5 Tips for Freshman Student Athletes
So after years and years of slaving away in the gym, you have finally made it. The victory lap of your athletic career. Olympic status, even. You’re playing college sports.
You’ve proudly finished all of your summer workouts, your dorm is worthy of a Teen Vogue spread, and you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed; ready to start. It seems like a fairy tale from the outside, but you’ll quickly learn the reality of being freshman student athletes, and it will hit you like a ton of sweaty knee pads. Balancing school work with sports is harder than you think.
Yes, college coaches will tell you they know and believe school work comes first. But you’ll soon realize that this isn’t exactly their philosophy as you get up for 6 AM weights, with two tests and three papers…due the next day. Not to mention you had a game the night before. What is sleep again? It is up to you to make time for your studies, meals, sleep, and of course the most important of all: practice and games. So here are a few tips for freshman student athletes that I’ve learned the hard way…
Here’s a trick for you: USE A PLANNER. USE A PLANNER. USE A PLANNER. Did I say it enough? Though your school will most likely provide you with one, I recommend purchasing your own. Get a pretty one. Coordinate it with your backpack if that makes you more apt to utilizing it consistently. It’ll make your life so much easier in the end.
Now, a few tips on how to use your new best friend – your planner! Firstly, print off every single one of your syllabi and choose a night to copy all of the important dates into your planner. When picking which dates to record, my general rule of thumb is: If it’s important enough for the professor to put it on the syllabus, it belongs in your planner. You won’t regret being the only student ready for a reading quiz because no one else took the time to read the syllabus. Also, write down your practices, games, meetings, anything. Your planner is your new life line. You don’t have a mom or dad around to remind you where you’re supposed to be anymore. You’re on your own, kid, and held responsible to that. Rise to the challenge.
Learn to make friends.
The hardest part for me was transitioning to a whole new team. I had assumed going into a new team, I would automatically form friendships like my high school team. I was extremely wrong. Trying to assimilate to a new group of people, creating new bonds with girls four years older than me, WOMEN PRACTICALLY, was terrifying. Just remember everyone feels the same way. Everyone is nervous. Everyone wants to be accepted. Even the seniors want you to like them. A trick to battling the cats that steal your tongue at the worst time is to think of compliments for every one of your new teammates. Force yourself to compliment at least one new person a day. Trust me, it’s a conversation starter. You’ll be discussing the struggles of thick hair and keeping your eyebrows on fleek in no time.
Lists, lists, lists!
Take a note from me, who forgot my athletic shoes and ankle braces and had to wear a size ten (while being a size seven). You’re going to be traveling. A lot. So make yourself a checklist. Write it before every game. Physically touch every article of your uniform when you get on the bus. Do not be afraid to run and get something you forgot. Better to make the team a minute late than miss an opportunity to play because you can’t run without face planting (in those size 10 shoes).
Be the freshest one out there, man.
Enjoy it. This is your first and only freshman year. Make memories with your seniors, bond with your fellow freshmen. You will never get as many chances, sport-wise, as you do this year. Your classes will never be as easy as they are freshman year, though they seem extremely and unfathomably hard in the moment. Live the full college life and give it your all. You got this, kid.
You’re officially part of the 2%, congratulations. You deserve it.