Many students struggle to balance the demands of school with their daily needs and social lives. Others, such as student athletes Rachel Berman and Kashrell Lawrence, work part-time jobs and multiple practices into their weekly schedules. They excel not in spite of all their extra-curricular duties, but because of them.
“Playing sports has absolutely made me more productive,” says Berman, a fourth-year student on the King’s women’s rugby team. She says having a structured schedule means she knows exactly when she has to get her schoolwork done.
Berman has kept up her strict schedule even after the two-month rugby season ended in October. “I just maintain my time management even after the season is over, so I keep filling up my time with things that would take the same amount of time as rugby. It helps me maintain my structure and focus.”
Berman’s typical week during the season was busy, but she always left weekends free for social time, catching up on homework or commuting to rugby games. The rugby team practiced three times a week during the season, spent another day on fitness training and played one game a week.
During the fall semester, Berman also worked at the King’s campus bookstore for five hours a week and as a French Language Assistant for elementary school students for eight hours a week. This semester, Berman is working with the Dalhousie Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences instead of the King’s bookstore, so she still has a hectic weekday schedule.
Lawrence is a fourth-year student on the Dalhousie Tigers men’s basketball team. “Being an athlete has kept me structured 100 per cent,” he says. “I don’t know what I would do with my days. I would watch a lot of Netflix. Otherwise you’re just kind of lazy. The season goes till mid-March, and by then it is exam time, so you are able to maintain that schedule.”
Lawrence’s athletic schedule is even busier than Berman’s, with practice every weekday for two hours in the evening and games most Friday and Saturday nights, in addition to frequent two-hour team fitness training sessions in the North End.
Lawrence also works at the Dalplex customer service desk for six or seven hours a week. Lawrence explains that he is able to get a lot of work done during this time, especially the days last semester when he opened the Dalplex at 5:30 in the morning. “Most people don’t come in till 9 a.m. so I try to do three hours of schoolwork from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. before people come in, and then it gets really busy. If I have work to do, and the gym is empty, then I will just do it.”
As a varsity athlete, Lawrence spends a lot of time travelling. He completes much of his schoolwork, “on the bus to games, or waiting in the airport…Or after 8 p.m. on weekdays, on Sundays. I just find the time.”
Berman and Lawrence both stressed they are not the only collegiate athletes with part time jobs. Berman offered advice for athletes who are having trouble finding the balance needed to be successful in all aspects of their university career.
“Time manage and prioritize. When you are playing a sport you know when you are going to be busy, and you only have certain pockets of time when you are free, so you know when you are going to be working on school. If you want to expand your horizons, sports are great for that too.”