People look back and make fun of how active they were back in high school. They questioned how they managed to juggle classes, exams, projects, school organizations, and hang with friends without getting sleep deprived. As a college student-athlete, I share the same sentiments and think to myself: where did all that energy go?
They say life with extracurricular activities is rewarding and will undoubtedly give you memories and lessons you will keep forever. It truly is but it’s not always easy. As a student-athlete, juggling classes, internship, requirements, sport trainings, and tournaments gets overwhelming, especially the increasing mental and physical demands. Here is a sneak peek in the life of a college student, student-athlete, and everything in between:
POV: Life As A Student-Athlete
As a College Student
Student in the morning, athlete in the afternoon, then student again at night. Most college-level athletes study physical-education-related courses to match their class schedule with their training schedule. Unfortunately, as a communication night-shift student, I didn’t share the same privilege as my subjects occupied different times of the day. Pre-pandemic, I attended a three-hour class which starts at nine in the morning and ends at 12 noon. After the class, I would rush to the main building where our tennis courts are and train until my next class. Our training starts at 3 p.m. so it’s self-training before that.
Our last class for the day begins at six and finish up by 9 p.m. By then, my mind and body already feel exhausted but there’s still a 45-minute commute going back. I use that time to start working on an assignment by conceptualizing it in my head. I continue working on the idea of my assignment after doing my chores at home. This amount of workload proved how 24 hours is not enough time to finish everything I need to do.
Not everybody understands the demands of a student-athlete. This struggle is exceptionally true for non-physical education students. Being excused from class comes easily for physical education students but not for communication students like me. They disregard the magnitude of simultaneously exhausting your physical and mental being to represent the school.
Trying our best to excel academically. The most common perception towards athletes is that they don’t thrive academically. People often mistake athletes as persons who do not take their academics seriously. However, as a student-athlete, we easily drown and get lost with so many requirements because of training. Thankfully, I have friends who form groups with me and remind me of deadlines, so I don’t get left behind.
As An Athlete
Life as a student-athlete means no days off. Before the pandemic, I attend classes on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. The team trains three times a week scheduled every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On my days off, I’m either doing my requirements for the week or doing extra training. I stopped playing tennis for five years and I almost didn’t make it in the team. However, when I got in, I knew I had to work harder than the others. I trained on Tuesdays even though it’s not a training day.
Student-athletes treat sports as an escape, an outlet. Most athletes relate to this. In a world that’s overwhelming and tiring, sports serve as an outlet. When things are difficult, burying yourself in training distracts your thoughts momentarily. Sometimes, this logic doesn’t make sense because if we’re tired, why do we still choose to play? To be honest, it’s not the rest we are craving, it’s the outlet. Sports become our vent to let our frustrations and our pent-up emotions out.
School and training become your social life. Being occupied with studies and training makes the people in that circle your social life. It sounds sad and dull, I thought so too at first. However, playing tennis led me to become friends with people who share the same love and passion for the sport. Participating in tournaments allow you to meet players all around the Philippines and motivate you to become stronger.
Training expenses are your personal expense. As a student-athlete studying in a state university, training clothes, shoes, and equipment like racquets are your personal expense. Unlike prestigious private universities, state universities do not have sponsors from big brands. I felt the weight of carrying out my training at my personal expense during the pandemic. As a student-athlete, I had to make sure I maintained my physique and train regularly. Renting a court for an hour cost ₱100 and the minimum number of hours in training is three hours. Imagine spending ₱300 thrice a week for training, excluding food expense, training balls, and commuting expenses.