Mea Marvin | Writer
September 6, 2023
The life of an average student athlete consists of really four things. Step one: go to school. You spend all day going from class to class, accumulating more and more work to do. Then comes step two: Practice 3-4 days a week for 2-3 hours. Step four: get home from practice and do homework. Finally, step 5: go to sleep to wake up to do it all over again. Super fun, right?
Many students who struggle with doing a sport and trying to succeed academically are faced with many pressures. The amount of work that is given each day in AP and honors classes is almost unfathomable. Now, try taking all of that work and trying to find time to actually do it whilst going to practice for 2-3 hours a day. Junior Michelle Monier described her after school life, divulging how she “basically gets home around 6 or 6:30, and then just pretty much [does] homework until she goes to bed.” So many student athletes go through this daily, grappling to keep up with the impossible standards of performing both academically and athletically, not to mention trying to maintain enough energy to do both well.
We also have to keep in mind that these teenagers are not only student athletes, but they’re also kids. So, in addition to balancing schoolwork and sports, they must also find time to live a normal life and hang out with their friends.
Socializing is a big part of teens’ identities, and it is extremely important to maintain a healthy amount of social interaction. Junior Grace Pratt expressed how cross country “definitely makes it harder to find time to hang out with [her] friends. The meets take up a lot of time on the weekends. During the weekdays I never do anything non-school or sports related because I feel like I don’t have enough time.” This is common among numerous student athletes. It is difficult to thrive as a student, athlete, and as a friend.
Another extremely prominent issue not only locally, but globally as well, is the subject of student athletes’ mental health. The workload and stress of this role take a toll on these young people. Junior Emily Ohman shared how “school brings a lot more stress because it always feels like there is less time to do things and it feels like [she] never has any time.”
The overwhelming pressure of having to withhold all these expectations can cause serious repercussions. Always needing to feel at your best and flawless is a dangerous threat to mental health. A source who wishes to stay anonymous sadly recounted that “at one point in [their] life, [they] just felt hopeless. It felt like there were constantly so many standards to meet and people to keep happy. It felt just drowning. As much as [they] tried, [they] just felt like [they] were never good enough.”