Written by Samantha Bersett
Albert Dorman Honors College
Anyone who is or has been a student at NJIT knows that you’re in for a difficult but rewarding four years, and my time has definitely been just that. Being a Biomedical Engineering major in the Albert Dorman Honors College and a student-athlete, I’ve had to learn how to balance all of my work without falling off the wagon. Unless you are involved in athletics yourself, a lot of people don’t get to see an athlete’s side of college life and how busy it can be. I am a goalkeeper on the Division I Women’s Soccer Team here at NJIT and I’m here to share with you the life of a female athlete!
A typical daily schedule usually starts at 6:00 a.m. when we wake up for a 6:30 practice. Once practice ends (around 8:30), some people go straight to class, while those who have time go to a lifting workout for an hour. At 9:30, practice is over for the day and we all head to breakfast. After breakfast, some people have 10:00 class while others go back to shower and get ready for classes later in the day. Any time in between classes is spent showering, eating, squeezing in some homework or study hall, or, if we’re lucky, taking a nap. When classes are finally over for the day, we begin working on homework. Depending on how late we have class, that might not start until 9:00 at night. We spend the night working on homework or relaxing if we don’t have any, and then get to bed so we can wake up and do it all over again.
Needless to say, our days are pretty jam-packed with activities, but something that is really cool about NJIT and the athletic community here is that they do a lot to help us out when trying to juggle the college coursework as well as our sport. Freshman year, every student-athlete is required to do 6 hours of study hall each week. We have to swipe in using our student IDs in the Learning Center so that our hours get logged, and then we swipe out when we are done for the day. These 6 hours force you to be productive and get your work done, which really helps with teaching us good time management skills to use throughout the rest of college. We even do study hall when we go out of town! Depending on if the trip is just for one day or for the whole weekend, we always have some time dedicated to homework. On shorter trips, we do about one hour of study hall on the bus where the coaches tell us to put our phones away so we can focus on our work. During longer weekend trips, we usually fit in about two hours each day in the hotel lobby or meeting rooms. Schoolwork is a priority and coaches always make sure that we’re keeping up with our work which is extremely important, especially during the season.
Playing a sport requires a lot of travel. Especially now that we are in the Atlantic Sun Conference, we play a lot of our games down south. Road trips are always so much fun with the team! It gives us all time to bond on the bus or plane ride and explore new places we may have never been! Usually when we go away for a weekend trip, we always try to plan a day or night where we do something as a team (other than play soccer). For instance, we went to South Carolina one year and we spent a day exploring downtown Charleston. When we went to Florida this past season, we got to go to the beach for a day and spend some time with family members who made the trip down as well. It’s always fun to spend time off the field together and take our minds off of schoolwork and soccer.
Being a student-athlete is definitely challenging, but it is also an awesome experience. While it can be stressful and super busy at times, it’s so rewarding getting to play the game you love with teammates that become some of your best friends!