Surviving as a College Athlete

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by: Lea Hippauf

For most students the college experience is connected with a whole new life. Furthermore, a majority of students at Rocky participate in college athletics, which can make their lives even more difficult. “Being an athlete while in college is doable, but always challenging,” stated Kelsey Crona, a member of the Rocky Track Team.

Lea Hippauf poses in the library. Photo by Nicolas Cordero

Lea Hippauf poses in the library. Photo by Nicolas Cordero

Life as a student athlete means working extra hard, scheduling everything, waking up at six in the morning for an extra practice, waking up sore every morning, and putting work in every minute of the day to get the most out of the experience as a college student and athlete. “I always get a little stressed about how much I have to accomplish, but at the end of the day I know running makes me a better person, and I feel so much better knowing I’ve exerted myself physically and mentally each day,” added Crona.

Basically, you give up a lot of free time as an athlete. “You give up your free-time to earn something that is worth lot more,” Lauter said. Those who already survived their first year may have tips and are open to share stories and advice for new student athletes.

You may wonder why these students choose a harder life. The answer is easy: it is their way of life. Most athletes are passionate about their sport. The athletes love to run, ski, ride horses, or play a team sport. They get so much enjoyment from it that it isn’t so bad to wake up sore at six in the morning. “To be sore means you have got something done. That is a good feeling,” Lauter said.

Being on a team also gives the athletes a second family. On the women’s soccer team, some athletes go as far as to call their coaches mom and dad. Crona believes being an athlete at Rocky is made easier because of the relationship she has with her coach Mike McLean.

“I’ve never had better coaching than now because my coach is always helpful, passionate, and excited about running, and he believes in me.”

Establishing a relationship with your coach is a word of advice from Crona.“Really show them you’re interested in the sport, the school, your teammates, and their coaching.”

As an athlete you are required to maintain a specific GPA to participate. If there are academic troubles the Rocky campus provides help and resources for students. Professors understand missed classes and exams for sporting events and give athletes the chance to reschedule exams and work on the course-work on their own time. Students should let the professor know about the event in advance. Once again it is all about balance and scheduling, says senior Ashley Flanigan of the soccer team.

“It’s easy to manage school and soccer, when you have such a hard working team of teachers and coaches,” says Flanigan.

Many athletes are very goal orientated. They know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Life as an athlete teaches an individual how to focus, and that can carry over into other aspects of life. Time management is really big portion of that. Student athletes must be organized and learn to plan. It also becomes important to stick to good sleeping and eating habits to be successful.

Overall, most college athletes at Rocky master their life with flying colors and are often seen as role models around campus. By learning balance and time management and with the help of supportive teammates and coaches it is more than possible to survive as a college athlete at Rocky, it is possible to thrive.

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