Off the field, the change that occurs in the daily schedule of an athlete will be found in the growth of independence. As a highschooler, you have the benefit of parents, teachers and coaches guiding you. This support network diminishes in college, often leaving student-athletes to make up the ground themselves.
College Athletes Consistently Wake Up Earlier
The first change you’ll notice is that athletes in the NCAA tend to wake up earlier than their peers. This is typically because offseason workouts, in-season film sessions, lifts, or even treatment sessions, typically occur before classes because this is the one time all students are free. Depending on what high school you went to, morning practices may not be something you’re used to.
Since college athletes typically have some sort of team activity in the mornings, this means often times students worry about being tired in class. While this is sometimes a factor, morning workouts can also have the opposite effect, and often can be a great way for you to start your day.
Student Athletes Learn to Study Solo
Typically, you will have a few classes with your teammates, and more often than not you will end up sitting next to them, then studying together. After classes conclude, athletes typically head to a place on campus to grab something to fuel up before a team activity of some kind, whether that be a film session, secondary lift, or voluntary workout.
On game days, your professors will be notified if you have to leave early, and typically, depending on school, most away games are travelled to by charter bus. Professors will work with athletes to help them make up the time they miss, but it’s important that an NCAA athlete understand that some professors are not going to go out of there way to help any more than they are obligated to.
College academics are more individual, and often students spend more hours studying than in an actual class. Coaches and school counselors will help you manage your time if you get behind in your coursework, and though some professors may be stricter than others, at the end of the day, everyone wants you to graduate.
What High School Recruiting Websites Don’t Mention: College has More Individual Responsibility
The big difference between highschool and college is that in college, you do a lot of the work yourself. Whether it’s as an athlete putting in extra hours of training in the offseason when noone is watching, or as a student studying extra hours in the library before a big exam, the work is on you. If you choose to take on the role of an NCAA student-athlete, you will undoubtedly have individual choices to make. Whether it’s skipping the parties that your friends are talking about or waking up earlier than your peers, you will inevitably have sacrifices as well. But if you’re a true athlete, those are the sacrifices you live for.