Some of my best memories are from being a student athlete. For two years I ran cross-country for St. Lawrence and then came to Mohawk College were I ran for one year.
To be a student athlete it takes a lot of commitment, sacrifice and time. Putting in at least 2 hours of training with teammates every night in the rain, mud, wind, blistering heat and cold, running intervals, hill repeats, tempo runs, watching your diet and intake of food. On top of cross-country having classes, homework, projects and tests, while working a part-time job as a resident advisor. It didn’t take me long to learn that I needed to find a balance between all of this and for me it took some trail and error to learn how to prioritize what was most important. I missed out a lot of times from going out with friends or parties that were happening, sacrificed study time which certainly can reflect on grades as well.
But it was worth it. Our men’s team finished 4th out of 12 at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) championship during the 2011-2012 season. Six points away from placing third as a team and winning a bronze medal. It was pretty heartbreaking for all of us. We were all still fortunate enough to go to nationals in Kamloops, British Columbia, where our team placed 8th in the country. It was a great feeling of euphoria, and one of the greatest moments that I have had to experience.
I still continue to run races now, including The Around the Bay 30K road races, and some half marathons. For me running has become a lifestyle. What makes cross-country running different than most any other sport and special is that there is no scoreboard and no clock counting down the time. Running has given me some of the best life lessons, I’ve gained so many transferable skills that I’ve been able to carry on to my personal and professional life.
But how I did personally with positioning, time, or how our team placed overall isn’t what I remember the most. It’s the great teammates I had who became some of my best friends, the laughs we had pranking each other, spending the nights in hotels, and most of all the great feeling of pride pulling a Mohawk Mountaineers singlet on before a race.
Here are some tips that helped me get through being a student athlete:
Prioritize– School should always be number one. After practice or a game getting homework or assignment done should be the first thing. Getting an agenda will help a lot! It is one of the best investments you can make. Write down tests and assignments you have coming up. When your practices and games are for your sport, and when you are working if you have a job.
- Eat Healthy– Never skip breakfast! Getting something simple into your body like a piece of fruit and muffin is very easy if you’re on the go. Try to eat food from all the food groups, and avoid eating junk food for snacks. If you feel your aren’t getting enough into your system taking a multi-vitamin may help.
- Ask for help!– If your struggling with school, your job or your athletics, talk to your coach, professor or a close friend and they can help you find a resolution.
- Make the most of failure– For some people it’s getting low grades on an exam or paper, for others its feeling you haven’t been bringing your best efforts to games and practices. It’s easier said than done, but don’t give up! You may not see it right away but you will learn from these experiences of failure.
- Make time for yourself– Check your Facebook, spend time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, call your parents, and evening try to sneak in a game of Call of Duty!