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Freshman athletes adjusting to college life

Samuel Murphy, Staff Reporter

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College is one of the most difficult things in life to get settled into. Between school, work and social life, finding a balance and routine can be straining on new students. Adding practices, games and tournaments to the workload can only add to the stress.

Schedules for freshmen student-athletes can be chaotic. At times, their only stability in life can be their class schedule. Homework, practices, games, tournaments and work can change from week to week or even day to day – making a routine almost impossible to set.

“Getting into a set routine does get a little tricky sometimes with the schedule changing so much,” said Parker Andres, a freshman volleyball player. “With game, tournament and practice times alternating, I have had a hard time getting into a routine I can stick with. It gets hard going from practice one day at 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next.”

Now six weeks into the semester, Lukas Burkman, freshman basketball player, is still working on getting into a routine.

“My routine is still not where it needs to be,” Burkman said. “Finding your routine is very hard, but school always comes first, then sports.”

The difference between high school and college is huge and for incoming freshmen, it can be hard to adjust. Burkman believes the difference is finding some spare time following practices and classes.

“The biggest difference for me is the time; I have so much going on every day and no time to just rest,” Burkman said. “In high school, everything was done right away and you had time to do homework after school and practice, but now I have to set times for when I do things and have to place more responsibilities and higher expectations for myself.”

Andres doesn’t see much of a difference on the athletic side, but sees a big difference in the classroom.

“We practice about the same amount in college, we just have a longer season,” she said. “As far as school goes, college is very different. Having a lot of freedom after classes during the day, I tend to want to take a nap instead of doing my homework, and I can’t do that when I have coach asking about grades every time we’re on the road.”

For some student-athletes, being close to home helps take some worry and responsibility off their shoulders.

Burkman, who is from Louisville and attended Trinity High School, says he loves that he is close to home.

“It helps me tremendously,” he said. “I have the blessing to have parents who still make me meals and take care of me, and most college students don’t have that luxury.”

Andres, who is from New Albany and attended New Albany High School, says she likes being close to home, but feels that she doesn’t get as much done at home as she does at school.

“Being so close to home has helped me a little bit,” she said. “It’s nice to go home in between class and practice, but I usually go home and want to rest instead of staying on campus and getting some stuff done for classes, so I have to work out the kinks there in my routine.”

The biggest luxury of being a freshman student-athlete is having upperclassmen on the team to look up to for advice.

“I look up to the upperclassmen on the team for most, if not all, things college related,” Andres said. “Kelsey [Willinger] is probably who I look up to most as far as a routine and academics go. She’s always working on something before practice, talking about what she has to do in school and she is a huge motivator and tries to keep everyone positive on the court.”

Burkman believes he needs to figure out his own routine, but has talked to upperclassmen on the basketball team.

“It’s really about what I need to do for my own work,” he said. “If I need more time, I’ll set up my routine putting more time and effort into school and homework.”

For future student-athletes coming into college, Burkman advised they don’t fall behind in classes, ask plenty of questions in class and manage their time wisely so things do not pile up.

“I would tell future freshmen athletes to stay on top of everything and make sure they do figure out a routine at some point,” Andres added.

Andres believes that time is that any free time a new student has should be taken advantage of, instead of wasting it.

“You go from being stuck in a building with nothing but work to do for six hours and then practice to a couple of classes a day with a break between class and practice,” Andres said. “It gets easy to slack off with all the free time you have and the time you have as a ‘break’ should be used productively so you don’t get behind.”

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Freshman athletes adjusting to college life