Strength in the classroom and on the court

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Students leave class early for an away game at a distant school. At the school, an exhilarating match takes place in which the Jaguars come out victorious by a close margin. The student athletes are tired from the hard game, but they feel accomplished with their performances and their victory.

The student athletes enjoy each other’s company on the long bus ride with laughs and jokes. When they finally get home, they are ready for a long shower, some good food, and a good night’s sleep. Then, they suddenly realize that they haven’t even started their homework!

It’s a typical moment in the life of a student athlete: someone who dedicates their time and effort to both keeping up their grades and training for the games that everyone loves to watch. With many things to do and not enough hours in the day, these athletes have to effectively manage their time to navigate through the maze of student-athlete stress.

Sydney West, CHS junior, played middle blocker for the varsity volleyball team. During the season, her team practiced for two hours after school and had games twice a week. The travel time associated with the away games makes it imperative that West and other student athletes manage their time to avoid becoming overly-stressed.

West believes that taking challenging classes and competing at a competitive athletic level is definitely a lot of work. Although, the work is also very rewarding. West has dedicated lots of her time to volleyball, and she has no regrets because she loves the sport.

However, she does wonder about what she could do if she had more free time.

“I wish had more time to pursue different hobbies that I’m interested in,” said West.

Ananya Saravanan, CHS sophomore, is a guard for the varsity basketball team. She thinks that basketball is a great experience and well worth the extra stress.

“I play basketball because I love the sport, the team, and it’s a lot of fun,” said Saravanan in an email.

Saravanan shares that playing basketball doesn’t have to be stressful if you make sure to manage your time well and not procrastinate.

“I do feel stressed if I procrastinate on an assignment, but I generally feel that during basketball season I am more productive since I know that I won’t have as much time to accomplish homework,” said Saravanan.

Saravanan enjoys taking academically rigorous classes and knows that these classes have a larger workload associated with them. However, she finds time to keep up with the work during lunches and after practice. Saravanan also shares that basketball coach Sheremy Dillard-Clanton, sometimes gives the athletes study halls to finish their work before practice.

“As long as I balance my free time to do homework and study, it isn’t impossible to accomplish,” said Saravanan.

Symphony Wiggins, CHS senior, is a dedicated cheerleader and sprinter. She shares that sometimes balancing school work and sports can be stressful because you get home later and have less time to do work. However, Wiggins believes that if you utilize your time well and focus, you can get everything done.

“I feel like it’s all a mental thing; if you are determined, you can balance athletics and academics,” said Wiggins in an email.

Overall, Wiggins is content with her schedule because — although she may have less time than desirable to complete her homework — she has found two sports that are incredibly important to her.

Steven Turner, guidance counselor and soccer coach for 27 years, has both the counseling and coaching perspectives on student athlete stress.

“What I find with student athletes in season is that they somehow become super organized and do better academically because they are forced to handle stress and they do a good job of that,” said Turner.

Turner thinks that the best way to avoid negative student athlete stress is to have a planner and other organization tactics.

He also thinks student athletes should talk more with their teachers, family and friends because it is hard to manage a disorganized day on your own.

“The best student athletes do a great job of writing things down and organizing,” said Turner.

Athletics make students more effective time managers since they know that they have more limited time to do their work. Athletes should stay organized and not procrastinate, so they don’t fall behind in academics.

Athletics provides a fun way for student athletes to learn time management and the other valuable life lessons that sports teach.

Sydney West, volleyball player, after a game this season. Photo by Grace Hegland