Freshmen athletes juggle many responsibilities in first year

Doing homework, reading textbooks, writing essays and studying are all basic academic challenges that the average college student endures on a daily basis. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to assume those responsibilities while involved in collegiate level sports as a freshman?

“The transition from high school to college was stressful,” said Erica Lim, 19, forward. “You have your own responsibilities — like taking yourself to school — which is challenging enough,  and you’re all on your own with nobody to tell you what to do.”

With every passing year prefacing individuals to take on more responsibility, freshman student athletes enter the campus clinging to the notion that they are holding themselves accountable for executing their academic obligations.

“Balancing school work is definitely challenging because we practice four to five days a week for a couple of hours during each of those days, so the school’s workload really does pile up at the times you don’t want to do it,” said Clarissa Pacheco, 17, redshirt.

Time management is what the 18-year-old scoring guard Michael Murphy underlines in his experience on being both a student and an athlete playing for the men’s basketball team.

“Practice intervenes on studying and homework, especially on the days that we have to compete at other campuses that are located pretty far, or during tournaments,” Murphy said.

It would be more surprising to hear that players are finding the time to perform well in their academics, because the majority of the Cosumnes River Hawks men’s basketball team’s games are taking place at 7 p.m. or later.

These games can take up to two and a half hours to finish, while the scheduled tournaments can take up to four hours to complete because there are more teams attending the hosting campus.

“Sometimes I do think I could have gotten better grades had I not been involved in sports, because I have two B’s — but I know I could have gotten them up to A’s,” Pacheco said.   

Yet, academics is not the only aspect in their lives that is being compromised by collegiate level sports.

“I didn’t really hang out with anyone outside of of my family and my teammates,” Lim said. “But a lot of my teammates became my best friends thanks to playing soccer.”

Some student-athletes said they have a full schedule of classes making it almost impossible to socialize outside of school and sports.

“It’s hard to throw all of my classes together, you know. I’m taking six classes while trying to find time playing sports and it’s compromising my social life outside of school,” Murphy said.

However, there are resources, departments and individuals that aid student athletes in performing well in school, such as: the athletic department’s team study hall, tutors involved in those departments to teach the players and the coaches themselves.

“Our coach stays on top of our academics,” Pacheco said. “We have to submit a lot of grade reports and maintain a 3.0 gpa to compete.”

In regards to time management, Lim believes schoolwork comes before athletics and offers tips on the subject of succeeding in student athletics at CRC — freshman athletes take notes.

“Making sure that school is first is definitely a priority,” Lim said. “Sit in the first two rows, get to know your professor, make friends in class, plan out your schedule ahead and provide yourself with a personal deadline so that you can manage your time correctly.”

With helpful tips like these, freshman athletes like Pacheco can stop “dividing attention between academics and athletics”, so that they have more time for having fun with friends.