The tough life of a student-athlete

By: Julia Garcia June 25,2018 - 11:12 PM

BACK-TO-SCHOOL FEATURE

Another academic year has started. For student-athletes, it’s back to another year of hard work.

But it’s rare for student-athletes to complain about how tough it is to balance studies and training. Most of them know very well how to deal with the pressure and thrive in doing so.

“Being a student-athlete creates a sense of pride within yourself because you are able to manage tasks at the same time,” said 20-year-old Paula Maninang, a former University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Lady Jaguars team captain, who recently graduated Magna Cum Laude.

“It is not an easy task. It takes discipline, determination, hard work, perseverance, and proper time management. But all the values I have learned in sports make it easier for me to balance my academics and extra-curricular activities at the same time.”

But there are really times that the pressure takes its toll on student-athletes. So how do they cope with the stress?

“My family and friends have become my inspiration in achieving my goals because they are always there supporting me all the way. With my best support system, I have never felt that I was down and alone in all my challenges,” Maninang, who has been a student-athlete for 12 years, said.

There are also some student-athletes who take on a different challenge like Lucky Ecarma, a councilor in the University of San Carlos’ (USC) Supreme Student Council and a member of USC’s men’s basketball team.

He shared his thoughts on balancing his responsibilities.

“To be honest, being a member of the varsity and the student council at the same time is a tough task. The responsibilities that I have to shoulder from both organizations really challenges me and pushes me. But since I decided to pursue this road, I must strive hard to balance being a varsity and a councilor well,” he said.

Again, proper time management and planning is what it takes to succeed.

“I think it’s really important to have a sense of self-discipline in order to do well in both the varsity and the student council. And luckily, that value has been instilled into me by being a member of the varsity,” the 21-year-old Ecarma said.

Struggle is real

Despite all the hard work they put every single year in the varsity team, student-athletes are oftentimes not given enough credit.

In fact, they are sometimes criticized as some see it unfair that these chosen few get to study for free while others need to pay the needed tuition fees.

“We feel bad because we work hard for the scholarship. We don’t sit around in comfort while we are given free education. While we also hear people say that we ‘depend on the fact that we are varsity,’ they don’t know that we go through so much struggle and hardships just to study,” said 21-year-old Cris Jezza Estose, a multi-awarded libero of the USC Lady Warriors.

Though they hear these complaints from other students, they manage to stay focused on the task at hand and stay humble, something they have learned from years of competing in their respective sports.

So what keeps them fighting for their schools every year? It is the thought that one day, after all the blood and sweat they shed for their schools, they would be able to walk up the stage to receive their diplomas.

Thus is the greatest award for a student-athlete.

“I feel proud accomplishing all the challenges that is brought about by being a student-athlete, which blossomed into achievements in the end,” Maninang said.

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