The Challenges of a Student-Athlete: An Athlete’s Perspective

Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Kelly Quigley, Guest Writer

Being a student athlete is a privilege and an opportunity. I feel blessed to have been recruited by not only a top university for my major, sport management, but also by a highly regarded women’s soccer team.

Receiving academic and athletic scholarships to attend the University of New Haven took hard work and determination, and along the way I experienced more adversity than I thought I could endure.

When you speak to an athlete of any sport about what he or she needs in order to be successful, each will say “time management.” I learned this the day I stepped on campus.

In the fall of 2014, I began my freshmen preseason with the New Haven women’s soccer team. It was the hardest two weeks of conditioning and playing I ever faced. Preseason is not two weeks of  athletes feeling out our new home. Student athletes help new students and their families unpack cars, move into dorm rooms and we are there to answer questions and give direction. These athletes do this with a smile even though they are exhausted from the three practice sessions a day, and in much need of food and sleep.

Once the semester begins, your need for time management and organization kicks into full gear. Now not only do you have five or more classes and three-hour practices to attend, you have designated study hall hours that are mandatory as well as extracurricular student athlete responsibilities including team lifts, coach’s meetings, film sessions, and possibly treatment for injuries.

This doesn’t include the time spent  if you join a club, if you need to go to the Center for Learning, or if just maybe you want to eat dinner that day. If you do the math for all of these things to get done in a 24-hour day, nothing adds up, and a social life of a regular college student has not even been discussed.

There are many struggles that professors, family, friends, and even coaches forget athletes go through. I respect college students a great deal because courses at this level are difficult. Add the schedule of a student athlete on top of it all, and it seems impossible. It takes a special kind of person to participate in college athletics, and I take pride in being one of these people every day.