Being an Athlete and Having a Social Life: The Balancing Act

College is a place for a clean start. A new beginning unlike any other as you are meeting new people, stepping out of your comfort zone, and…being an athlete? Many of your high school teammates have retired from their sport and are off to a new world of carefree parties, sleeping in on weekends, and having an overwhelming amount of free time. I run cross country and track for my university and I know firsthand how keeping up with an active social life can clash with athletics. Being that I run cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter, and outdoor track in the spring, I don’t get a break. I simply have learned to balance.

Let’s start with the new world of carefree parties. There is nothing carefree about attending a party when getting caught could risk your scholarship or even your eligibility. Parties are a part of the college life that everyone should experience; athletes just need to be extra responsible. When you’re not away at a meet or a game you should take advantage of those off weekends! Go out with your teammates, they are in the same situation as you are and as teammates you will look out for each other. Act responsibly on these “off” weekends and remember as an athlete, you’re automatically in the spot light.

Sleeping in on weekends doesn’t happen that often for athletes. This can greatly affect your social life.  Who wants to stay out late on Friday night when they have 6:30am practice on Saturday morning? You must make friends with your teammates! Your teammates are the only people in the exact same situation as you. They’ll understand if Friday night turns into an early movie night instead of a party. Your teammates will spend hours a week with you in and out of practice, they’ll have your back, and they’ll understand your life style.

Athlete’s schedules can get crazy. Your friends might go to a few classes a day, relax at the mall, or go out for lunch. As an athlete you are expected to not only go to a few classes a day but to schedule them all around your 2-3 hour practice. Although free time is limited, it’s easier to work out a schedule than it looks. Based on your season, take the credits you can handle, go to practice, and be sure to get those required study hall hours your coach requires. I have managed to take 15 credit hours, attend track practice, do my homework, hold a steady job, do an internship, and spend time with my friends at the same time. It can be done. Be sure to write out a to-do list daily in order to keep all your responsibilities balanced.

It’s not easy to be a student athlete but it wasn’t easy to get there either. As an athlete you know all about setting goals and working extremely hard to achieve them. Balancing your social life and your hectic schedule is just like your sport, it just takes determination and a lot practice.

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Human Resources Management


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