Just graduated! Now what?

By Fort Hays State University on May, 18 2023

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How to Succeed as a Student-Athlete After High School Graduation 

Student-athletes are heralded as some of the coolest people on campus. If your post-graduation plans include four years in a collegiate sports program, the way you manage your days can truly impact the trajectory of your life. In order to make sure you set the right foundation, consider the following tips.  

Discipline: The Key to Balancing Academics and Athletics 

When you're dealing with sports and academics, times will come when neither option seems desirable. When it's cold outside, the idea of staying in a warm bed might seem better than heading to the gym for a training session. When there's an off-campus party happening, you might be tempted to procrastinate on your studies in order to enjoy the festivities. Discipline is the choice to do what you know you need to do in spite of your feelings.  

You don't build discipline instantly. Discipline requires you to consistently make the right choices in order to see results. If you're not disciplined already, just focus on taking it one decision at a time. Start small. If you say that you're going to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to train, set your alarm clock the night before, get lots of rest and get up when the time comes. As you remain consistent in your ability to be disciplined, you'll reap the benefits.   

Time Management Skills 

In addition to maintaining a high level of discipline, time management is an important skill to master. When you're a student-athlete, there's a lot of pressure to perform at high levels. In order to lighten the load of pressure, it's best to develop a well-rounded life. As a student-athlete, the concept of being well-rounded might seem impossible. Thankfully, with good time management skills and discipline, you can build a well-rounded life.  

Seeing a mental health therapist, watching a favorite television show and enjoying free time with your friends are all activities you can include in order to help you with balancing academics and athletics. The balance helps you avoid burnout. Set a timer before you start a task. This will help you keep track of the time. The best way to accomplish it all is by making the most of your time and sticking to a realistic schedule.  

Mentors and Wise Counsel 

If you want to get directions, never ask a person who hasn't been where you're trying to go. If you want to succeed as a student-athlete, get advice from the program's alumni or through student-athlete resources at school. Talk to your coaches to get connections. Social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram make it really easy to follow successful student-athletes who graduated from similar programs. Follow their process online to see how they did it. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. If you notice that a lot of your friends aren't motivated to attend classes, study or be responsible and limit the time you spend with them. You have to remain focused and surround yourself with people who are determined to succeed.  

Physical Development 

While it's tempting to binge-watch a television series or eat pizza and fries every night, always remember that your physical and mental health matter. What you eat directly impacts how you think and feel. This will also play a role in how well you're able to perform. Make sure you're consuming lots of water and nutrient-rich foods. According to the Sleep Foundation, it's best to get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. Never rely on loads of caffeine in order to perform well. Instead, get lots of rest. Taking care of your physical body will ensure that you're prepared to perform in the classroom and during games.  

When you're a student-athlete, you're held to a higher standard. Is it easy? No. However, it's up to you to focus on mastery. If you take a look at some of the world's greatest athletes, they focused on personal mastery. When they did that, they were able to experience massive amounts of success. Congratulations on your graduation! Now, it's time to get to work. 

Fort Hays State University


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