by Brett Marshall: CSU Public Relations Assistant
Pressure. High expectations. Busyness. These are just a few words and phrases that two Minnesota State students used to describe their lives as student-athletes.
Katlin Sannan is member of the MSU Tennis team and though she loves being a student athlete, she says it isn’t always easy.
“There is a tremendous pressure that I feel as being a student athlete. I am not just representing the University by just academics, but by being an athlete too.”
The pressure comes from a variety of different people, all holding athletes like Sannan to high expectations.
“Your parents, teachers and coaches are expecting you to have good grades, your friends want you to make time for them and you are expected to participate in practice, lifting and conditioning,” Sannan said. “And if you have a job on top of all that, the pressure builds up.”
Ashley Reed, a member of the Women’s Basketball team, echoed Sannan’s feelings.
“There is definitely a standard that is expected for student-athletes on campus. You have to be on top of your school work when you frequently miss for road trips, have long practices and sometimes multiple workouts a day and have the responsibility to represent not only your team, but also the university in a positive manner,” Reed said.
Unfortunately when that pressure builds, it can take a toll on the people it’s affecting.
“I feel like people don’t realize how much student-athletes go through and how busy of a schedule they have. Mental health is a big concern with student-athletes and it’s important to be mindful of that,” Sannan said.
Sannan has a few ways of combatting the pressure, most often by simply taking each part of her day “one thing at a time.” Additionally, she likes to get into a groove by preparing herself on game days and before her matches.
“On game days, it’s definitely not like a normal day. I’ll make sure that I go to bed early the night before and get a goodnight’s sleep, no matter how much homework I have,” Sannan said.
Sannan said she also likes to do her hair and makeup on game days to increase her confidence through the “look good, feel good attitude.” Prior to her matches, she preps by simply listening to good music and focusing in on what she needs to do to be successful.
Reed said being appreciative of the opportunities she has keeps her morale up.
“I try to have fun and be positive. There are definitely ups and downs when it comes to stress, school, basketball and everything else a college student has to deal with, but remembering all the great things helps you relax and be grateful.”
The pressures aside, there are some great things about being a student-athlete, one of which Sannan said is the connections.
“I love being a student athlete because of the connections and the environment. MSU has a very warm student-athlete environment,” she said. “Every athlete supports each other and I have built so many bonds with a lot of them.”
Reed loves playing in front of the fans.
“They make playing basketball so much fun because of their genuine love and support for Maverick Athletics. They are there to celebrate every victory but also be right by your side during those hard defeats, and fans like that are truly unbelievable,” she said.
In the end, the life of a student-athlete isn’t always easy, there are a lot of pressures and long days, but the thrill of representing yourself and your university every time you take the court, field or rink, is something only an athlete can truly appreciate.