Balancing school and life on the road
One of the most overlooked aspects of being a student athlete is the added pressures of trying to balance a commitment to sports, as well as finding time to study while constantly at practice or on the road for away games.
Trojan teams play an away game almost every weekend, and while some are close to home, others can be in Edmonton, Briercrest, Vancouver or beyond. Travel is normally by bus, so student athletes have to be committed to balance their studies, social lives, work and their game.
“We are student athletes and not athlete students,” said first-year business administration student Christine Charlemagne, who plays middle on the women’s volleyball team.
The women’s volleyball team will play a total of 11 road games this season, including a span of five straight games away from the friendly confines of the SAIT gymnasium.
Charlemagne said it takes dedication, time management and encouragement from her instructors to maintain her grades. School work accompanies her on bus trips – where it’s often cramped, difficult to concentrate and exhausting.
“You need patience, you need space, it’s hard to focus,” said Charlemagne, while describing the difficulties of studying while on the road. “[Then] it’s go, go, go – volleyball time.”
Originally from Manitoba, travel is familiar to women’s hockey player Sarah Williams. She said she regrettably skips the occasional class for hockey, but said it’s a good trade-off and instructors are very understanding.
“Lunch hours I have my books open,” said 19-year-old Williams, in her first-year of Medical Radiologic Technology (MRT) studies. “I study as much as I can.”
In addition to hockey practice, games and school, she also teaches swimming lessons on Sundays – her only day off. As a result, she has a humble social life but above-average grades.
“I’m an [A-] student and for the program I’m in, that’s pretty good,” Williams said. “I’m going to have a great, substantial job when I’m 21-years-old. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Right-wing Trojans hockey player and first-year power engineering student Scott Carpenter said some team members maintain very high GPAs. Unlike Williams, he has to allocate his own time wisely because of his busy social life.
“We spend a lot of time in the rink, [but] outside as well for good causes,” said Carpenter, who has been involved in numerous charity events.
An added difficulty when he travels for away games is that he cannot ask his instructors questions face-to-face.
“I’m here for school,” said Carpenter. “Hockey is a bonus.”
No matter what challenges are associated with heavy road-trip schedules, Trojan athletes constantly demonstrate the ability to perform in the classroom, and the field of competition.