Being a student-athlete comes with a bunch of responsibilities. Between classes, practices, morning lifts, and team-related functions, it can be very difficult to plan your next meal or afternoon nap. Not only am I a student-athlete, but I also work a part-time job 15-20 hours a week, another part-time seasonal job on the weekends, and attend intense physical therapy 3 times a week all while commuting from home. I often spend up to 15 hours a day on campus between classes, work, and practice. This may seem like a lot to juggle, but I think that I handle it fairly well. I wouldn’t trade my crazy schedule for anything. I have learned to manage my time wisely and I have sacrificed quite a bit to allow for myself to grow as an adult. Some people think that I’m crazy for doing what I do, but I honestly cannot imagine life if I didn’t run around all day like a chicken with my head cut off. Yes, I do wish I could take those afternoon college student cat naps, but I’d much rather be doing something more productive. A crazy schedule comes with a lot of stress, however. Wondering when I’ll be able to get my homework done or when I can schedule my next doctor’s appointment are things that I worry about on a daily basis. Every day is completely different and advanced planning is very important in my life. In this edition of The Student-Athlete Handbook, I am going to share how I keep myself calm, cool, collected, and organized in this crazy life of mine.
Use a Planner
I swear and live by my planner! Not only do I use it for important dates, but I also use it to write in all of my assignments, exams, practice activities, and work schedule. I write out a monthly schedule as well as a broken-down daily schedule and hourly schedule. I even color-code everything so I can identify things clearly. This is the only way I can keep myself organized and how I keep up with everything. Everything is in one place and nothing is better than checking off a completed item! I enjoy being organized and knowing my schedule ahead of time so I am not panicking at the last minute.
Plan Ahead of Time
Staying organized brings me to my next tip: PLAN AHEAD! If I know that I am going to be on campus all day, I usually pack the night before and give myself plenty of time to do so. This means I pack my practice gear, my study materials, lunch (and sometimes dinner), and I always pack extra clothes just in case. Since I pack so much, I always give myself plenty of time and always double check to make sure I have everything since I don’t go home at all during the day. Use different bags for all of your stuff so you know where everything is!
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
This is so important! For me, I have to coordinate my work schedule with my practice schedule so I can work all of my hours and make it to practice on time. Let your superiors know your schedule so they can work with you and accommodate. This was my biggest worry while taking on such a demanding lifestyle, but in the end it has worked out perfectly. Planning all of this out ahead of time makes everything easier for you in the end.
Find time for YOU
A busy lifestyle comes with a lot of stress and sometimes it is difficult to find time to relax. I don’t have much time away from school, practice, and work to relax and engage in fun activities that most college students typically have. I’ve realized that after finishing my second year of college that it is really important to step away from the stress once in a while and let the body heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. My family is very important to me and I love to spend time with them every change I get. I also love to binge watch Impractical Jokers and hang out with my friends. Find what makes you happy and take some time to yourself when you can. Getting enough sleep is also something I value deeply. Taking time for yourself will make you happier overall and you’ll be refreshed once you have to get back to reality!
Most would say that juggling the life that I live at 20 years old is crazy, but I embrace it and enjoy every single minute of it! I love constantly being on the move and I couldn’t imagine living any other life. I believe that it has prepared me for life after college and beyond. I have learned exceptional organization skills while maintaining the responsibilities of a student-athlete. I can’t wait to see what next semester brings!