Spread thin and exhausted: The life of a student athlete

By Jasmine Pankratz – Horizon Sports Editor

Waking up for class, going to practice, doing homework, maintaining a social life, all while being physically and mentally exhausted: That’s a day on repeat in the life of a student athlete.

For some student athletes such as sophomore Erin Brubaker, there is even more that goes into her day-to-day schedule. Brubaker is a member of the volleyball team and Bel Canto, as well as being a resident assistant, a Norma, and a full time student.

“Some Wednesdays I have classes all day, a volleyball game, RA cluster, a mod meeting and homework,” she said. “To manage my time I plan out my day before it starts, write down all my homework, and start homework right after practice. I make sure that everything is done before I go out for the night.”

Erin Brubaker spiking the ball for a kill.
Erin Brubaker going up for a hit. Photo: Sarah Booth, Horizon Staff Photographer

For freshman softball player Kendall Richardson, time management attempts often result in an irregular sleep schedule.

And Richardson isn’t the only one. An article on NCAA.org called “Mind, Body, and Sport: Sleeping Disorders,” reported that one-third of student-athletes get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night.

“It’s hard,” she said. “When I’m doing homework I’m thinking about practice and while practicing I’m thinking about homework…when all I want to do is sleep.”

How can athletes manage their time while not being overwhelmed with stress? Brubaker’s got it figured out.

“I handle stress by taking things one at a time,” she said. “By doing homework one subject at a time I don’t get too overwhelmed and by taking each part of the day as it comes I feel a lot more relaxed and happy about everything I’m doing. I also take time to be around people that put me in great moods so that always takes away a lot of stress as well.”

Dean of student success Deb Roth also has observed some helpful tips.

“Successful student athletes work more than one day ahead and often do assignments on the day they are assigned rather than the night before they are due,” she said. “This pattern allows them the necessary cushion to easily hand in assignments before they have to miss class for game travel.”

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