time athletes use to write papers or complete assignments. Additionally, although it can feel overwhelming, using days off to do work instead of procrastinating the work will prove essential.
Finally, Young discusses the importance of asking for help. Whether it be from professors, academic advisors or even friends, help can make a difference. If people are unaware of struggles athletes face, then it is difficult to help and alleviate these problems. One of the advantages of being on a team is having a wide variety of experience and majors among teammates. Finding teammates in the same major or who have taken similar or the same classes can be helpful in terms of advice and solving any problems one may have in classes.
By Shae-Lynn Henderson, Staff Writer