Lets be honest, being a student athlete is difficult. Balancing your sport, school, social life and a job (if you have one) can be quite the juggling act at any level. For example, here is a typical schedule for a student-athlete in a Canadian University:
*Keep in mind, this doesn't include studying, cooking, working out, commuting, or your socializing.
The purpose of me sharing this information isn't to scare anyone, but rather to illustrate some realities of life as a student athlete. As a student athlete, you have the same academic expectations and deadlines as every other student with no exceptions or special treatment. We must find a way to succeed in our academic and athletic careers under these circumstances.
WHY ACADEMIC SUCCESS IS IMPORTANT
It can be easy to undermine the importance of academic success especially when we are also so focused on our athletic success. This is something that I have struggled with so I understand how easy it is to fall into this mindset of "football first". I think it is safe to say that everyone reading this has been told that school is important a thousand times. So rather than just tell you, let me show you a few facts based on research:
- A one-point increase in high school GPA has been shown to almost double the probability that an adolescent boy or girl will someday complete a college degree.
- A one-point increase in a person's high school GPA has been shown to increase average annual earnings in adulthood by about 13%.
- Here are the average minimum grades you need to get into the following University of Calgary faculties this year:
-Arts: 70-78% -Commerce: 82% -Engineering: 85% - Science: 78-90% - Kinesiology: 80-85%
As you can see, your grades in high school will have a major effect on not only what you can take in University, but also your likeliness to finish University and have a successful career.
It is also important to understand that while professional football is a great goal, it is very difficult to get to that level, it can often also be very short lived. This is why it is vital to prioritize your career outside of football. Check out the statistics below.
KEYS TO SUCCESS AS A STUDENT ATHLETE
- Focus on your WHY! Remember WHY it is important to YOU to succeed in school. If you have an idea of what you want your career outside of football to be, then focus on that. If you do not, then focus on keeping all options open for your future self and exploring choices.
- Write down your GOALS! Whether you're in middle school, high school or college, write down your long term and short term goals.
- PLAN! Write out a game plan of how you're going to execute your goals. I recommend using a journal or calendar and planning out your months, weeks and days, prioritizing your time to include studying, working out, cooking etc.
- EXECUTE! Now it is time to execute your plan. Stay focused and trust the process!