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Balancing school and sports

Being a student-athlete can be difficult but worth it
(Pictured from left) Trevon Williams is a sophomore football player from Louisville, Kentucky. Olja Ivanovic is a senior varsity soccer player from Serbia. Junior Lorenzo Gonzalez is a varsity baseball player from Venezuela. (Photos by CU Sports Information)

Becoming a student-athlete at Campbellsville University (CU) is about more than just wearing a tiger shirt and representing the school. It’s a long journey of dedication, perseverance and hard work, which helps student-athletes from around the world get a degree, live an unforgettable experience and further develop their athletic careers.

Trevon Williams, a sophomore football player from Louisville, Kentucky, is studying business and playing for the football team. According to Williams, being a student-athlete can be overwhelming.

“It is hard sometimes,” he said. “You can feel stressed and overwhelmed, especially at the beginning.”

Currently, it’s football season, so his time is limited with school and one-to-two-hour practices at the field and gym at least three times a week. He also has meetings and other team activities throughout the week. His daily schedule during the season consists of morning classes and workouts, a break for lunch, more classes, rehab, practice, a team meeting and study hours. During the offseason, he has a little more free time. To stay organized, he has a schedule and a set time to do homework and study.

“We work hard both semesters, but I think that we have more time during spring,” he said.

According to Williams, one of the biggest issues of being a student-athlete is being homesick.

“I miss my family a lot,” he said. “But this experience makes me feel more focused, think about life, how to become a better person and find myself because, in the end, I am here for one reason, which is to graduate and grow as a person.”

Williams shared some advice for future student-athletes.

“They need to be organized, have good time management, a strong mindset and fight for what they want,” he said.

Olja Ivanovic, a senior varsity soccer player from Serbia, said being organized is essential for student-athletes.

“You need to have a planner, a schedule and do homework on time,” she said. “I know that it is very difficult. Sometimes you are tired, and the plan just doesn’t go as you planned, but you need to keep going, make an effort and be positive.”

During the soccer season, she practices five times a week, two hours in the field and then the gym, plus matches. She works at Starbucks and exercises in the gym in the mornings. In the afternoons, she has classes, soccer practices, and does homework to earn a business degree.

Ivanovic has learned how difficult being a student-athlete is, but she’s enjoying it.

“I have noticed how difficult it actually is,” she said. “I thought it would be easy. I learned how Americans live, more English, different types of soccer, how to take care of myself and be more independent.”

Her advice for future student-athletes is to take time to enjoy the experience, be responsible, make friends and work hard.

Junior Lorenzo Gonzalez, a varsity baseball player from Venezuela, said the stresses of being a student-athlete can affect one’s mental health.

“I am a person that really likes working hard, but sometimes it is hard to believe in myself and that is when I start to put bad thoughts in my head,” he said. “But, at the same time, I have never lost control of myself, and I really enjoy what I’m doing. I do not feel stressed or overwhelmed about school and baseball because since I came to CU, I have always had enough time to be a student-athlete and, at the same time, enjoy being with my friends.”

Gonzalez, who is working to earn a business degree, has a very busy schedule. He has practice every day for at least four hours with the combination of lifting and baseball. In the morning, he has gym and classes. In the afternoon, he also has classes, practice, time for homework and spending time with friends. He also works on Saturdays at Chick-fil-A for six hours since it is his only day off from baseball.

He said he has enjoyed his experience as a student-athlete.

“This experience helped me to be more mature, be more independent and grow as a person and as an athlete,” he said.

His advice for future athletes is to take advantage of their parents’ sacrifices, be organized and be responsible.

“You need to enjoy this time, but at the same time, you have responsibilities,” he said. “So, if you are organized you can have fun, study and practice.”

CU Men’s Tennis Coach Kyle Caven played college tennis, so he knows what’s expected of student-athletes. He works with his players to help them succeed, but he doesn’t make it easy.

“They have to overcome adversity and work on their weaknesses,” he said.

Caven understands how difficult being a student-athlete can be, but he also knows how rewarding it can be even after they graduate.

“You become a better person,” he said. “That is why there are many companies that hire athletes because they are dedicated, have discipline, and understand they need to work every day to succeed.”

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About the Contributor
Clara Asprella
Clara Asprella is a sophomore from Argentina. She is majoring in film and minoring in broadcast and digital media. This is her first year reporting for The Campus Times. She's part of the Campbellsville University women’s tennis team. She also works for the CU Sports Information Department as a videographer. She loves taking photos and videos of everything, but especially of sports.
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