Chaotic schedules keep athletes juggling school, training, competitions

By Nicholas Vasquez
Flapjack Chronicle

The life of a college student is daunting, in that students today are asked to balance schoolwork, staying in shape, and maintaining a social life on an everyday basis.  On top of all that, some students travel from all over the country to attend school, which means having to make new friends and get acquainted with a completely different than they are accustomed to in most cases.  This is especially true with Humboldt State University, as it is in an especially unique area that is far different than other colleges (in California especially).

HSU is no exception to this issue, as athletes across campus are taking offense to it.  One person in particular that is flustered with their schedule is freshman track and field thrower DeReginald Walker, who pursues a history degree.

“We as athletes are asked to do a lot,” Walker said.  “Not only with practice though. We have to do additional work in the weight room, and we travel for meets almost every weekend.”

This leaves little time during the day for homework and going to class, which has led to a very stressful semester for Walker.

“It is definitely stressful trying to balance everything at one,” Walker said.  “I am trying to focus on reaching my full potential in throwing, but at the same time I am working on keeping my grades up so I do not get yelled at by my mom.”

It is certainly remarkable that students such as Walker can succeed under the pressure that is put on them.  Without being able to relieve stress on a daily basis due to a wild schedule, it is important to make sure to find something to distract from reality as much as possible.  Walker accomplishes this by spending as much time as he can with his friends in Redwood Hall, which is where he lives.  Nothing strikes fear into a man more than a mother’s angry voice though.

“The environment at Humboldt definitely helps out a lot,” Walker said.  “I think I would probably go crazy if I wasn’t surrounded by a group of friends that can take my mind off of everything like the people here do.”

Athletes do not get the same social opportunities as regular students as well, making their college experiences seemingly less enjoyable. However, in order to play a sport at the collegiate level, these student-athletes have to possess a vast appreciation for their sport and a competitive spirit that is rare to find in the average student attending college.  However, these attributes are often not enough to power these athletes through the obstacles thrown at them, as they are expected to attend every practice, perform extra work after practice, go to the gym, attend all of their classes, and maintain a reputable Grade Point Average.

This raises a question: ‘How do athletes accomplish all of these things?’  The answer is not simple; as different kids have different methods to cope with the stress that comes with attending college.  Most student-athletes have that one go-to activity that they rely on as a stress reliever.  For freshman student-athlete Brailee Vandenboom, that activity is binge-watching shows on Netflix.

“My schedule makes me very stressful,” Vandenboom said.  “But what gets me through the day is the fact that I know that after I’m done with everything, I can go to my room and watch one of my favorite shows on Netflix.”

Another issue with the busy schedules of these athletes is the scheduling of classes, as they have to plan around their practices and make sure that they have enough time to get their extra work in.  Not only that, but there are certain classes that they absolutely need, and it is hard to schedule those classes in the limited time they have.  Although they do have priority registration, it is still a disadvantage to have several hours of the day taken up by non-academic activities, when the main goal of most of these athletes is to obtain a degree in four years or less.

“It was definitely difficult for me to schedule my classes this year,” Vandenboom said.  “There is so much to account for, and I didn’t realize it until I actually started school.”

Another issue for athletes is having to carry their equipment around to their classes, as often times they do not have time to drop it off somewhere before class.  Junior track and field runner Corey Berner worries about this daily, as he lives off campus and therefore cannot travel to and from his house multiple times throughout the day to drop his equipment off.

“The worst part for me is having to worry about how I smell during class,” Berner said.  “I sweat a lot, and I hate smelling bad after practice.”



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