By Jonathan Rowe
Some students do not recognize the effort that it takes to be successful at any college or university. The daunting task of conquering exams and meeting deadlines can drive many students to reconsider their ambitions.
However, there is a group of student athletes that must juggle many obstacles in order to be successful. Student-athletes must face the daunting task of managing practice, school, and their social lives.
The transition between high school and college is already tough enough. Freshman athletes gain many responsibilities and are expected to succeed in a new environment. This task is especially difficult for 18-year-old kinesiology major Lucas Goven, who is competing in his first year on the Jack’s offensive line.
“At times it can be very stressful managing the workload during season; however, if you know what you are doing you can handle the stress pretty easily,” said Goven. “It’s good to take a lot of breaks in between things so days don’t get so repetitive.”
Being a first year player at Humboldt State University Goven has had to make a few adjustments to his scheduling in order to successfully pass his courses.
“It’s actually not as bad as it seems you just need to be able to schedule your day effectively,” said Goven. “An hour here and an hour there is the difference between success and failure.”
Hours upon hours of practice and film study can take its toll on young and inexperienced adults.
“During the season we practice three hours each day plus an hour long meeting before each practice session,” said Goven. “Other responsibilities include watching game film and working out which counts for about another hour and a half each day.”
Many people do not recognize the expectations of student-athletes or the preparation it takes to be successful at the collegiate level.
Humboldt State tight ends coach John Hughes elaborated on this idea.
“The general student body only sees us on Saturday nights in the fall,” said Hughes. “What they don’t see is the early morning workouts in the winter and spring along with the physical practices.”
So how do student-athletes find time to get their studying and schoolwork done?
The answer is a mandatory study hall, which has been created by head football coach Rob Smith.
“The freshman and transfers are required to attend study hall two or three days a week to help them transition from high school to college,” said Hughes. “The upperclassmen have the option to attend study hall or apply for free tutoring through the library.”
Tutoring is the most crucial element for athletes that fall behind due to team travel or other circumstances.
Coaches realize that forcing players to attend study hall may not solve all issues. Therefore, student tutors are hired by the athletic department to assist athletes in specified subjects.
Mathematics major Sydney Bieman, 22, was one of many students hired to assist in this process.
“I assist athletes with math 40 and math 103 courses along with other GE math requirements,” said Bieman. “While I do enjoy watching athletes succeed I am a broke college student so the athletic department uses some of their funding to pay for tutors such as myself as a bonus.”
Smith’s idea that started with his arrival in 2008 has paid dividends as the overall team GPA has risen well above a 2.8. Before his arrival, not one football player was a member of the GNAC all-academic team.
Since then that number has increased drastically as the 2012 GNAC all-academic team included six lumberjacks.
Goven hopes to one day be a member of this elite squad but ensures it won’t be at the expense of his social life.
“While being so busy limits some of my social life, we still have Sundays and Mondays off in order to heal up and rest,” said Goven. “It’s a hassle juggling all this stuff but in the long run I hope my GPA is high and I am able to be a successful competitor here at Humboldt State.”