The grind never stops: How DSU’s student-athletes balance school, athletics

Jordyn Nelson, a senior medical laboratory science major from Phoenix, high fives her team before a match. DSU’s student-athletes constantly have to balance school and athletics whether in or out of season. Photo by Emily Wight.

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Students in college already seem pressed for time as they scramble to get assignments done on time and prepare for tests without cramming, but what is a day in the life of a student-athlete like at Dixie State University? How does this vary from a normal student?

The grind never stops

Braden Bonner, a senior recreation and sports management major from Murray, never has a dull moment in his day. Bonner is not only a pitcher for the baseball team, but also has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and is working for his second in recreation and sports management. Let’s look into the life of a pitcher and student-athlete during the middle of the baseball season:

8:30 A.M.Wake up
8:30-10:30 A.MBreakfast and get ready for the day
10:30-12:00 P.MRecovery weights / treatment
12:00-1:00 P.M.Attend classes / lunch
1:30-2:30 P.M.Drill work and warm-ups
2:30-4:45 P.M.Team Practice
5:00-5:30 P.M.Recovery/homework
5:30-6:30 P.M.Team weights
6:30-7:00 P.M.Pitching recovery work / preparation for the next day
7:00-11:00 P.M.Dinner, homework, personal time
11:00 P.M.Sleep

Since Bonner has already earned a degree at DSU, he understands the way to structure his class schedule to accommodate this busy in-season schedule he faces.

“During the fall [offseason], I dedicate to getting my heavy schoolwork completed,” Bonner said. “I try to take the hardest classes then, when I know I can dedicate more time to studying and academics [as] opposed to the in-season schedule.”

Hoops and homework

With the goal of becoming a second-grade teacher, Hannah Robins, a junior elementary education major from Nephi, uses her time to practice preparing lessons and prepare for the next opponent she’ll face on the court.

“Our time is kind of limited [by the NCAA] when we are in the off-season because we aren’t able to practice as much as we do during the season,” Robins said.

During the off-season, the NCAA permits 8 hours of athletic activities per week, compared to 20 hours per week for in-season sports. Regardless of how many hours are allowed, Robins’ schedule is still full from sunrise to sunset.

7:00-8:00 A.M.Wake up / prepare for day
8:00-9:00 A.M.Class
9:00-10:00 A.M.Breakfast
10:00-11:00 A.M.Class
11:00-12:15 P.M.Team weights
12:45-2:00 P.M.Treatment / warm up for practice
2:00-3:30 P.M.Practice
3:30-4:30 P.M.Extra work on basketball skills
4:30-6:30 P.M.Dinner
6:30- 9:30 P.M.Homework
10:30 P.M.Sleep

Since both Bonner and Robins have a full schedule both in-season and during the offseason, dedication seems to be a must as they sacrifice hours of their day to their sport when it could be used doing activities other college students are participating in.

Aces and A’s

Kate Hardy, a freshman dental hygiene major from Fruitland, Idaho, carried a 4.0 in high school and was the Valedictorian for her class. A busy schedule was no shock for the middle blocker her freshman year; Hardy was always busy throughout her first year of college.

“The biggest difference for practicing in-season [as] opposed to the off-season is the traveling,” Hardy said. “When we would travel, I’d have to be doing homework on the road, and it would give us a day off between games. During the off-season, we didn’t really get off days.”

One would think practices would be less stressful during the off-season so players could recover and prepare for the next season, but this isn’t always the case.

“[Practices] were always intense in both the off-season and during the season,” Hardy said. “Our coach wanted us to make a good impression going DI this year, so we always went hard.”

College athletes are extremely busy year-round as they hope to either keep their position on the team or steal a starting position from a teammate. So how do they do it? What is a tip athletes give to help balance their schedule?

“I like to follow a schedule, so I don’t get lost during the day,” Hardy said. “I have a schedule and do my best to stick to it.”