Category Archives: Curiosity

3 Tips for Student-athletes Who Struggle With Grades and Social Life

 You know those mornings when you wake up and your body is sore from head to toe after the sprints you did the day before. You need to get ready in 5 minutes because you are almost late to class since you hit the snooze button at least three times. Half dead you leave the room and head to the day full of classes and practices right after that. Before you know it it’s 8pm, you find out you forgot to even eat and by the time you get to homework it’s 10pm.

This is a very typical day for most student-athletes across the nation. It doesn’t matter what division you play, student-athletes are superheroes! They are known to be phenomenal at time management, prioritizing, and putting on a good face even though inside they are exhausted. In order to fully understand what it’s like, one must just try this life himself.

It’s extremely easy for student-athletes to drop their grades or become isolated from any social or personal life. However, since athletics play a big role in the pride of schools, athletes need to strive for impersonation of perfection.

In order to keep your head straight on and off the field, court, course, etc. here are some tips that all student-athletes can use in everyday life to improve their game, grades, relationships and life.

1. Routine, routine, and more routine

Being a student-athlete usually forces you to have a daily routine, which really is the best thing for you. Keeping a daily routine keeps your work, practice and social life in order. You can stay organized with to-do lists, plus we all know how good it feels to cross out the things you finished. Along with a to-do list, you can have a list of priorities, placing the least important thing at the bottom, knowing that you might not get to it that day, but always trying to get the first things on the list accomplished. Having a hundreds things on your schedule is overwhelming and it’s easy to forget about some. Having it in writing in front of you (maybe hung on the wall), will put a bit of a pressure to get it done and also serve as a reminder, so you won’t forget anything important.

2. Ask your coaches

Often times, student-athletes are too afraid of their coaches and building a more personal relationship with them doesn’t seem like an option. Don’t be scared of your coach. In most cases, they were student-athletes once too and they know exactly what it’s like, including all the struggles you might be experiencing. The duty of your coach is to be your mentor, so put it in use. Whether it’s a problem with school, grades, professors or even personal life, don’t be scared to share your concerns with your coach. You might find that he/she understands you much better than you thought. Try to use your coach as a resource for answers for more areas than just athletics.

3. Meal time­ is friends time

During the season it is hard to make time for friends other than teammates. If your roommates are non-student-athletes and you find yourself never seeing them, then the solution is to make meal time a friends time. Every student-athlete should be eating at least three meals a day, so why not utilize your time and eat with your friends you never see. Set up breakfast, lunch or dinner dates with your non-athlete friends to catch up on life. This tip not only gets you into good eating habits but also lets you talk about other things than sports and have a social life.

4 Things You Want to Know About College Dorms

4 Things You Want to Know About College Dorms

Do you think about questions like: What if I can’t stand my roommate? How will we deal with dormroom hookups? What’s it like to shower in co-ed bathrooms? These are some of the many questions you’ll be faced with as you move out from your parents into a hall packed with hundreds of other freshmen with little to no experience living away from home. How can you make sure you get along with your new neighbors?

1. Freedom is the key

Your roommate isn’t going anywhere. Don’t feel like you have to blow off other people to hang out with your roommate and ensure that you have an extremely close relationship. At the end of the day, you’ll be coming back to the same tiny space, so you may welcome any chance of escape. Similarly, don’t be offended if your roommate has other friends; just because you live together doesn’t mean you have to act like a married couple.

2. Don’t fear the co-ed bathrooms

One of the things I was most anxious about when considering college dorm life was the seemingly inevitable co-ed bathrooms. Though it may seem strange and awkward to share bathrooms with many other adolescent youths, the unease and embarrassment definitely does not last long. And knowing that everyone else is on the same boat with you, makes it a lot easier to deal with.

3.  Think outside the boxes

One thing that I wish I knew before I came to college that I know now is how many boxes and storage containers I would need. Freshman dorms in general are tiny and students need to do what they can in order to maximize the small amount of space that they have. This means bringing a lot of boxes to store things under the bed is crucial! Parents always think that this is a great idea but now they are actually right!

4. Give dorms a chance

The dorm experience is a must-have. If you have considered skipping out on dorm life, DO NOT DO IT. This is an essential part of your growth as a student. It’s also the best way to meet new people. You might have a psycho for a roommate, but you might also meet your lifelong best friend. I only did one semester in the dorms and I really regret that. I’m not saying spend all four years there, but give it a shot for a year.

 

GOOD NEWS or BAD NEWS first?

As usually preferred, let’s start with the bad,

Student-athletes are stressed out
Although this may not be news to many athletes, in college, student-athletes really need to pull out their extra powers at times. Balancing schoolwork and athletic responsibilities, student athletes often report more stress than non-athletes. Student life can be stressful enough, but according to Athletic Insight’s Study, student athletes reported higher than usual stress in several variables, including: having lots of responsibilities, not getting enough time for sleep, and having demanding extracurricular activities. However, athletes do enjoy lower stress in some variables, like social isolation and satisfaction with their physical appearance.

College athlete may soon be paid
The most surprising and exciting fact for college athletes is that they may actually be paid for playing at some point in the near future. Many student-athletes expressed their opinion that collegiate players are being exploited by not receiving money. A legal movement started a few months ago to ensure that the law about paying student-athletes will change, so make sure to be on-board with StAR asap!

3 SURPRISING FACTS about being a STUDENT-ATHLETE

1. You may find more money in Division II and Division III

A large number of these schools are privately owned smaller colleges and they often give merit awards for student accomplishments. Although Division III schools are not allowed to award athletic scholarships, according to US News & World Report, some of the best scholarships for athletes come from these schools. It may sound confusing, but the merit grants from these colleges can often cut tuition by more than half which is an equivalent of some athletic scholarships in Division I.

2. The NCAA has specific academic requirements

There are multiple requirements you have to follow if you wish to proceed to play collegiate sports. Being a great athlete might get you the ticket to the team, however you need to be aware that the academic part also plays a big part in getting accepted to college. After graduating high-school, you even need to pay attention in what competition you participate to be able to sustain your “amateur status” and be eligible to compete in college. The NCAA has specific and even strict academic and athletic requirements. To stay on track with the requirements, StAR – Student Athletes Recruitment ere to help you with consulting any concerns and make sure you take the right steps.

3. Coaches sometimes don’t follow the practice limits

Unfortunately, coaches tend to mistaken the student-athlete’s identity as simply an athlete. An NCAA study reported that often, coaches do not follow the 20 hour per week limit on practice time set by NCAA law. More time in practice means less time in class and fewer opportunities to study, taking precious academic time away from student-athletes who may be struggling with schoolwork. However, as unfair as it sounds, you need to be prepared to do some extra work on and off the field if you want to be successful in college.

 

Petra Jurova

CHOOSE A COLLEGE AS A STUDENT-ATHLETE IS NOT ALL ABOUT SPORTS

As an athlete, finding a college to play for may seem like that is all that matters, when deciding what school to go to. But, the reality is that you need to think about the major you will choose, and academics just as much as athletics. Thinking about what you want to study and possibly do after college is a big plus when deciding what school is the best fit for you.

KEEPING YOUR GRADES UP IS MORE THAN IMPORTANT

Once you reached the dream of playing college sports, you have to be prepared to do everything to stay on the team. Being excellent in your sports however is not enough. Student-athletes are required to keep up their grades in order to keep competing. If you fall behind academically and do not meet academic standards, you will be unable to compete and could eventually occur at a risk of losing scholarship.

PICKING THE RIGHT COLLEGE MATTERS

When picking where you are about to spend the next 4 years of your life, you need to consider many aspects. First, find out what recourses the school has to assist athletes. Look into the academic part as well and see what extra help the school provides for student-athletes, in terms of tutoring, flexibility of professors, etc. Most importantly though, make sure you think about the environment and place where you want to spend your next few years. The location of your college matters. If you feel that you would do better in a sunny and hot environment, you would want to choose a school that is on the coast. If instead you do well in more dry and colder areas, Florida probably wouldn’t be the perfect location for you.

Again, you are about spend most likely 4 years in once place, so choose wisely about what fits you the best and where you will be the happiest – only then you can focus on building your success and shaping the best version of yourself.

 

Petra Jurova

La storia di John McEnroe: come il college può salvarti dal professionismo

(Articolo scritto originariamente per SpazioTennis.com e visualizzabile a questo link)

Oggi si parla di John McEnroe.

L’ascesa verso il successo tennistico segue strade imprevedibili: per alcuni passa da accademie rinomate, per altri da piccoli circoli tennis in paesi sperduti; per pochi eletti è lineare, univoca, apparentemente semplice, mentre per la maggior parte procede ad alti e bassi, a tentativi, fino a trovare quell’acuto fondamentale per sfondare i cancelli dell’olimpo del tennis.

John McEnroe un paio di tentativi li fece e, in quella che da fuori potrebbe essere considerata una perdita di tempo, effettuò una breve deviazione verso un’università americana entrando a far parte della squadra allenata da coach Gould. Certo, Stanford non era un’università come le altre, come non lo è tutt’ora: appena fuori da Palo Alto e ben radicata all’interno di uno dei poli tecnologici più ricchi del pianeta, vanta tra i suoi ex studenti personaggi del calibro di Phil Knight (co-fondatore di Nike), Sergey Brin e Larry Page (fondatori di Google), Tiger Woods, John F. Kennedy, Steinbeck e tantissime altre personalità successivamente diventate di spicco nel loro campo. Non guasta il fatto che Stanford abbia un campus che farebbe invidia a una reggia di monarchi europei e un clima che oscilla, mediamente, tra i 10 e i 25 gradi per gran parte dell’anno.

Questo avrebbe potuto non essere sufficiente, si dirà, se nel 1977 McEnroe raggiunse la semifinale di Wimbledon da qualificato a non appena diciotto anni di età. Stava finendo il suo ultimo anno di high school ed era riuscito a convincere i suoi professori a lasciargli qualche settimana libera per giocare i tornei in Europa. Per quanto i lussi di un tennis da poco diventato Open e i soldi che cominciavano a circolare lo attraessero, John stesso capì di non essere pronto per il salto tra i pro. La semifinale di Wimbledon gli aveva insegnato che, per raggiungere in maniera stabile quel livello, c’era bisogno di una continuità che ancora non gli apparteneva, oltre a una etica del lavoro da cui era ancora, probabilmente per motivi di maturità, lontano. Inoltre il ragazzo di Queens era stato cresciuto con un obiettivo: guadagnarsi il college tramite lo sport, con una borsa di studio che gli avrebbe permesso di frequentare un’ottima università, porta d’accesso per un lavoro da avvocato, come il padre.

John arrivò a Stanford dopo un’estate passata sui campi da tennis, al caldo e inframmezzata da innumerevoli viaggi. Era ovviamente una rockstar, con un’aura di leggenda che cominciava a formarsi e la sua classifica di numero ventuno del mondo stampata in fronte. Arrivò spossato e completamente scarico, tanto da non toccare una racchetta da tennis tra il primo ottobre e il tredici dicembre di quell’anno: gli era consentito farlo per via del suo status, e anche per il fatto che durante il Fall semester non si gioca il campionato ufficiale NCAA. Coach Gould lo lasciò fare, sapendo che avrebbe avuto bisogno del suo tempo per riprendersi. Fu tempo sprecato? Oggigiorno pensare di tagliarsi fuori dall’attività per due mesi e mezzo è impensabile, allora suonò sicuramente peculiare alle orecchie più vicine a Mc. Certo è che quel periodo fu fondamentale per digerire quanto aveva appena fatto, un risultato che a quell’età può avere effetti devastanti se non gestito nel modo corretto.

Ci si chiederà dunque come passò quel periodo di pochi mesi la più grande promessa americana di quegli anni. A suo dire faceva fatica a scuola e dovette ripiegare su corsi più semplici per riuscire ad arrivare alla sufficienza (si rivolse ai giocatori di football per consigli su questo argomento). Andava alle feste universitarie e trovò modo di sperimentare, nonostante la sua timidezza e il carattere leggermente introverso, tutto il pacchetto di attività che il college ti può offrire: roadtrip al mare, notti allegre nei bar, amicizie e ragazze. Dopo mesi passati in compagnia di professionisti più vecchi di lui nel circuito, quel primo semestre fu una sorta di ritorno a una vita adatta alla sua età, più “normale”, più semplice e spensierata. Fu anche l’ultima volta che ebbe la possibilità di vivere questo tipo di vita.

Durante lo Spring semester cominciò il campionato e Stanford rimase imbattuta. Lui no, però: perse due partite durante il semestre e non mantenne l’imbattibilità che tutti gli attribuivano. La pressione giocò certamente un ruolo e, se successivamente McEnroe non fu mai un tipo particolarmente soggetto alla tensione in partita, fu anche grazie all’esperienza del college che gli diede una grossa mano a crearsi una corazza verso l’esterno. Lo dice lui stesso, e aggiunge che il dover gestire la pressione in college fu un enorme aiuto per la sua successiva carriera da tennista professionista. Lui doveva vincere singolo e doppio, la squadra doveva vincere e gli spettatori ubriachi e urlanti sicuramente non aiutavano. Il periodo universitario fu anche quello in cui John crebbe fisicamente: da ragazzo mingherlino e con un servizio leggero cominciò a trasformarsi, lentamente, in giocatore completo, più potente e rapido sul campo. In suo aiuto vennero i campi rapidi su cui si giocava il campionato americano: sempre cemento, sempre serve and volley (mai praticato fino ad allora), sempre rimbalzi bassi che tanto piacevano ai suo colpi di approccio e al suo slice mancino.

Il sigillo del bad boy (non ancora diventato tale) arrivò al campionato NCAA, a cui lui teneva particolarmente. Lo vedeva come un rituale di passaggio, una vittoria che avrebbe affermato la sua volontà, alla fine dell’anno accademico, di diventare professionista e lasciare l’università. Al termine di nove giorni di competizione si trovò a giocare la finale contro un certo John Sadri, futuro numero 14 del mondo che, spinto dal pubblico del sud della Georgia, gli diede filo da torcere: McEnroe vinse 7-6 7-6 5-7 7-6 e definì Sadri uno dei migliori servitori che avesse mai visto. Alla fine dell’incontro, come dice lui stesso, “gli sembrò di volare”.

John firmò da professionista il mese successivo al Queen’s Club e, come molti si aspettavano, ebbe una carriera che lo portò ad essere uno dei più importanti giocatori di sempre. Dove si pone l’università in questo grande disegno studiato apposta per lui? La risposta è indefinita come tutto ciò che riguarda le scelte di vita, ma a sentire lui fu una benedizione. Gli diede tempo di digerire i primi improvvisi successi e di maturare fisicamente, oltre che di imparare a gestire la pressione dell’essere il grande favorito. Soprattutto, diede la possibilità a Stanford di vantarsi del fatto che anche il grande John McEnroe sia stato, e sempre sarà, tra i suoi più illustri ex studenti.