“Tired, fried and sore” are the words student athlete Matthew Wotulo uses to describe his day at school after a big game. Student Athletes all across New York City all have similar experiences as both students and as athletes. Many have lesser quality in class work in comparison to students who don’t participate in a sports team. With a more demanding school system and large workloads balancing of academics, sports and family/social life can all seem very hard, and almost impossible.
If you are a varsity athlete being both a student and athlete is no easy task. AAS student Bryan Vilchis, who is on the boys cross country team in the school (long distance running), states “By the time I get home from practice I’m tired and usually don’t even do my homework. It’s even hard to keep my brain working throughout the rest of the day to focus on something like homework.” he says. Students also rarely have time to spend with their family and friends. “I can’t even spend time with my family, there isn’t enough time and with all the work provided, I get home at 7 o’clock.” Sacrificing time with your loved ones is definitely something you have to deal with when joining a team. However, it’s not all that bad all the time. Many student-athletes have the opportunity to make new friends and bond with people on the team that they play on. “I met some of my best friends on the volleyball teams that I joined.” Says Matthew Wotulo.
A large number of student athletes find it hard to find time for themselves, usually it’s just school and their sport. A majority of those say it makes it hard to work on their studies in school. Statistics show that it actually improves their work quality on average compared to the student that isn’t on a sports team, interestingly. According to a research study led by the Los Angeles Unified School District, it is a good thing as on the average, student athletes were present in school about three weeks more per year than non-athletes and boasted higher grade point averages by as much as 0.55 to 0.74 points. This is due to the fact that these students are doing what they love and it motivates them to do well in school. They must also be present and have good attendance in order to play. Although this may be true, their brains are still tired and drained. Student athlete Matthew Wotulo says, “Even though volleyball motivates me to do better in school, I still feel tired, drained and dead throughout the school day. At the end of the day though, it’s all about time management.” If students manage their time correctly sports can boost their schooling as it promotes motivation.
Whatever your priorities may be and however you decide to manage your time will determine your experience as a student athlete. “Sometimes kids don’t get to play because of their grades, but that’s their responsibility.” says Ms. LaBarbera the Academy of American Studies coach. Before joining a sports team the student must first ask, is the sport worth working harder for, or not.
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Written by Saleem Zeideia