Rutgers overcomes academic stress
Ninety-eight percent of student athletes fail to make it to the pro level in their respective sports, according to NCAA.org, which is why their academics are that much more crucial to their life after college.
Like everyone else, when college comes to an end and the pro level does not come calling, they are forced to integrate themselves into the real world.
For any student athlete, managing classes is a difficult task and the Rutgers swimming and diving team is no exception, practicing six days a week, two times a day.
“Academics is extremely important to our program, and it always will be,” said head coach Phil Spiniello. “We pride ourselves on our team having a great GPA. We had a 3.4 GPA, [and] we want to keep it that way. We make academic goals the same way we do with our swimming and diving goals. As a program, we focus on it and take the necessary steps to keep our academics at a high level.”
The swimmer and divers alternate between practice and classes, which can be draining trying to balance academics with their sports.
“It’s hard if you have classes right after practice and you’re tired from practice. It’s hard, but in the end, it’s worth it,” said senior captain Brogan Lee, a double major in exercise science and psychology.
There are days when senior psychology major and education minor Greta Leberfinger wakes up and is not in the mood to go to class, but realizes she must.
“The worst is getting out of bed when I have to go to class,” Leberfinger said. “Knowing that I have goals in personal and career life and that this is what’s going to help me get there with a good GPA. So getting myself to go to class today is much smaller of a task.”
The team has tutors if it needs extra help to stay on top of its classes, which are helpful having taken the class with the professor and knowing what the class entails.
Time management is just as important in balancing academics as it is with practice. The Scarlet Knights must meet with academic advisers to plan their classes, and they also have to be efficient when doing homework and studying at night.
“It’s really important because I’m a procrastinator, so I have to make sure I am getting everything done on time,” Lee said. “It’s important to keep track of everything.”
They must be able to plan what to study for and how much time to dedicate to each subject when studying as well as doing their homework.
They also have to be able to get enough sleep to operate and face the rigorous everyday schedule of being a student athlete.
“I’m impressed with how they manage their time, and that is the number one factor in being a division one student athlete,” Spiniello said.
As two seniors, Lee and Leberfinger have been able to adjust to the academics, and now, it is their job to show the underclassmen the way and to help them if they were to need it.
“Showing the younger ones we can do it and we were in their shoes at one point helps them think they can do it,” Leberfinger said. “Being there if they need help and pointing them in the right direction is now our job.”
For updates on the Rutgers swimming and diving team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.