The Time to Excel in Athletics and Academics

Workload Management at the Collegiate Level

One of the major issues Student-Athletes face is balancing athletics and academics.  Finding time to excel in both can be challenging, but not insurmountable.

“Being a track athlete and biology major requires a tremendous amount of effort from me,” said freshman indoor/outdoor track distance runner Mendelssohn Philippe.  “It is tough to manage time to study because you need a lot of rest after practice while the work keeps piling up.”

Philippe is currently taking 17 credits in his first semester at MSU.  He knows the challenge to balance school and sports is not easy, and knows while it may be a struggle for him now, some student-athletes have been able to take care of business on and off the field with little difficulty.

“I’ve been able to balance being a football player and student well, because I usually study before practice,” said freshman defensive lineman Kevin Ademu-John.  “I have created my own ‘study hours’ where I study in the library after practice as well to stay on track.”

The experience of juggling team commitments and academic work comes down to figuring out how to learn in a new way. Something most athletes admit takes time to figure out.

“Juggling 15 credits of schoolwork and playing a collegiate sport is an entire shift of lifestyle, compared to high school,” said Giana Moglino, a freshman forward on the field hockey team. “The main difference between high school and college, academically, is the change in style of teaching. In college, since class is only a few hours a week, I’m expected to learn and teach myself an extensive amount of material from the textbooks. Trying to find time to study around classes, practices, and games is the hardest part of being a student-athlete.”

The minimum amount of credits needed to be a full time student at MSU is 12 credits per semester.  Most first year students are told to take 15 credits to stay on a path to accumulate the necessary 120 credits needed to obtain a degree. It is a little different for athletes because they have to maintain certain benchmarks to remain eligible to play.

Sierra Rauchbach, a senior defender on the field hockey team, said it took her two years to figure out how to balance her time. She focused on getting her homework done earlier in the day, while making a schedule that allowed her time to study around practice and games.

“Not only was it tough to balance academics and athletics, but the pressure of starting college added to the struggle,” Rauchbach said.

It’s clear Rauchbach has figured out a way to equalize field hockey and school, but no matter what students do to stay on the field and keep up their grades, the challenge of balancing athletics and academics will always be an issue.

Montclair State | New Jersey

Mike Panepinto

Mike Panepinto is a Communications Major at Montclair State University focusing on sports.