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By Nathan Brantingham
Delaney Gatine is a sophomore enrolled at Principia College and like most students, she has an incredibly busy schedule. She is engaged in Mediation, is on Howard House board, is the vice president of the CSO, and is working on her leadership certificate. On top of all this, she is an All-Conference member of the varsity Softball team. Despite all of her many activities, she maintained a 4.0 GPA last spring during her Softball season. She attributes this success to her own personal motivation to be academically successful, as well as her knowledge that academic success is attainable through hard work and commitment.
Despite being a small liberal arts college in rural Illinois, students like Gatine are abundant on our campus and are amazingly successful both academically and athletically.
Many sports teams were recognized for their academic success last year. Our Women’s Basketball team was ranked 13th overall in all of Division 3 athletics in cumulative GPA. In order to achieve these accomplishments members of these teams have had to learn many valuable skills in order to cope with the busy schedule of being a student-athlete at Principia College.
Over the course of an academic year many students will play at least one sport, and, on top of other clubs and activities, give 18 to 20 hours of their week to athletics. At a college as busy as Principia, this time commitment can make it difficult to keep up academically. So how do our athletes continue to achieve such academic success?
According to Daniel Hoffman, a junior on the Men’s Basketball team, the key is time management. Understanding the necessity of finishing your assignments despite being tired after a 2-hour practice, he says that you will still have to “push through and get in a couple more hours of homework.” Many student-athletes share this same sentiment echoing the idea that the term student-athlete requires that the student aspect be first and foremost, and prioritizing academics is a large part of being a successful college student. The Women’s Volleyball team has the same outlook, having a required study hall for all freshmen during their fall semester to emphasize how important academics is to the college experience. Members of the team feel this freshman study hall was a very positive experience, both due to its academic support and the opportunity to make the study-hall a team bonding experience.
Another reason for Principia Athletes’ academic success is the help of understanding faculty. Senior Softball player Lauren Daugherty remarked that, “when you are open and honest about your various commitments and what you need to do, everyone is understanding and supportive.” This is one of the great benefits of living and learning in such a small community; the love and respect that members of the Principia community have for one another allows us to be successful in all aspects of our lives.
The large portion of the student body being athletes is also a great resource, as finding a study buddy who is an athlete is a great way to help manage your time. Having a team who holds each other accountable for academic success provides a lot of motivation for staying on top of everything.
Despite the difficulty of balancing many different activities at Principia College senior Nikki Matters, a member of the Women’s Volleyball and Basketball teams, says that “it sort of feels like life training because you have to manage your time in life and things get thrown at you that you have to juggle.” This development of life skills and balancing responsibilities is a great lesson that is being taught at Principia College. Judging by the wide array of academic awards and accolades racked up last year, Principia is doing a great job of making sure that its athletes are prepared for their futures, no matter what form they take.