As the fall quarter begins and the new crop of first-years arrives in Hyde Park, many of these first-years are new student-athletes, faced with the task of balancing their sport, rigorous (and often intimidating) academics, and hopefully a social life. Maybe they’re part of a fall sport and have been on campus for weeks already, waiting for classes to start. Maybe they’re a winter or spring sport and are arriving at the beginning of O-Week like everyone else and are just as nervous as their fellow classmates. Make no mistake, being a student-athlete is a different experience than just being a student at the University of Chicago. Regardless, the new student-athletes will be facing similar challenges throughout their first year, and that’s why this article is for you, incoming student-athletes. I’ve compiled tips and tricks from current student-athletes across different sports who have gone through the same experiences which now lay in front of you, so you can hopefully benefit from our collective wisdom. On that note, here they are:
“Use a planner, get as much work done as you can before practice, don’t forget to sleep, ask for help if you need it, whether that’s from your teammates other athletes, friends, coaches, professors, or student counseling services!” —Marissa Igunbor, second-year, basketball
“Get work done on the bus and drink coffee.” —Clare Suter, third-year, soccer
“See Mary and the trainers as much as you can.” —Jeremy Yuan, second-year, tennis
“Don’t be afraid to talk to coaches about academic setbacks, etc. Being transparent with them is important! Always put school first.” —Sofia Franzon, third-year, track and field
“Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to as many people as you want during O-Week, especially people from other teams and non-athletes. That interaction can set you up for some of your best friendships for the rest of college.” —Jonathon Dobie, fourth-year, track and field
“Talk to professors about missing class on day one.” —Aasha Dave, second-year, volleyball
“Be efficient with your time. I think the best way to do this is to focus on one thing at a time. So if you are going to study, then study. Don’t have Netflix on in the background or your friends next to you for a chat. Multitasking is a myth.” —Mary Martin, third-year, track and field
“Get involved in WAA/OOC and utilize meal swipes during preseason.” —Adrienne Travis, fourth-year, tennis
“Listen to your upperclassmen.” —every upperclassman in any sport
As a student-athlete myself, I fully understand the fear and nerves that accompany you when you arrive on campus for the first time, so I’ll leave you with my most important tip. Find something you love, something that you can do by yourself, and try to find time every day to do it. Whether it is reading a good book, doing a face mask, meditating, or playing a video game, try to take even just 10 minutes out of every day for some “me time.” I’ve found it really helps balance you out when you feel overwhelmed by all your responsibilities. On that note, good luck in school, good luck with your sports, and good luck with anything else you may pick up. You’re going to kill it!
This article is part of The Maroon’s 2018 Orientation Issue, which appears in print during O-Week. You can view all of our Orientation Issue coverage here. If you are interested in joining The Maroon this fall, please find information here.