Surviving the Life of a Student-Athlete

January 04, 2016

Balancing high school athletics and academics can seem borderline impossible—many students in honors and AP classes can’t handle the incessant practicing or late games, and I’ve witnessed many of my scholastically talented friends quit their sports for lack of time. However, as a junior enrolled in 4 AP courses and president of two clubs who recently completed a three-month-long varsity soccer season, I can attest: it IS possible. Here are some things I wish I knew going into my season.

You can’t do everything…

...even though I know you want to. Believe me, I’m the same way. But dabbling in a little bit of everything is much less fulfilling than committing yourself to a few things and doing them to your utmost. This season, my team practiced every day after school for two hours—all of my other clubs and activities were during this two hour time, and I had to make a very hard decision: Give up attending most of my favorite clubs, or playing the sport I love. I chose soccer, and withdrawal from my activities was not nearly as brutal as I thought. I can still attend lots of meetings in the mornings instead of after school, and I enjoyed the new feeling of commitment- instead of constantly being spread too thin by numerous little things, soccer became my goal. I was more motivated and passionate about this one thing, because all of my drive was focused rather than scattered. It may seem like a sport is a superfluous addition to high school life, but understand that it can be an integral installation in your schedule if you really buy in.

Sleep still exists.

Sleep: That ever-elusive hazy dream twirling in tired teens minds. Contrary to popular belief, it does exist—in fact, it is alive and well, and if you’re going to be a successful student-athlete, you better befriend it right away. It may seem impossible to sleep when you’ve only just gotten home from your game at 10PM, but to be able to perform well in both the classroom and the field, you’re going to have to be even more resourceful with your time. Instead of playing on your phone the last five minutes of class, whip out that math homework and finish it. During lunch, take your sandwich to the library. It may seem like a drag, but you’ll be happy when you come home late after a tough game to an empty backpack.

Love what you do.

The life of a student-athlete is certainly not the most glamorous one—you’ll miss that fun party, the trip to the beach, or a Parks-and-Rec marathon because you’ve chosen to be dedicated to something else. But don’t let dedication be confused with obligation. If you truly love your sport, that’s all the motivation you’ll need. You’re going to feel confused at one point in your season: Why am I doing this to myself? Can I handle this for two more months? But when you receive an A on that Calculus test and win the regional championship all in one day, you’ll know why you did it: Hard work does truly pay off.

Time management can be tough. If you’re in the thick of the college admissions process, help ease your stress by finding application files from students like you. See stats, essays, and advice from college students who got into your dream school, and find out how you can too. College students, sign up and share your materials to help high schoolers get through the process. 

This article was written by a high school AdmitSee user. Want to have your writing featured on our blog? Send an email to drew@admitsee.com with your ideas to learn more about how to get published. 



Browse Successful Application Files

tifstar1997
Cornell ‘19


Accepted to Cornell, CMU, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, UCSD, UCSB, UC Irvine

Cornell Engineering '19
youngch
Vanderbilt ‘18


Accepted to Baruch, Binghamton, Brooklyn College, Hunter, Macaulay Honors, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, UPenn, Brown, Cornell, SUNY Buffalo, Rice, Vanderbilt, NYU, Columbia

I grew up in New York City, Bronx and Brooklyn to be exact. I went to pretty big public schools and once you find a supportive yet motivating group of friends, teachers, advisors, and counselors to complement your family, life becomes a whole lot better!
ssp2020
MIT ‘20


Accepted to MIT, UMich, Rutgers, Cornell, Rice, JHU

computer science / design / music / film
lmelcher
Columbia ‘20


Accepted to Columbia, Brown, UPenn, Rice, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UVA, UC Davis, UCSD, UCSC, USC

Hey! I'm a John Jay Scholar at Columbia, and I'm from Los Angeles. I'm planning to major in Art History and do ballet and theater. Hope I can help!

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