Hello, my name is Kinga Mikolajczyk and I rowed my way into University of Southern California, which I graduated with B.A. in Psychology and Human Performance. I currently pursue a degree in Physical Therapy at Nicolaus Copernicus University Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Poland. When I am not studying I work as a teacher sharing my knowledge with those who like to learn and are not afraid of obstacles of learning a foreign language. In my free time I love doing sports. I used to be a rower for 10 years and now I am pursuing my quest for adrenaline by experiencing new sports such as running, biking and doing triathlons.
For most prospective students getting into college and maintaining a certain GPA is already a challenge. Some get involved into various organizations (not only sororities and fraternities), some decide not to and some decide to try sports in college or simply continue their career hoping to become a superb athlete.
A student-athlete has a mission: once he or she enters college, he or she has to excel not only in a classroom but also on a field, on the water, or in the water depending on specificity of their sport. According to NCAA rules there is a limit of hours designated for practices an athlete can attend on- and off-season, however it doesn’t mean that he or she has an easier time managing schoolwork and the load of practices while being off-season. The truth is that sometimes you just get sleep deprived in order to get your schoolwork done and then wake up super early for a practice because your teammates count on you.
These students do succeed at both fields, at some cost though. Sometimes it’s a worse grade at the midterm, sometimes it’s lack of sleep. One way or the other they try to excel in what they do. Many people try sports in college but do they really know what they’re getting themselves into the exact moment they start? I don’t think so. You can be an athlete in a national team in any country and then get into college and experience a totally new level of the sport you have been playing for so many years, the same sport that you thought you knew everything about.
Some students don’t get good night’s sleep even while not playing sports. I want you to notice how busy a schedule of a student-athlete is and how well organized they can be. The difference between these two groups of students is that an athlete is more used to being tired all the time and it is easier for him to handle little failures we face every day. They do not break them, they give him or her the strength to go on with their plan and rise like a phoenix from ashes.
The trick of being a successful and balanced (both on and off field) student-athlete is to manage time effectively and limit procrastination. The truth is that the less time you have, the more effective you are.
Some people say that you become a slave once you become a student-athlete of division I sport. Maybe in some way, but I think that it is a personal choice to become more than a regular student, to get to know your limits and to break them. Becoming a student-athlete is a journey not only to get to know a given sport but also to get to know oneself. Trust me, you don’t know what you’re capable of until you are put in a team where you know that your goal is to succeed no matter what happens. The love to sport gets converted into excitement and competitiveness. Once you feel the union among your teammates and the desire to fight together there is nothing better you can experience. That kind of exposure enriches your personality and helps after you leave college because you learn that you are capable of seemingly impossible things.