So the day has come, you’ve signed the dotted line and you’re officially on your way to becoming a Division I athlete. This is probably one of the biggest days of your life. Mom and dad are at the school and the local newspaper is here to take your picture to put in tomorrow’s edition. From all of us here at Gardner-Webb, we’d like to congratulate you! Just know, it’s not always going to be cookie cakes and red and black balloons. When you put your well-rehearsed signature on that line, you weren’t just signing up for the exciting wins or the championship rings, you were also signing up for the grind that it takes behind the scenes to make those accomplishments possible.
When it comes to high school, everything is pretty much laid out for you. Every day you wake up, go to school, go to practice (depending on your sport you may have never even left the campus), then you practice and get home in time for dinner and did whatever homework you had before relaxing until bed time. In college, you have to take charge of your own schedule. That means you and your advisor have to figure out which classes work out for your athletics schedule, so your schedule may be a little erratic sometimes. One semester, you may have an 8:00am class every day and be out by 10:50am, and the next you may not have class until 10:00am and not get out until 2:30pm, but don’t worry that’s one of the fun things about college.
The biggest difficulty of being a D1 student athlete is managing your time. My daily schedule varies, but at my busiest, I probably have about 4-5 hours of free time. In that time I eat, do homework, and relax before trying to get to bed at a decent hour (and by decent hour I mean 10 or 11). On my busiest days, I start with 6:00am workouts, followed by breakfast at about 7:30. After I eat, I go to my on-campus job with admissions at 8:00am and I leave just before 10:00am to go to my Spanish class. After Spanish I have two more classes, then lunch once I’m out at 12:50. After I eat lunch, I head back to my apartment and get ready for practice. Once I get out to the golf course, I usually spend at least 4-5 hours practicing. Whether it’s working on chipping and putting or playing 18 holes. That generally lasts till about 6:00pm when I come back to campus and grab dinner. After dinner, it’s time to get to work.
Whether I’m studying for a test, writing a paper, or just submitting a homework assignment, I have something to do for every class the night before 95% of the time. For me, that means around two hours of homework each night just to stay up to pace with my classes. If I want to get ahead, I have to do a little bit more, and be a lot more organized. At the end of the semester, though, it’s all worth it. First, it takes some stress off of you during finals week when you’ve been doing what you were supposed to do throughout the semester. Second, it’s all worth it when you get that report card back and you see the GPA that you wanted to get or that your team needed.
So here are my 5 tips for time management:
1. Plan Ahead
Use your syllabus to stay ahead in class. Your semester may start off pretty easy, but odds are there will come a point where you get hit with two tests, two papers, and a presentation all happening within 48 hours. If you look a week or so ahead in your syllabus every weekend, you’ll be better prepared to succeed in class.
2. Take care of yourself
Hopefully, this is a no-brainer for you. Taking care of your body is the best thing you can do to be successful on and off of the field. Eat right, stay hydrated, and most importantly- SLEEP. Good rest and good nutrition will keep your brain and your body functioning at a high level so that you can perform to the best of your ability day-in and day-out.
3. Go to class
This may also seem like common sense, but trust me, it’s harder than it seems. It’s a lot easier to wake up for school when mom or dad is making you, but when it’s a crisp 28 degrees on a February morning, a warm dorm bed seems like a lot better option than an 8am Calculus class. Resist the urge to stay in bed and go to class. After all, you’re going to college to get a degree, so don’t let yourself fall behind in class. (p.s., some professors take off of your grade after you miss a certain amount of classes)
4. Get to know your professors
One of the biggest perks of being at a smaller school is smaller classes. Being in a class of twenty-five students as opposed to 250 gives you the opportunity to get to know your professor. The professor’s at Gardner-Webb want to see you succeed in the classroom and on the field, so introduce yourself
5. Remember, you’re a student athlete
Your coaches will tell you this a lot, but there is a reason that student comes first. The reason that you are at Gardner-Webb is to get your degree and to make good grades, so make sure that is a priority in your day-to-day life.
Garrett Simpson. Junior. English Major. Shelby Native.