When first starting college, I wondered how I would be able to balance my time as not only a student but an athlete too. Especially now, during this semester at West Chester University, I have to work hard on and off the football field. My typical schedule includes: waking up at 8 a.m. for a position meeting, going to class and completing homework, practice, and eating between all of these. This routine takes me all the way to 7 p.m. Which at that time, I usually eat dinner, shower and do any schoolwork that still needs completion. As you can notice I rarely have free time to be able to spend with friends or do any other activities. It’s also noticeable that it can be hard to keep up with homework and when exams are.
As a student-athlete, your schedule is basically made for you and there’s a slim amount of free-time. However, by using certain techniques to maximize time, life as a student-athlete could get easier. Here are the methods I like to use that can be beneficial for student-athletes (or students in general) as they learn to improve their time management:
1. Keep an agenda book or set reminders
For homework assignments, I will try to fill out my calendar section before the due date of each assignment. This information can usually be found in the class syllabus/schedule or if a professor tells you weeks in advance. I usually will do this so I know exactly what I need to work on for that month. If you don’t keep an agenda book or set reminders, there’s a high chance that you could forget about an assignment or exam. One of the main ideas of an agenda book is to be able to write down what a teacher assigns on a day to day basis. This is why I believe they are beneficial, especially if due dates change. This way when homework starts to build up over the semester, I can’t miss anything.
If you’re not the type of person to write things down, try setting reminders on your phone or laptop. This can be helpful because there are options to set alarms for specific dates which can go off hours, or days before the assignment is due. As a student-athlete, I personally set reminders that tell me what is going to be going on that day so I don’t miss anything important. This is especially helpful when my day is a busy one. This option is flexible since your able to adjust the time you would like to receive the reminder, and you could set it so it tells you a week in advance or the night before.
2. A good nights sleep
Getting a good nights sleep can help waking up early easy, which in turn, can help your body and mind prepare for the day. When in season, managing school and sports can be exhausting. This is usually from my sleep schedule alone. As I became aware of this, I actively started to work on getting at least 8 hours sleep. Sometimes it can be tough to do because practices can run until 7 p.m. As a student-athlete if you’re able to get out of practice and get right to schoolwork, you should still be able to get to bed at a reasonable time. When I started going to bed early, I tried to be in bed by 11 p.m., this way I can wake up feeling refresh and ready to attack the day.
3. Selecting a study spot
Studying every day and going selecting a place that can help you focus will absolutely help in doing well. It can be difficult to sit down and do schoolwork especially after practice, but this is what most athletes sign up for. The grind is different than most students but can make you appreciate the time in college more. I know with my personal experience, I can relate because as a student-athlete, it’s frustrating to try to find time to study every day since free-time is so scarce. After a long day of practice, games or workouts the last thing a student-athlete wants to do is go somewhere to do homework, but if you are able to find a place where you can be alone with no distractions, you have no choice but to do work.
4. Take advantage of office hours
Visit office hours if you have any questions not answered in class. When I have time in my day, I like to visit my professor if our hours line up. Even when a class is canceled, I usually try to meet with them to show I’m actively trying to succeed in the class. If my professor is not available or if our hours don’t line up, I like to meet up with classmates. Being able to meet up and communicate with classmates is a big key to success in classes. They could add different perspectives to concepts or if you don’t understand how a professor teaches, a classmate may be able to explain things easier.
Coming on campus as a freshman student-athlete I felt like a kid. I didn’t know the in’s and out of being a college student. I didn’t know the struggle of managing just more than school and high-school athletics. However, as time passed I was able to manage to be a student-athlete and taking advantage of my free time. If I didn’t start using these methods, I wouldn’t be the student I am today. This is why I encourage people to follow these four techniques since it will help you become not only a better student-athlete but a better student in general.