The Importance of Being a Student-Athlete

I was fortunate enough to spend seven years of my life working for two Division I athletic departments. During my time at these two institutions, I got to interact with hundreds of student-athletes from a variety of sports. As someone who has never really had any athletic ability, I was always in awe of the talent that student-athletes had in their respective athletic domains. What I was even more impressed with however, was the fact that they were students and athletes.

Being a student-athlete can seem like a daunting task because you are piling on a 40-hour commitment on top of pursuing a college degree. So there has to be benefits to this right? Of course!

The biggest advantage to pursuing the opportunity to be a student-athlete is the access to higher education. It cannot be stressed enough how many doors can be opened to you by receiving a bachelor’s degree. There are countless studies that have been conducted to show earnings potential for someone who has a bachelor’s degree versus someone who has a high school diploma.

The experience of being a student-athlete prepares a young person for the rest of their lives. If you think about the words or phrases that describe a great athlete they are almost identical to what describes a successful person. There is a reason why some companies in the business world love hiring former student-athletes because this group possesses a skill set that is coveted.

Leadership – Being a leader does not always mean being the most outspoken person. Leadership can take on a variety of looks in a team setting – it is all about identifying someone else’s strengths and how it can better the group. A great leader on a team in someone that is able to notice the strengths of each individual member on the team and find ways to bring about their best. 

Teamwork – There is no such thing as an individual sport in college. Even with a sport golf, you are still on a team. You and your teammates do everything together – go to practice, go to study hall, go to a competitions. It is vital that you learn how to work with others in order to achieve goals.

Time management – As a student-athlete, one of the biggest transferrable skills that you can take into the next phase of their life is time management. Student-athletes have to balance classes and studying along with practice schedules and competitions. The amount of self-discipline needed to accomplish all of these tasks can be utilized in a variety of environments outside of the university setting.

The list of traits can go on and on. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a college education and the value of the lessons that one learns during those four years. That experience coupled with the ability to continue to play your sport competitively makes for a pretty amazing adventure.

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