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How a Student Athlete Manages

Gretchen Elsey, a senior Exercise Science major from Pulaski, PA, is a dual sport athlete here at Grove City College. She is a shooting guard for the women’s basketball team, along with competing in the high jump for the track and field team.

As Grove City College is an academically challenging school, I asked her how she balances her school work while being a collegiate athlete. She responded, “The best way for me to balance my work is by working ahead as best I can. I also look ahead in all my syllabi in the beginning of the week, so I have an idea of what needs to be done. Also, playing a sport in general really helps me prioritize not only my time, but what I do outside of my schoolwork. It really is about being diligent in your work. If you are diligent and finish your work on time, then you will be able to do other things.”

Gretchen also mentioned that the basketball team offers a study table on Monday nights. This is required for freshmen players to attend, and lasts for two and a half hours. “Some upperclassmen go to study table because while we get our work done, it is a good time to bond with the freshmen,” she said. Even though I do not play a sport here on campus myself, I would agree with Gretchen that the best way to stay on top of your studies is by setting enough time aside to accomplish what you can, along with working ahead in any way possible.

I also asked Gretchen if she feels like she missed out on some college experiences since she plays two sports. She responded, “I do miss out on some social aspects in a sense. Like if some of my friends are meeting in the Student Union, or if people are going off campus to hang out for a little bit. But other than that, not really because all my friends are on the basketball team, so I see them every day and during the season we spend an absurd amount of time together.” Gretchen also told me that her closest friends have come from the basketball team: “Without basketball I do not know if I would’ve met them. They are some of my closest friends and for sure will be there for me even after college.” Although it can be super fun to play sports at the collegiate level, you can give up most of your weekends to games, long tournaments, or practices.

To conclude the interview, I asked if there is any advice she would give to incoming freshmen and students interested in playing sports. Gretchen said, “I would just say why not? You have four years of school so might as well spend some of that time playing a sport you love. You also have a great opportunity to meet a lot of new people, so I definitely think it is worth it.”

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