Being a student-athlete can sometimes feel like a full-time job.
Being a student-athlete is not always easy. Around this time of the year, many student-athletes are busy and caught up with their daily routines in the middle of the semester. Balancing between school and sport takes a lot of constant work. Daily training and conditioning, going to classes, studying and doing homework, traveling for matches of the season, and simply taking care of themselves does not leave a lot of time for other things. Being a student-athlete can sometimes feel like a full-time job.
As a former college athlete myself, I understand how demanding and rewarding life as a college athlete is. While getting an education, student-athletes have the opportunity to compete at a high level and be a part of a team. Collegiate sports experience often helps college athletes gain important soft skills that cannot be gained from a classroom setting and can be very beneficial in their professional career work.
However, the pressure to perform has had negative effects on some college athletes in the past. Victoria Garrick, former USC volleyball athlete, felt this mental strain during her college sports career. She showed what her typical schedule looked like in a week where almost all of her time slots were filled with classes, study, practices, and matches. She had very little time where she could rest and decompress which caused her to feel unhappy and very anxious. She went to see a therapist and took the necessary steps to recover and complete her remaining volleyball seasons. In her TED Talk, Victoria Garrick talks about the issue of mental health amongst student athletes and she provides her story to give others who are going through a similar situation the courage to speak up and seek help. USC, Victoria’s alma mater, has actually become a lead innovator in improving the mental health of their students and student athletes. They have made great advances in their Sports Psychology Department and in their Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Victoria Garrick is not the only one who has experienced this. Many student athletes have experienced mental stress due to balancing sports and academics. Fortunately, more and more colleges have been taking notice of this and have been making great strides in their psychological departments to better assist student athletes in their journey. Made primarily for student athletes, The University of California, Berkeley has a whole program called Berkeley Athletic Study Center. This center has counseling and psychological services, sports nutrition, medical care, social services counseling, etc. Another university that also has resources made for student athletes is Baylor University. They have individual therapy, mental health team talks, workshops, crisis counseling, etc. Lehigh University has intellectual, physical, and social development resources. Most universities offer tutors, counseling and workshops as well, providing a solid support system for all their student athletes. You can see some examples of this in universities such as Florida Gulf Coast University, James Madison University, and Chicago State University.
At USP, we understand that being a student athlete is not easy. Part of our job is ensuring that we find the best-fit university for our students and sometimes that means a university that will have the best suited counseling and resources for our student athletes. We encourage you to check out these resources or to ask your university about them. No matter where you are mentally, these programs can always help you excel both academically and in sports.
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