The 4 Lessons I Learned from College Athletics
Mandy Boyle, College Golfer and Her Next Play Intern
1. Support from those around you is crucial for success.
There is nothing more powerful than a group of girls who have the same goals, dreams, and ambitions. Your team is part of your success.
I have always thought of golf of an individual sport, most people do. However, last week my team played in their first match play tournament. It was also the first time in my four years of college golf where I saw my teammates genuinely cheering for each other. We realized that there was no need to compete against our team. Our determination focused on beating the opponents. It was the best we had ever played as a team and took us to a whole new level of performance and excellence.
Yes, there will be times when you are competing for playing time, the last spot, or making conference but you have to be there for each other. Your coaches and parents won't always understand how you feel, but your teammates will because they think it too.
2. Time Management is critical.
Twenty hours a week and 15 credits a semester. One of the hardest parts of playing college athletics is prioritizing and managing your time. Between practice, traveling, tests, class, and social life there is a lot to balance and it’s best to set good habits early.
Some of the best practices I learned were:
Always let your professor know your schedule ahead of time and send them an email a week before the absences to remind them.
Find a planner system that works for you. It’s crucial to stay as organized as possible.
You won't get much homework done on trips so plan accordingly. At the end of a long day or hard game the last thing you will want to do is homework. Trust me.
Find someone to hold you accountable
3. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities.
Getting involved in extracurricular activities is probably one of the best things you can do for your mental health, future self, and all around to make your experience as a student-athlete more worthwhile. When you can get yourself into a good routine, as mentioned before, the best next thing to do is get involved.
Getting involved in clubs, sororities, or associations will benefit you in more ways than one.
You’ll be able to have additional leadership opportunities
Be exposed to new friends
Be eligible for other scholarships
Learn about more internship and career opportunities
It’s pertinent to remember that you won’t always be just an athlete; find a hobby, passion, or other interest to help you relax and prevent a post-collegiate identity crisis.
4. Stay positive.
Only 7 percent of graduating high schoolers will have the opportunity to play athletics in college. You are fortunate enough to be part of such a small percentage of people, and that is something to be proud of. Not every day is going to be easy, your body will be exhausted and school work will pile up, but your team will have your back. Some days you will ask yourself why you do it, is it even worth it, but in the end, it will be one of the best life experiences. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.