Keeping UP the Life of a Student-Athlete: 10 Struggles of Returning to Student-Athlete Life

It’s that time of the year again when college athletes struggle to get back into the student-athlete life. While it can be so much fun once you settle in, the struggle of balancing two identities seems twice as hard as the first few weeks in UP. Here’s the top ten (of way too many) struggles of getting back in the swing of things:

  1. Learning how to wake up early again.

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If you got an early morning class, being up before the sun doesn’t really get any easier, no matter how many years you’ve been doing it. After a summer of sleeping in, waking up at the crack of dawn after a night of training and studying is nearly impossible. Let’s say you got a 7 A.M. class, you live an hour away from UP, and you have another hour allowing yourself to get everything ready for school and training.

Before heading to sleep, you desired to put your alarm on to something like this…

5 A.M. (congratulations, you’re just in perfect time to get ready… brekkie time!),

5:15 A.M. (not bad to wake up this time, now move!),

5:30 A.M. (well, you can wake up this time if you have already prepared your things for school and training before you headed for sleep last night, and now, all you have to do is to run fast as the breakfast is getting cold already, plus you may also need to take a shower, so you better hurry up really!),

6:00 A.M. (ok, you gotta be a “hokage” or “the flash” to get everything ready – but seriously, you should skip breakfast and probably skip taking a shower as well, and expect that you’ll still be late in class no matter what! Hello NCR traffic! *sigh*).

Although in a very unfortunate event, you ended waking up 30 minutes before your class – YOU’RE DEAD!

2. Adjusting to intense, competitive workouts.

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Doing core training feels the same as warming up for the first few days back in the dance hall. When your coach says “let’s go!”, you know you’re about to experience a lot of pain with very few result. Mag-ready ka na para sa madugong pawis na training! Also, do not ever forget to stay hydrated! If you could put some lemon in your water, that’s better! (para madaling sumexy at laging fresh! *wink* )

3. Remembering how to do science and math in training again.

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When you’re doing planks for core training and your coach explains a lot of things before doing the actual exercise, your coach would say…”your planks should feel relaxed with the head and neck, now bend your elbows 90 degrees directly under the shoulders (slightly wider than shoulder-width apart) like you’re about to do a push-up, and rest rest your weight on your forearms, ground the toes into the flow and squeeze the glutes to stabilize the body, your legs should be working in the move too; be careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees, neutralize the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond the hands, your head should be in line with your back, hold the position for 1 minute without compromising form or breath.”

Hayyy… ang daming explanation, planks lang naman ang gagawin, hindi nalang i-demo at gayahin. Kakayanin pa ba ng acads ko ‘to eh so much explanation going on already?? (Chareng!) Not only school is squeezing your brain, practice is, too. Though at the end of the day, I know your coach just wants you to work efficiently and effectively. *two thumbs up*

4. Dealing with aches and pains.

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You forgot you need to set aside a chunk of time everyday to ice your injury/ies, stretch, or figuring out how to roll out of bed when you’re sore. When you have those Kinesio tapes on the injured part of your body, you doubt your classmates know how much effort goes into dealing with all the pain. Suddenly, those days of summer vacations feel really, really distant.

Tapos papaluin ka pa ng classmate/s mo sa part na injured ka when you tried to inject humor sa class… “Girl, masakit diyan, injured ako, don’t me.”

5. Walking to and from after a hard workout.

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Photo grabbed from Wandering Weekend Warrior

In the summer, working out is followed by recovering. During the school year, you have to climb stairs or run across campus to get to class on time. Wew.

6. Putting the student back in student-athlete life.

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Photo grabbed from Public School Review

10 A.M. isn’t early. But 10 A.M. is an extremely hard hour to endure after you’ve already done last night’s 5-6 hours of soul-crushing rehearsals and training. Getting through class and the work that follows it is undeniably one of the hardest student-athlete adjustments every single day of the season.

7. Letting go of your promise to “actually look presentable” for class this year.

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Your hair will never dry for class. Your professors may not recognize you if it did. Now that the first few weeks have settled down and you’re cheerleading/cheerdancing in new athletic gear, you’ve likely accepted this as your new 24/7 wardrobe.

8. Setting aside enough money to feed yourself.

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That cheerleader’s appetite is back and stronger than ever and any income you had during the summer has likely halted or been reduced. The struggle of keeping up with caloric needs while being economical has returned.

9. Studying after your practice of the day/night.

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Attempting to get all your homework done without letting your head hit the pillow is the hardest part of the day, especially when those workouts are taking an extra heavy toll on your body.

10. Remembering it won’t be this hard forever.

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You’ll get there. You will graduate even on your 5th or 6th year of your life as an Isko/Iska (or wherever educational institution you are studying at). As long as you strive hard for the best. I’m sure you will. One day you’ll be back in shape and these struggles will feel normal. In the mean time, keep pushing through and continue embracing your student-athlete life.

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Photo taken by Miguel Mondragon

Walang espesyal na pagtrato ang mga propesor para sa mga estudiyanteng-atleta ng UP tulad ko, dahil kahit kaming mga “estudiyanteng-atleta ng bayan” ay nag-aaral ng normal at hindi nabibigyan ng espesyal na atensiyon o espesyal na klase, dahil lahat ng mga mag-aaral sa aking unibersidad ay pantay-pantay. Kahit sabihin pa nilang “summa” ka na… sumasampung taon sa UP, as long as you have the courage to give your heart and brain to whatever you are doing, even in trainings or academics, one day, you’d be successful. There’s so much to be thankful for studying in UP and I also feel so much proud whenever I represent my alma mater in competitions we join inside or outside the country (*goose bumps*). Feel privileged. BAlways be inspired and motivated to achieve extraordinary things. PADAYON mga estudiyanteng-atleta ng bayan! Taas kamao nating isigaw… UP Fight!!! 🙂 

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Photo taken by Miguel Mondragon

 

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