How cool is it that young adults get the opportunity to play the sports they love in college?! What an experience!
While it is a unique experience that not many get to have, it takes a lot of balance to manage school, athletics, and personal life.
The goal of this snippet is to spread awareness, educate, and encourage others to understand the rigorous requirements. Maybe even encourage a little extra grace from time to time. Let’s be honest, it’s not easy!
This type of lifestyle requires dedication, commitment, and the desire to pursue dreams in and out of your sport and in and out of the classroom.
The demands of the lifestyle mold and grow young adults into strong, well-trained individuals ready to take on what the world has to offer. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the four years of the student-athlete life can provide structure, purpose, and community to those who need it most.
The NCAA regulates the maximum hours a student-athlete can be required to participate with their sport per week. It’s referred to as CARA (Countable Athletically Related Activities).
In season Max: 20 CARA Hours/Week – Max 4 Hours/Day
Out of Season Max: 8 CARA Hours/Week – Max 4 Hours/Day
A minimum of 12 credits is required per semester and a GPA of 2.0 is the minimum allowance to remain eligible.
When in season, a team may require a maximum of 20 athletic hours. In combination with the minimum 12 credits, this is a “working load” of roughly 32 hours minimum in season.
|In Season||Out of Season|
|Minimum Credit Hours||12||12|
|Max Athletic Hours||20||8|
Did someone say close-to-full-time-job???
Thousands of 17 & 18 year olds sign the dotted line- would you?
I did. And I am so grateful that I even had the opportunity & am thankful that the NCAA has rules and regulations in place to help student athletes find balance between their studies and athletics.
Maintaining this busy schedule can feel hectic, chaotic, and overwhelming at times.
Here’s a peek at a typical in-season week for myself.
Class: 10 Hours
Practice: 10 Hours
Other Team Requirements: 2.7 hours
Time Spent Traveling: 9.5 Hours
Games: 6 Hours
NOT YOUR TYPICAL COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
Not only are sports are celebrated, part of our culture, and they can create unity within communities. The success of a team can play a huge impact in why students choose their university of choice.
The balancing act that student-athletes perform every. single. day. for a minimum of four years is one to recognize and appreciate.
Their dedication to their craft has propelled sport culture to what it is today. While students cheer in the stands creating their college memories with their friends, student-athletes college memories look a little different. They are down on the court or field making college memories… just in another way.
Let that sink in.
Only ONE PERCENT of high school volleyball players get the opportunity to play at the DI level.
THE BALANCING ACT
So how do student athletes do it? I like to call it the Balancing Act– it’s the thought of wanting to carry seven or eight fragile plates and bowls at the same time.
Each bowl is a responsibility or need of yours to perform at your best. It’s nearly impossible until you realize that you must pick and choose what is the most important to you in your season of life.
Your fragile bowls might be:
- A Job
- Having fun experiences! Supporting other teams, getting a nice dinner, shopping, etc.
- Mental Health
- Personal Wellness/Self Care
- Day-to-day needs: eating 3 full meals, 9 hours of sleep, downtime, maybe a nap (if you’re lucky).
HOW I BALANCE
Staying organized is key to success. I use a calendar to keep track of where I am supposed to be and an excel sheet to keep track of what I’m supposed to be working on.
Regardless of your status as a college student, I have five simple words for you: “I AM SO PROUD OF YOU.”
I am so proud of how you pushed through when you didn’t feel like it.
I am so proud of you for getting up and getting to class.
I am so proud of you for making it this far!
I am so proud of your dedication to balancing your bowls.
I am so proud of you for asking for help when you need it.
I am so proud of you for not giving up when the balance gets hard.
Keep it up kid, you got it! Let’s take on the day together!