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The Life of a Student Athlete: Overworked and Underappreciated


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Wake up, go to school, go to practice, go home, do homework, go to sleep, repeat. This is a daily cycle for student athletes in high school and even college. They have little to no time to spare compared to other students. There’s a struggle to add in extra things to do in a single day. They cannot do basic things that people consider a part of a daily life. They revoke their freedom to do such things in the name of sports. Although people believe student athletes have it easy, student athletes go through many hardships that an average student does not.

Donna Merkel points out how parents, coaches, and peers can be a negative impact on the student athletes. It can vary from pushing on too much pressure for the child to be good or to having severe lack of interest. There are high expectations on student athletes have to maintain grades while also sparing enough time to focus on their sport. They are told that they are a student before an athlete and to prioritize. According to NCAA, only about two percent of high school athletes are awarded some kind of athletic scholarship in order to compete in college. There is a high chance that the scholarship won’t cover the cost of the full tuition causing a money dilema for the student athlete. It is a high risk to depend on an athletic scholarship rather than an academic scholarship because of the variables of having that type of scholarship.

However, there are some upsides to being a student athlete. The student athletes form a strong bond with other student athletes because of shared distress. These bonds can be the strongest bond that the student athlete may have. Despite the slim chances of enrolling into college as a student athlete, student athletes have a higher graduation rate compared to the average student body because of the grade requirements to participate in the sport. When it comes to enrolling in college, average students only have the grades to impress colleges and student athletes have both their grades and sports to grab the attention of colleges. This advantage gives them a higher chance of scholarships and student assistance funds. Student athletes may also receive special treatment on campus just because of they are in sports.

Student athletes are usually known to only have strong bonds with other student athletes. Student athletes are not necessarily close with average students, parents, teachers, administrators, and family because the student athletes devote most of their time to sports. The only people who bond with student athletes are other student athletes, no matter the sport, because they share most of the same hardships. The others do not try to understand or comprehend how hard it is as a student athlete because of the basic saying “everyone has problems of their own.” It puts a strain on the student athlete because what they interpret it as is, no matter what you are going through no one cares enough to try to understand.

If people actually went out of their way to try to understand how hard it is to be a student athlete it would be different. They will understand why some students may need the special treatment because they genuinely need it and are not just taking advantage of it. They will understand that student athletes are not as simple as average students. They will understand that student athletes need to have support too and no just for their education or not just because of sports, but both. They will understand that being a student athlete is not a walk in the park. They will understand how much the sport means to the student athlete. The solution is simple and the outcome is worth the effort. It would not just benefit the student athletes, but also the people who want to have a better relationship with the student athlete.

I chose to address this issue because I am a student athlete. I have above a 4.0 gpa. I am one of the top athletes at my school in the sports that I play, which is girls basketball and girls track and field. I take AP and Honors classes. I have practice right after school and then I have to head home to do an abundance of homework for the night. And because I am a student athlete, I struggle daily for some type of balance in my life. I feel like I never get a break. I hardly get a blink of sleep, I stress over my overloading school work, I have the same treatment as other students, I receive no extra help for my academics, I have a bad relationship with my parents and siblings, I hardly go to family outings and that’s if I get invited to them anymore because my family can’t care any less, no one shows up to my sports events, no one congratulates me on a job well done since it should be expected, and worst of all, no one really understands or knows me. That is unless, they are also a student athlete.

About the Writer
Kayonna Williams, Staff Writer

Kayonna is enthusiastic, driven, communicative, and intelligent. She speaks her mind, demonstrates leadership skills, and is always there for someone in...

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The Life of a Student Athlete: Overworked and Underappreciated