How to Manage Your Time as a Student Athlete

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Stephanie Sowa '21, Athletics Section Editor

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As a student-athlete, I understand how difficult time management can be. Usually when people give that advice, it just passes over my head due to the countless times I have heard it before. Being a student at Marymount has provided me with many insights on how to use my time effectively and I look forward to sharing my ten pieces of advice.

1. Turn Off Distracting Technology.
Although this is extremely difficult, you have to remove all distractions when you want to be productive. Personally, I put my phone in a specific area that I do not allow myself to enter until all my necessary tasks are complete. You can also turn your phone all the way off, but it is relieving when you do not have your phone beckoning at you to use it. In the new iOS update, there is a screen time limit function I highly recommend utilizing often. Refraining from unnecessary use of technology is extremely beneficial to your health and getting your work finished.

2. Use a Planner.
Writing down all your tasks may seem like an overwhelming idea. However, when I write down everything I need to do, I am more motivated to put a check next to each assignment. It allows you to be organized and even plan ahead. Color coding is very helpful so you can differentiate between subjects and personal life and remove excessive stress by not being able to read your writing. If you are someone who doesn’t like to handwrite, use your computer! Paste online sticky notes onto your desktop so you constantly have a reminder of what needs to be accomplished. The notes app is also very effective. Keeping yourself organized with lists is a huge step in the right direction.

3. Make Sacrifices.
This one may not sound fun, but trust me it may be the most important piece of advice. For student athletes, between the rigorous courses at school and the numerous hours of practices, when free time comes around, it is extremely hard to spend it doing more work. When I have free time, I’m usually so exhausted that I want to watch Netflix or spend time with my friends. I highly recommend designating specific times for those activities, because, during free time, student athletes have to be completing their future assignments and studying for upcoming tests. Throughout the week, it is so difficult working on homework after practice and taking advantage of free time is incredibly important. This may mean not watching all episodes of your favorite show on Friday or missing that party Sunday night. Of course, I’m not saying to never have fun – we’re in high school! However, this will definitely pay off and you can allow yourself to have fun without the added stress in the back of your mind.

4. Get To Bed.
I cannot stress this enough. Student athletes NEED their sleep. I continuously fight my parents on going to bed early, but when I cave to their argument, I always feel better the next day. After difficult practices and long school days, I can barely keep my eyes open trying to finish assignments. Try your very best to complete them, but then go to bed and finish them in the morning. Most teenagers only get 7 hours of sleep, but they really need at least 9 hours. For student athletes, we need more to recover and restore our bodies. Although this is pretty unrealistic due to our schedules, we have to try and get as much sleep as possible. Without sleep, we cannot function throughout the school day, let alone practice. If you are really struggling with this, talk to your teachers and ask for their advice because they do not want you going to sleep at 2 am every morning. This is crucial to your well-being and success in school and sports.

5. Plan Ahead of Time.
So important. Student athletes have very little time to complete their tasks. On the weekends, try to start and finish upcoming assignments and schedule meetings with teachers. During your free period, once you’ve finished the homework that is due, begin whatever assignments are due later in the week or the enormous project approaching. Start studying for upcoming tests and quiz at least 3 days in advance and use your time on the bus wisely. Waiting until the last minute is a disaster for student athletes. Individuals can barely cram a lot of information or complete large assignments when they have entire evenings available, not after 3-hour practices. Completing tasks well before they are due reduces stress and increases success rates for student athletes.

6. Ask for Help.
Adults usually understand the stress student athletes are under. Talking to your teachers about working around your schedule is important. Once your teachers realize your workload, they tend to be more understanding and help you maximize your time. If you had a late practice or a weekend tournament, they may be able to offer you extensions or extra attention. Ask them their best study advice and how to complete their assignments. Use youtube videos and crash course guides to maximize your time, especially when riding the bus or before bed. Talking to your guidance counselor or grade advisor is also helpful as they can offer insightful tips and talk to teachers about your schedule. Creating study groups with your friends and working together responsibly is another way to receive help. Receiving support is important and can alter your school experience for the better.

7. Believe in Yourself!
I know this sounds cheesy, but it helps. Having a positive attitude and a can-do mentality is unbelievably beneficial. When individuals are negative, they tend to procrastinate and do not produce their best work. However, when they are motivated and believe they can do anything, usually they do their best and are less stressed. Even during practice, when athletes are positive, they play much better compared to when they have a negative mindset. Knowing you can do it will make you a better student athlete overall. Thank you for reading my advice and I hope student athletes were able to relate to my experiences and learn something new!

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How to Manage Your Time as a Student Athlete