by Sarah Ackerman
You (or your student athlete) are getting ready to head off to college. You might know your class/practice schedule inside and out, where the dining hall is and even where the library is located, but there are five important things your coach wants you know so you can succeed.
1. Go to class. Do your homework. Seems pretty obvious, but remember, your athletic eligibility hangs on you maintaining a certain GPA. If you’re struggling with a class, there are learning resource centers on most campuses to help you with free tutoring or reach out to your TA (if you have one). Everyone on campus is there to help you succeed, just find out who to ask for help.
2. Be a good citizen. On the field, good sportsmanship is key to being a good athlete and teammate. Off the field, being a good citizen is just as important. Help out when you see someone in need and be respectful of others. It’s easier to ask a neighbor to turn down their music so you can rest up for an early practice if you’re not causing a ruckus while they are trying to study.
3. Get involved. This can be difficult with a full course load, in season practices, lifting and having a social life, but the more involved you get, the better you’ll be at managing your time. In addition to time management, you’ll gain more from your college experience. Start thinking about building your post-graduation resume from day one - join organizations in your major or in areas you’re passionate about.
4. Be true to yourself. Remember to take care of yourself, eat right, drink plenty of water and get your necessary rest. #3 said to get involved, but not at the expense of your health and sanity. If you’re really struggling with balancing it all, there are free confidential counseling centers on most campuses to assist you. Never be afraid to ask for the help you need.
5. Work hard. College is not an easy experience. It is supposed to challenge you, both physically and mentally, and in order to gain the greatest rewards, you have to work hard to get it. Remember not everyone got into the school, not everyone made the team- put in the effort to show that you belong there both on and off the field.
Last but not least, remember to have fun. It is college after all and if you’re not enjoying the experience, it’ll be difficult to want to get involved, work hard and go to class. Work hard, have fun and know there is support if you need it!
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