When it comes to juggling athletics and school, striking a balance between the two worlds can often seem easier said than done. So, if you’re feeling the pressure, we’re here to tell you, you’re not alone.
From knowing where to focus your efforts to making time for rest and recovery, every student athlete must learn to manage their responsibilities in a way that feels most productive for them.
However, it never hurts to hear from others who have been or are currently in your shoes. So, in an effort to score some tips and tricks, team TYR athletes Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky sat down to discuss their experience. As two of Stanford’s finest, both Simone, who is finishing up her final units, and Katie a current undergraduate student, have a ton of experience juggling packed schedules.
For their top tips on finding success in and out of the pool, read on for their conversation below.
SIMONE: For me, the most important thing was taking advantage of any free time I had. The class syllabus was always such a helpful tool because it allowed me to plan ahead and really stay on top of my work.
KATIE: I agree, proper preparation is so important. It also helps a lot to communicate with your teachers.
SIMONE: Absolutely. At the start of the semester I definitely suggest that athletes be proactive with their professors in discussing when will they be out of town for meets.
KATIE: In my opinion another major component to balancing a packed schedule is taking care of yourself. I rely on proper sleep, recovery and healthy eating to keep me energized, especially when I’m moving through a busy week.
KATIE: I’m also a huge proponent of packing nutrient dense snacks in your backpack for those days you’re on the go.
SIMONE: Yes, when you’re feeling fueled and healthy, the entire experience feels much more manageable.
SIMONE: I also think it’s important to foster friendships outside of swimming. When you create relationships with your classmates you not only add balance to your life, but you also increase your support circle. Plus, on a practical level, your classmates make the best study buddies.
KATIE: Building those friendships is so special. I really value the relationships I have built with my classmates so far, and I do think it’s been a major benefit to me as both an athlete and a student.
SIMONE: Another thing I learned throughout my experience as a student athlete is that sometimes your efforts just can’t be evenly distributed. This was a hard concept for me to accept, but at the end of the day, it taught me to trust in myself. It may sounds simple, but doing your best is what really matters.
KATIE: That’s so true. Once you begin navigating both school and sports, the process does get easier. You begin to find your groove and learn to show up for everything as best as you can. It’s not about being perfect or competing with anyone else, it’s about becoming the greatest version of yourself- in and out of the water.