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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Student Athlete Stereotypes

Y'all may remember a post I did on Southern Stereotypes a while back. I was really fed up with the way people continually perceived me simply based on where I was from, and wanted to set the record straight.

I've noticed over the years that people are starting to respect student-athletes more in some regards, but less in others. Recently, it was discovered that basketball and football players at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were all "African Studies" majors. Cool, right? The problem was, the classes that made up this major did not exist. The exposé further discovered that many of these student-athletes could not even read on a third grade level and were attending one of the most prestigious state universities in the country.

Upon hearing about this story, I was very disgruntled. The "dumb jock" mantra had just proven itself right, yet again.

However, I don't believe that this notion of a "dumb jock" is actually true.

I am a swimmer. During the regular season, I get up and go to practice. Then, I go to class and back to practice. This is the average routine for a student-athlete. Wake up, train, learn, train, learn, sleep. Repeat.

Although athletics do take a huge chunk of time out of my day, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because I am a student athlete, I can do my homework on a bus, I can communicate with my teachers that I'll miss a lesson or need to make up a test, and I can utilize the help of my fellow teammates and classmates.

These are all important. But the most important thing I've learned as a student athlete is how to manage my time.

Often, people believe that all student-athletes are really just athletes who somehow walk out with a diploma. They cheat their way through classes, or they just don't attend.

This may be the case for other schools. But for me, I go to practice, and I go to class. I do all of my work and I work with my teachers to alter the schedule as I need to. If I have an out of town meet and will be gone all weekend, that is no excuse for me to turn my work in late unless it is a special circumstance. I do my work on the bus there and home, and often sacrifice precious nap time (student athletes love nap time) to do work as I need to.

People forget that student-athletes essentially have two full-time jobs, while the average student just has one.

So, the next time you write someone off as a "dumb jock" because they showed up to class with wet hair or super messy homework, try to remember that they have been up for hours, working, and will be up again, putting in exhausting amounts of labor to represent the school that you both attend.

xx, Victoria
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xx, Victoria