Student-athletes on busy schedules and time management

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“I’m very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to play baseball at a collegiate level and competitive level and I wouldn’t change the decision I made.” - Photo via Rowan Athletics

Being a student-athlete is hard work that not everyone is able to do. It takes a lot of self-discipline and motivation to be successful as a student-athlete. While everyone else is probably doing homework, relaxing, or maybe even taking a nap, these diligent athletes are in the gym getting a lift in early in the morning, or staying up late getting their homework done because they had class and practice all day or simply were away at a game. Two of those student-athletes – baseball player Tyler Cannon, as well as soccer and lacrosse player Calista Burke – were able to share what their life is like, and how they handle the ins and outs of being a student-athlete.

Tyler Cannon is a fifth-year senior who studies Business Management and is an infielder for Rowan’s baseball team. Cannon became a student-athlete because growing up, sports were a huge part of his life and his family’s since he was five years old.

“I’ve loved baseball ever since that age, and it was clear to me that I definitely wanted to partake in the life of a student-athlete when I got to college,” Cannon said.

The infielder really enjoys the overall athletic experience that has created memories for him that he will “remember forever.” It led Cannon to meet coaches, players, and teammates that he feels will be there for him for the rest of his life.

On the other side of the card, however, the baseball player really thinks about all the hours and days that are sacrificed for the sport that he’s been playing for over 15 years. Cannon loves playing baseball and cherishes the moments he has when he plays, but he feels it withdraws from other things that are going on in his life not related to baseball.

“I would say the disadvantage is some of the time that you have to sacrifice,” Cannon said. “It takes away from the hobbies… But you need to understand that as a student-athlete you’re going to have to make some sacrifices and if you can get past that there won’t be any more disadvantages.”

Regarding scheduling and time management, Cannon’s in-season schedule gets a lot more chaotic mostly due to all the traveling that players and coaches partake in. Practices also pick up during the season with more days committed to practices compared to the fall. However, practices are longer in the fall because time is freed up since there are no games during the off-season. 

Packed schedules can take a toll on someone’s mind, which can possibly lead to mental health issues, but for Tyler Cannon and the athletic department, their goal is to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

“I think this is something that’s definitely very important,” Cannon said. “We’ve discussed it as an athletic department but I think it’s something that needs to be brought up more frequently across the country because it is evident that there are students that are struggling mentally and it’s something that should not be taken lightly… You need to train your mind as much as your body.”

Becoming a student-athlete for Cannon was a dream come true. These years have been some of the best years for him and he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“I’m very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to play baseball at a collegiate level and competitive level and I wouldn’t change the decision I made,” Cannon said.

Soccer player and lacrosse player Calista Burke is a junior at Rowan studying Finance. She plays soccer in the fall and plays lacrosse in the spring meaning she is almost always in season. Burke became a student-athlete because she always had a passion for sports growing up, so much that it became part of her identity. The dual-threat athlete loves competition as well as the structure that sports put in her life.

Burke believes that having a team (in this case two) means that there are a lot of people who have her back whether it be on the field or if she is going through something completely unrelated to either lacrosse or soccer. She perceives that her teammates and coaches will stand by her. Along with that, she loves how organized her life is with the help of being a student-athlete. 

“It really does put you on a good set schedule,” Burke said. “It helps my time management a lot because I’ll know that I’ll have a game or I have a lift, so I need to do x,y, and z before that.”

Playing two sports in two different seasons, it can bring up some challenges that the dual athlete has had to face. Burke has a high case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and sometimes can get caught up in what she’s missing socially such as Rowan’s events. Regarding school, Burke does get most of her work done when it’s due, but it does at times weigh on her.  

“Things will pile up and I’ll have moments where I’m stressed out about things, but I kind of just have to be like ‘ok, I just need to schedule a day and I just take that day off after practice and I just bang out all my homework,” Burke said.

In tough times like those, Burke tends to turn to her teammates and coaches who can help her out in any way, even if it’s for the smallest things. Beyond that, though, the dual athlete loves to go to her family. She feels that they are her biggest supporters and really wants to make them proud every day whether it be in a jersey or in the classroom. Her lacrosse coach, head coach Lindsay Delaney, speaks highly of her and the amount of hard work and dedication she puts not just into the sport, but into Rowan University as a whole.

“Calista specifically being a two-sport athlete…her attention to detail, her time management, her commitment to the university, all of those things are higher level than most general population students because her hours of commitment are so much longer,” coach Delaney said. “On top of her studies and that coming first, she also has committed to being excellent in both her sports, which she shows on the field. So I think credit deserved to Calista and others who are playing one sport, two sports, or track and field athletes who are competing all year-round for their level of commitment of excellence on and off the field.”

Looking at Burke’s day-to-day schedule, it seems pretty jam-packed, but for her, she seems to have it all figured out. While the dual athlete is in season, she will have lift for soccer twice a week and have practice which usually starts around 2 p.m. and goes until 4:30 p.m. During the lacrosse season, practice would also start at 2 p.m., but would end at 5 p,m. Both practices would be every day during the week, and would also have games on Wednesday nights and Saturdays. This leaves time for all of her classes to be held in the morning between lift and practice. On top of all of this, Burke still finds time to hold a job. She works usually one day a week, but has trouble not picking up shifts because she likes working, but ultimately knows she has a team and school to worry about.

“I’m such a busy bee!” Burke said with a laugh. “I need to be doing something all the time.”

With all of her time being eaten up by work, school, and the two teams, Burke would often find herself never saving any time for herself, especially in her first two years at Rowan. Now in her junior year, she prioritizes her time management to make time every week whether it be for an hour or more just to relax and take care of herself. Recently, Burke has been assigning her free time for Mondays so she is able to tune in to one of her favorite shows.

“Monday nights I save for The Bachelor,” Burke said. “That’s what I need. That’s my time to chill. For all athletes though, you have to put time aside for yourself. You have to get your stuff done so you can put time aside for yourself, but it is essential.”

It may seem like it’s a hard life to be a student-athlete, but if it were easy, then everyone would be doing it. Tyler Cannon as well as Calista Burke really show that it takes dedication, time, and sacrifice to not just hit a ball off of a bat or throw a ball into a goal but to be a teammate and a player who is counted on and trusted to deliver their best effort when needed and to leave it all out on the field when your number is called. 

“If you have a passion for your sport, you just have to love it because if you don’t you’re gonna maybe be miserable in college. Like this is something that you really have to put a lot of time and effort into, and if you’re willing to do that, I think you’re gonna have the best time ever…” Burke said.

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