By Kenzi Murphy
Students all around the country juggle the task of being full-time college students, while also being NCAA athletes. For some, this challenge is exhilarating and it surprisingly keeps athletes organized; however, some find it difficult to manage their time and eventually start to prioritize one thing over another.
Eight college student athletes give their input on how doing their sport affects both their school work and their time on and off the field.
Madison Neuner, a D1 track athlete at Northeastern University, sees both the positives and negatives to playing a sport.
“School and sports can be difficult to manage at times, but I feel that I’ve been able to manage them well by making sure I’m getting work done between my classes,” Neuner said.
“Sometimes traveling for track makes me miss class, which can be stressful because I’m constantly doing work to catch up. In that sense, I definitely have to choose between school and sports sometimes. In addition, sometimes I choose between extra recovery or going to the trainer over homework, or vice versa.”
Neuner was injured for a period of time and it not only affected her physical health but her mental health as well.
“I think not being able to train and compete in my sport when I’m injured is actually more stressful for me than when I’m healthy and at practice everyday. It takes more of a mental toll on me to not be able to run,” Neuner said.
“Running for me is a stress relief mechanism and a place where I find peace and happiness, so having that in my life, despite sometimes having to juggle a lot, is something I wouldn’t give up.”
Justin Lapaix, a freshman on SUNY Plattsburgh’s men’s lacrosse team, talked about how he manages his time with both school and sports.
“Being a student athlete is nothing easy with the thought of maintaining high grades and trying to get better out on the field,” Lapaix said. “I make sure to set a time to knock out as much work as I can to achieve good grades and not get backed up.”
Lapaix also shared some opportunities he’s had since joining the team.
“Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t know anyone here,” Lapaix said. “When you join a team you bond with your teammates and find that you have a group of people you can confide in. I’ve also learned so much from the older players and they have given me lots of knowledge and insight in both lacrosse and life.”
Lapaix said that truly the only negative to the sport is not being able to travel home during the different breaks because of practice or games.
Nina Carlomusto, a D1 athlete on Fairleigh Dickinson University’s women’s soccer team, discussed the stress involved with the sport.
“All of the pressure put on you both on and off the field, is extremely stressful,” Carlomusto said. “Unfortunately, I do have to choose between school and soccer. When I have a game in the middle of the week, I have to miss class. This causes me to miss material and fall behind, which gives me more stress.”
However, Carlomusto did say that she tries to find the good on the days where she feels more stressed.
Alexa Fasce, a freshman on Manhattan College’s women’s soccer team, said her college helps athletes manage their time.
“My school has a study hall once a week where we meet for three hours and the whole team does their work,” Fasce said. “Doing a sport does put more stress on my work because we have to maintain a certain average. As athletes, we have to have good time management skills, which young students often lack.”
Alycia Haynes, a junior on SUNY Farmingdale’s track team, is extremely involved in her college’s community life and explained how she stays on top of things.
“I’m very busy between school, sports, my sorority, a social life and my job,” Haynes said. “I stay organized by making weekly schedules for myself and keeping it updated throughout the week.”
For Haynes, running track is far from stressful.
“Doing sports in school doesn’t stress me out most of the time, it’s actually something fun that keeps me happy and healthy,” Haynes said. “It only stresses me out on weeks where all of my activities start to collide.”
Haynes said that, when it comes to both work and practice, track meets hold more power over work and sometimes, work holds more power over practice. Both her coach and her boss realize that she’s busy and they understand why she sometimes needs to prioritize one commitment over the other.
Matt Edwards, a freshman on SUNY Plattsburgh’s baseball team, said professors are lenient when it comes to sports and the stress he undergoes.
“When a game requires me to miss a class, my professors are very nice and they accommodate my needs,” Edwards said.
“As expected, there is stress involved with being a student athlete, but any negatives are absolutely worth it to be able to play my sport. Not only have I found great friends in my teammates, but I get to play the game that I’ve always loved.”
Arianna Psareas, a freshman on Fordham University’s rowing team, explained the positives and negatives of being a student athlete.
“A positive from rowing that I’ve gained is time management,” Psareas said.
“Because I have practice early every morning, and sometimes twice a day, I prioritize my time and always have my assignments done one time. Even though I do get about seven to eight hours of sleep each night, I usually need at least one to two cups of coffee to get me through the day.”
Psareas also shared her experience with sport injuries.
“I have developed a few injuries due to sports, which do create some stress because of the severity of them,” Psareas said.
Lastly, Liam Ryan, a freshman on SUNY Plattsburgh’s basketball team, talked about his experience with stress when it comes to being an athlete.
“Playing a sport in college definitely does the opposite when it comes to stress,” Ryan said. “It actually relieves my stress because when I’m playing basketball, I have nothing else to think about other than playing the sport I’ve loved my whole life.”
Being a student athlete is anything but easy; however, students seem to find a way to balance their school work and sports. When it comes to the inevitable stress involved in playing sports, students say that it’s worth it to play the sport that feels like home.