A Balancing Act: Life as a Student Athlete

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The amount of effort and dedication that it takes for the average college student to maintain their focus in an effort to successfully navigate their course load and maintain good enough grades to get a certificate or degree can be challenging enough. Now throw in having to practice, train, and participate in games. That is the life of student athletes at Edmonds Community College who have to balance schoolwork, life, as well as the sports they are participating in. Given all the demands you might be surprised to know that EdCC basketball star Cam Burns still finds time to shoot baskets, and not just that, he shoots an astounding number of them, “I try to get up about 100 free throws, today I went 100 out of 103” and when asked about other shots he practices, “ I try to shoot about 200-300 three point shots a day as well”. That is some serious dedication to one’s craft.

One of if not the most important aspect of being a student athlete at EdCC is time management, something many college students struggle with. Trying to find time to do this assignment, hang out with this friend, it seems as though there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Burns, who has been in love with sports since the age of three agrees. “It’s all about time management” he says, “Kyle Gray, our coach has us do study hall for hours, so that helps. Our coach is really here to help set us up for life, he really cares about us and not just about basketball.” That clearly shows with Burns, he maintains a 3.0 GPA with a 15 credit workload. Talk about determination, focus and drive. Burns isn’t the only member of the basketball team that is benefiting from coach Gray’s study hall sessions, “our team has the highest GPA of all the sports teams. That just shows the focus our coach has about getting our schoolwork done.”

There are many dilemmas that many student athletes face on a day to day basis, and one of those dilemmas that student athletes must face is their athletic goals for the long term. Along with that, they have to ask themselves if they are going to school to get a degree, or are they going to school so that they can play the sports that they have been playing for years. Many students may struggle with this but Burns isn’t one of them.

When asked about his long-term goals for his future in basketball, he pondered briefly and said, “transfer to a four-year university and play overseas, but either way I am getting my degree”. But not just any degree, he plans on double majoring in business management and kinesiology.

Of course, the rigors of trying to juggle being a student as well as an athlete at EdCC is difficult, but some athletes try to alleviate some of the stress by taking online classes. According to EdCC catcher Alex Garcia, “it is pretty tiring, when it comes to your body, you want to just go home and rest but then you realize you have to do homework.” He also added that, “the majority of the team takes online classes”.  That seems like a very useful way to get around the issue of missing class time due to scheduling conflicts, which can arise any time throughout the course of a season.

Gage Gibson, second baseman for the Tritons, noted how important it is to have to motivate yourself and get things done on your own, “being a procrastinator doesn’t work.” This is a sentiment that every one of the student athletes I spoke with agreed on, time management is essential when it comes to the balance between academics and athletics, we all as students have to manage our time effectively in order to be successful in college, however the student athlete has to be a master of time management and not a minute or second can be wasted.

It is amazing how easily the student athletes I interviewed made it look. I mean when pressed they couldn’t find anything that they really didn’t like about it, they all loved playing their respective sports and none of them ever thought about giving up or quitting. In fact, the majority of them have dreams of making it as far as they possibly can in their respective sports.

Looking at things from the outside, I see a lot of responsibility and issues with workload and scheduling conflicts and whatnot. But for the student athletes, most of them have been doing the whole student athlete thing for so long that they essentially don’t even see themselves as student athletes, they are simply students who play sports. They know they have to go to school and do well in order to continue to play the sports that they love. I think that I can speak for everyone who has ever watched and enjoyed a college sporting event when I say, collegiate athletics are a wonderful spectacle to behold and we thank you.