A Balancing Act: Avoiding Stressors as a Student Athlete

the mental health issue

While many students struggle finding time to balance their studies and their personal lives, the student athletes on campus have an additional aspect to balance.

College is known to be an extremely busy and stressful time for everyone. With the pressure of paying for an expensive college tuition, the maintenance of grades, and hours of studying, students often find themselves becoming overwhelmed.

Now, imagine adding an additional set of stressors each and every day. Though most student athletes hold their academics as their top priority, it can be difficult to find time for school work and studying when they have schedules full of workouts and meetings—some of which are before most students even think about waking up.

Between team meetings, pressure to perform in their sport, and endless days of grueling schedules, student athletes have a lot going on in their daily lives.

Due to the daunting schedules placed before student athletes, North Dakota State puts many regulations in place to ensure that they are achieving goals on and off the field as well as keeping them sane. By meeting weekly with advisors, student athletes are able to have a schedule of their entire week, allowing them to plan the things they need to get done each day.

Additionally, student athletes are required to go into ACE and receive help on homework or clock study hours. Bison freshman football player Bryan Carlton said this is one of the most helpful things in adjusting to a busy life as a Division I athlete.

“Academically, I have my week laid out by my academic advisor that I meet with on Mondays. That takes care of the school aspect,” he said. “My advisor lays out a plan for me, and at that point, it’s just a matter of sitting down and getting it done.”

Since most student athletes have grown up with busy schedules, moving on to college is just moving on to a new level of balancing their day to day lives—just on a bigger level with stricter consequences if things aren’t scheduled correctly.

“Being a student athlete puts a deadline on everything you do,” Carlton said. “I have to take things hour by hour and just focus on the task at hand so I don’t feel stressed.”

Though there are plenty of additional stressors as a student athlete, it seems as if most of the athletes are able to adjust as they spend time here on campus.

“The first couple of months with a schedule like this were stressful,” explained Carlton. “But once I got in a routine, it became second nature. At this point, I don’t even think about it.”

Obviously adjusting to their new lifestyle is a challenge, but it helps when student athletes see themselves succeeding both in the classroom and in their sport.

“Having such a busy schedule can cause extra stress, but it also creates mental toughness,” Carlton said.

This provides a solid explanation for why NDSU’s student athletes are the best of the best — both academically and in each of their sports.

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