“I really love < insert favourite sport here >, but I can’t play on a team and go to school at the same time; my GPA will be terrible! I need to focus on my studies during my university years!”
I know far too many amazing athletes who have said this and then hung up their jerseys for good because they feared not being able to balance the workload that comes with a university education while playing on a sports team. It’s time to dispel this myth! Honestly, I believe playing sports while in university makes me a better student academically. But don’t just take my word for it! Meet Daniel, Carley, and Vanessa—three CMU Blazer athletes who know all about that Student-Athlete life.
Carley: Heyo, my name is Carley Matkowski, I am a second-year bachelor of arts student and currently on the women’s basketball team.
Daniel: Hello! My name is Daniel McIntyre-Ridd. I’m in my third year at CMU studying Communications—I also play on the CMU soccer and futsal teams.
Vanessa: Hello, my name is Vanessa Friesen! I am a first-year student studying psychology and I play volleyball.
What are the benefits of playing sports while in university?
Carley: There are so many amazing aspects of playing university sports! Being part of a community with like-minded individuals that are passionate about the sport you love, the advanced university level is also amazing to experience because it takes your dedication and commitment to a whole new level, and through that you get to grow as an athlete and person.
Daniel: You become super close with your teammates, which especially for rookies means you have a ready-made social circle, as well as academic help.
Vanessa: The best thing about playing volleyball while in university is that it’s a super easy and fun way to meet new people and make new friends. The team makes starting university a little more relaxed and less stressful because they’re very welcoming and know what you’re going through.
What has been the most difficult part of balancing your academic responsibilities and sports?
Carley: Personally, I think it would be harder to not play sports while doing my studies because then I would have time to procrastinate. When you play on a team you are a part of that team which means showing up early to practices, giving 100% of your effort and being committed to all games and tournaments. It truly teaches you how to manage your time in a responsible way where you can equally balance your studies and sports.
Daniel: I usually have to miss a few classes due to games vs teams from out of town, so the soccer team has set study days where we all gather to either get ahead or catch up on our workload.
Vanessa: The most difficult part of balancing practice and school is just having a smaller time frame to complete work. What I’ve been doing so far is as soon as I know I have an assignment or a book to read, I get right on it. I try not to worry and get stressed that I need to get it done.
Do you think playing sports in university affects your grades?
Carley: I do not think playing university sports affects your grades. There are thousands of reasons and distractions that can affect your grades; you are the boss of yourself and if you want to succeed than that is what you will do. Also, while being on a sports team you have to be passing all your classes and have a minimum GPA of 2.0, so technically, you are more motivated to pass your classes and do well!
Daniel: Yes, positively! Being able to take an hour away from hitting your head against a paper you can’t finish by getting your brain just focused on soccer is something I find super beneficial.
Vanessa: I played volleyball in high school and it didn’t affect my grades; I don’t see what makes university any different! I know many people who played sports throughout university and are doing well academically.
What are your athletic/academic goals for the 2018-2019 year?
Carley: This year I want to keep pushing my athletic and education abilities to their full potential. My goal is to work hard, never give up and always slay the day!
Daniel: Academics-wise, I’d like to keep my place on the Dean’s Honor Roll. For soccer, I believe we can win both the futsal and soccer championships!
Vanessa: My goals aren’t that big, but overall I just want to create a rhythm so that when I come back next year I will do a better job of managing my time and becoming more social. Because as a first-year student, right now I think I spend too much of my time in my room doing homework.
What does it mean to be a ‘Blazer’?
Carley: As soon as you step foot into CMU you instantly feel a part of the community. I thought leaving my high school I would never feel the same passion I had towards being a “Laker” anywhere else, but I was wrong. Soon after I became a Blazer! The community and love as a Blazer is incredible and I would never turn back! #lovethedove
Daniel: Being a Blazer means that you’re committed to achieve excellence both in high level sport for CMU and in academic standards.
Vanessa: I find that being a Blazer is almost comforting to me. The school colours are the same as my high school so I guess that’s why. But also it means that I have a whole school behind me when I play, they watch and cheer us on because they believe in us and want us to do our best. It’s like being part of a huge, diverse family.
Why should everyone come watch the Blazers in action?
Carley: “WOOOOHOOOOO YAAA, GO BLAZERS GO!” Does that sound like fun? Well you are right, it is! I encourage you to come out to all of the sport events to cheer on you CMU Blazers. We are a community and love seeing you there. We love the support and cannot wait to see you this year!
Daniel: We have a really dynamic, hardworking, attacking team that will be entertaining to watch even if the score is low.
Vanessa: Everyone should come watch because not only do we play for ourselves, we play for our school. With our school behind us at games, we know that we can overcome any obstacle that’s foolish enough to stand before us. Why? Because we are Blazers!