What It’s Really Like to be an Athlete in College

Back to October 17 inSIDER

by Afure Adah, CSU Communications Student Assistant

My name is Afure Adah, I am a senior on the women’s track team here at MSU and this is my experience in college life as a student-athlete.

Coming into college I didn’t have the same fears my older sister had when she went off to school. She didn’t compete in collegiate athletics, so some of her initial worries were making friends, liking her roommate, staying fit, staying on task with studies…etc.


I felt calm coming in because I already knew that being in a team environment everyday, and that would help me make a friend or two at least! I also knew I wouldn’t have to worry about being motivated to workout because it would be mandatory for my livelihood. My coach paired me with a roommate in the dorms that is on the team as well. We are currently best friends and have been roomies ever since!

As a freshman my coaches and academic advisor were like second parents…or uncles and aunts, whatever you want to call it. They kept an eye on us freshman, all the way from making sure we were keeping up with our school work (doing monthly grade checks), to sneakily seeing if we were going to bed late by checking how late we were up subtweeting on twitter.

Up until last year, the men’s and women’s track team had study tables. My freshman year it was mandatory for all freshmen and transfers so our coaches could make sure we were staying on task with our school work. After the first year, if an athlete’s GPA wasn’t above a 2.7, they had to keep doing study tables until it went up. I hated study tables because it was always in a specific room and it just wasn’t my study vibe, so I made sure to keep my grades up so I could get out, and I did.

As student athletes we get priority registration for classes. We register for classes, no matter what year in school, at or around the same time as senior students. This is so we can create schedules that work around practice and lifting times. I always find this beneficial because there is nothing worse than having to do 400 repeats on your own because you had a class during practice.

The Struggle… It’s Real

Although there have been a lot of benefits from being a student-athlete like traveling, meeting new people and being a part of something at school, there are definitely a lot of challenges. Track and Field is one of the longest sports because we compete in two different seasons, indoor and outdoor, all in one academic year. Cross Country athletes can actually have the longest seasons because some do their whole fall season (which starts in August), along with running distance indoors and outdoors for track. Track and Field starts training Sept. 4, starts competing in December and January and officially finishes at the end of May.

I have found that it’s important to be mentally, emotionally and physically strong because it’s a long season let me tell you! There are a lot of wins, losses, sore muscles, injuries, trips for meets, missed classes, agreements, disagreements…it’s a lot. And put on top of that, school work, exams and having a job!

Sappy Overall Outlook

I know myself, and being a student-athlete, – while it definitely has its many challenges – has honestly been a blessing for me. I think personally if I wasn’t a student-athlete I would have learned the the hard way the importance of being a motivated and hardworking student and employee. Because I’m as student-athlete, I have learned and grown with my peers, been guided by coaches and mentors and been supported by friends and family all along the way.

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