Every new semester it never fails; we walk into class on the first day wearing our sports team logos because that’s basically what we live in. Our classes already judge us for looking like bums on the first day, but we’ve been at practice since 6 AM so there really isn’t much we can do about it. We see the way you look at us when we walk past you to our seats and plop down in front of you smelling like gym shoes and dry shampoo. We know we look bad, but there isn’t much we can do about it. Here are 12 struggles student-athletes want their fellow students to know:
1. We don’t always look like this.
Sometimes we have class directly after practice or have to leave a few minutes early to make it to class on time, so we can’t have our hair done up in perfect curls and try to make ourselves look at our prime. Au naturale is the only way to go when it comes to the student athlete time crunch, but watch for us at the bar on Saturday night… We try our best to make it hard for you to recognize us.
2. We do own other clothes.
Sweatpants and gym shorts aren’t the only clothes we own, but again we usually go to class right from practice or vice versa. There is no point in getting ready for class when you have practice in the middle of the day or meet multiple times a day. The uniform makes life easy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a few cute outfits to whip out.
3. We hate hearing you complain about how you don’t have time.
We balance class and practice along with conditioning, lifting and time spent in the trainers heating, icing, foam rolling, getting our knots rubbed out, you name it and we’re probably doing it. On top of class and practices some of us even have jobs, internships, or participate in clubs/organizations. We don’t feel bad when you complain about not having time to do your homework, trust us we know the struggle because it’s basically a full-time job while being a full-time student.
4. 8 AM is not that early.
Sure, no one likes waking up early, but 5 AM isn’t an uncommon time for us to get up to practice. Therefore, 8 AM is not that early to be a functioning human.
5. Venting does not mean we hate what we do.
There are times when you are around that we complain about how much we have to do, but that doesn’t mean we hate what we do. We love our sport, which is why we devote so much time and energy into it.
6. You can’t just “quit” when things get hard.
You ask us what we do and we tell you how much work we put into it and you seem to always ask why we still play. Well, we can’t just quit. You can’t quit on something you love, your teammates who become your family and your coach who becomes your foundation. The work is hard and tiring, but quitting is just not an option. That’s why we play.
7. Eating in class is a necessity.
Snacks are basically our lifelines. Without them we can’t function and without time between class and practice to eat a real meal, you can bet your ass we’re going to carry around a bag full of snacks.
8. We know we smell bad.
Seriously, two a days are a bitch and there’s not enough time in the day for multiple showers on top of everything else we have going on. Even when we only meet once a day we still have to go to class after we sweat for a few hours.
9. Complaining you don’t have time to work out.
You always have time to work out; we could even find extra time to work out if we wanted. Athletes don’t have the luxury of getting options when to work out, while most students can find some time in the morning or at night. We’re used to waking up when it’s still dark out to do workouts so we won’t sympathize for you when you say you don’t have the time. If you want to do it bad enough you could find time or make time.
10. We don’t want to walk around with ice bags wrapped around us.
We see you looking at us weird when we walk into the dining hall after practice. We don’t have ice bags taped to us for no reason. We’re in pain with shin splits, pulled hamstrings, sprained ankles, knee problems, and so on.
11. Yes, we own more than the same two pairs of shirts and shorts.
Instead of carrying around a change of clothes for right after class we’ll always just wear our practice clothes to class. Which, yes, is the same pair of shorts and shirts every other day that we are required to wear to practice or we will run.
12. These bags under our eyes are from working hard.
Seriously, what is sleep? Or free time? Please someone explain to us what those things are because we forgot.
Being a student athlete is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It is extremely time-consuming and stressful, but I’ve gained an irreplaceable family throughout the years. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but we work hard doing double duty as students and athletes! Though some people might not understand, it’s more difficult than it looks.