Tips for Surviving Freshman Year as a Student-Athlete

As a student-athlete, you will have to juggle a full course load as well as go to practice, go to games, work out in the off-season and possibly work part-time.

How will you possibly manage it all?

The good news is there are ways for you to increase your likelihood of success. Here are four tips.

Find balance
You must learn how to balance academics, athletics, social activities, and other commitments. During your playing season, maintaining balance will become more challenging. Your greatest challenge will be time management.

Use a planner to schedule your academic responsibilities, athletic commitments, work schedule, and social life. When I was an NCAA Division I student-athlete, I wrote down everything I had to do, from waking up, to class times, practices, games, work, study time, mealtimes, and bedtime!

Go to class
It should go without saying, but you must go to class. This is where you will develop relationships with your professor and classmates—that doesn’t happen by just reading the textbooks.
For student-athletes, attending class regularly is particularly important because you will inevitably miss some classes during your playing season. Make sure you stay in contact with your professors and give them advance warning when you have to miss class. It will be your responsibility to keep up with assignments and course work.

Use support services
Some schools offer support services specifically for student-athletes. For example, some academic advisers work primarily with student-athletes and are accustomed to their unique challenges. Even if your school doesn’t provide specialized staff, it will offer general academic advisers, so be sure to visit yours regularly. Advisers are there to help you navigate college life successfully.
Tutoring centers, study halls, and priority class registration are additional resources available to student-athletes. It will be up to you to take advantage of them, but you absolutely should.

Self-care
You must take care of yourself. The basics are critical: Eat right and get enough rest.
Snack on fruits and vegetables. Remember: This is the fuel you need to stay energized, not just throughout the day but through your practices and games as well.
You should also strive to get a full night’s sleep whenever possible. Getting adequate sleep is necessary not only for performing in the classroom and on the playing field but also for good health.

Being a student-athlete isn’t easy, but it is definitely rewarding. Your collegiate student-athlete career will go by fast, so savor it and have fun, but be smart about it!

This post also appears on blackenterprise.com.