Somebody wise once told me, “The secret to life is to have a good balance”. When it comes to academics and athletics I have found this to be extremely true.

Statistics have shown that those who participate in sports perform better academically, have a more positive attitude, have excellent attention spans and overall have a healthier mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. In my experience, all these things have proven to be true. Currently, I am participating on the CMU Blazers women’s soccer team for my second year and it has greatly added to my academic experience. In order to keep a good balance between athletics and academics there a few things that I have found to be helpful.


CMU Blazers on stop for a group photo while traveling to a tournament in Thunder Bay, ON

The keys to having a good balance are time saving tricks, good technique, and strategies. Over and over again, time management and planning has saved my life. Writing down due dates for school assignments, games, and practices has helped me to plan ahead in order to accomplish everything to my best capacity.

Since being both in academics and athletics takes up most of my time, procrastination is somehow eliminated. Have you ever noticed when things get super busy you somehow seem to be more on top of things and manage to get everything done more efficiently? Well balancing these two things kind of feels like that. Because you know you only have a certain amount of time to get things done between classes and practice/games, you do not have any other option than to get your homework done, so you better sit down and focus!

By exercising through practices and games, it gives you the energy and determination to persevere and get things done. Often when I’m tired and feeling completely unmotivated, I’ll think of a practice or a game where there’s only three more push-ups to do or only three more minutes on the clock and you know you need to give it all you’ve got because it will be worth it in the end. These thoughts give me the last little boost of energy I need to get my assignments done.

Also, when in doubt, take a 20-minute power nap. Do not underestimate the power you get from a 20-minute nap—those things do wonders and give you the energy you need to keep going.

Practice and games can be a great break from studying where you can relax, socialize, and focus on something completely different. This has always helped me put things back into perspective and go back to studying with a clear and refreshed mind.

Lastly, do not be afraid to admit when you are struggling. Take advantage of the resources around you including tutors, programs, and the other people on your team. Remember that you and your team are in this together. In my experience, your team becomes like your family and they are always happy to help where they can.

Athletics and academics do not have to be competing for all your attention. With the right balance, they can enhance each other. Christine Sinclair explains that those who are student athletes develop the “5 C’s” (competence, confidence, connections, character, and caring). This will carry out into your academic life and will help you thrive! University is a great time to try new things and explore new and old hobbies. So, if you can make a team and enjoy playing the game, why not give it a try?

Emilie Roussis is one of CMU’s Student Ambassadors

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