The Technologist: The Balancing Act
Being a student-athlete in STEM can be both a bittersweet scenario. On one hand it's already assumed that you're a team player, work well in groups and with others, can effectively communicate with people, and know how to take responsibility. All of which is typically true for athletes, which often comes in handy in class projects and job interviews. The tough part? The balancing act.
Over the last four and a half years I've probably experienced every obstacle a student can think of, both academically and personally. Now add the responsibilities to my sport on top of that, and you've got a pretty hefty weight on your shoulders. Being a student-athlete is an amazing experience but it requires you to stay buckled down at all times. And because of the type of classes I was taking, I had to make even more of an effort than most athletes I know. You have to be mentally strong enough to prioritize the most important things in your life. My social life? Virtually nonexistent. While my friends (including other athletes) were going out to events, partying, traveling... I was sleeping, or away for a game, or studying. While my friends got their extensive holiday breaks and got to see their families... I was still at school, practicing and playing in games. While my friends were on spring break, I was still at school, prepping for post-season play. My school is only 2-2.5 hours from my home, and I'd still only get to see my family whenever they could make a game. I was blessed enough to have family willing to travel to almost anywhere, so they were able to come to 98% of my games. But not every athlete has that. Most don't. While everyone's on summer vacation or working, I was still at school for basketball. Doing multiple workouts per day, just about every day of the week.
Being a student-athlete isn't just tough because of the balancing act. Your primary commitment is to your school and to your team. So in order to be successful, everything and everyone else must take an automatic back seat to your craft.