Remaining completely focused and devoted to a rigorous college academic schedule is difficult for students who face distractions. A time-consuming athletic schedule complicates the schedule even more. It takes a special breed of student to balance the demanding work load.
Student athletes must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units, and maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher in order to remain eligible for athletic competition.
On average, a full-time college student will spend at least 12 hours a week in the classroom, and many hours outside of class sessions working on homework, research, studying and attending a variety of other educational activities.
Student athletes typically face the same academic requirements as other students but for each hour they spend focusing on academics, they typically spend another hour on athletics.
The issue facing most athletes is finding how to manage the balance of a demanding academic schedule and a relentless athletic agenda.
Aaron McCalmont, a redshirt his freshman season, now a starter on the men’s volleyball team, worked out a system that has allowed an even balance of his schedule, improved his study habits and boosted his GPA.
McCalmont lettered in four sports during his high school career. A varsity participant in track and field, soccer, baseball and volleyball, McCalmont balanced four varsity sports and maintained an eligible GPA all at the same time.
Taking the experience of multitasking that he learned in high school, McCalmont eventually made his way to California Baptist University where he now is a full-time kinesiology major, enrolled in 15 units and a full-time athlete playing men’s volleyball year-round.
McCalmont said that although he did sustain eligibility during high school, his study habits and motivations did not firmly establish themselves in his life until he arrived at CBU. Now he does whatever it takes to ensure a successful academic performance as well as a productive athletic career.
During season, McCalmont and his team spend upwards of 20 hours a week devoted to volleyball. Between practices, morning workouts, team meetings, traveling and games, they sometimes spend over five hours a day focused on athletics. With that much time and dedication put into one aspect of his college career, McCalmont expressed the need to find new ways to take care of his studies so that his academic performance would not diminish as a result of his athletic commitment.
He sacrifices the early mornings for class so that he has a large chunk of time in the mid-afternoon for studies, sometimes he stays up late at night to finish his homework. He is strategic with travel time and he reads and studies instead of listening to music or watching movies. These are just a few ways McCalmont keeps academics and sports balanced.
He said that dividing the work up throughout the week and taking it a portion at a time is extremely beneficial. That way, when Thursday night rolls around he is not overwhelmed with a volleyball game as well as four hours of studying to endure.
Ashley Richardson, a freshman on the women’s soccer team, said she finds herself doing homework and studying throughout the day, and as a result her evenings are open for soccer practice and her social agenda.
“It is definitely harder in college to balance sports and studies,” McCalmont said. “But once you find a routine that works for you it’s completely worth the dedication.”
McCalmont and Richardson are just two examples of the many student athletes on our campus that successfully balance their academics and athletics, proof that while it is quite a challenge, it most certainly can be accomplished.