Today’s post is from one of Wrestling with Your Destiny’s appendices. It has to do with my everyday life as a college wrestler and I feel it is as good as time as any to help younger wrestlers see what they are getting themselves into by wrestling in college.
From Wrestling with Your Destiny:
A DAY IN THE LIFE
I want to describe what an average day in my life was as a college wrestler. It will give you an idea as to whether or not you want to make that gigantic commitment. However, the title of this appendix is a bit misleading. While many days are similar, almost never are they exactly the same. A match day is different than the day before, as a day in October is different from a day in March.
The most fundamental aspect for college athletes is time management. Sports, specifically wrestling, take up vast amounts of time. You could easily get lost in the web that is wrestling and have no time for anything else. Living on your own for the first time can turn into a disaster without a plan to succeed. I recommend keeping a detailed calendar or planner, in which you list everything that you have to do each day. That way you can balance the most important aspects of your life including academics, athletics, and social.
Many athletes and students succumb to the temptations of constant partying in their first year of college. Nothing proactive can get accomplished in that scenario with respect to grades and particularly athletics. Most institutions require freshmen members of sports’ teams to attend an organized study hall for a few hours each week. At RIC, if a student-athlete’s GPA was over a 2.5 in the first semester, they were no longer required to attend. It was a good system that forced me to put time into the most important part of a college career, which is academics. While I hated the idea at the time, it turned out to be very beneficial for both my grades and for wrestling too. Remember you are a student-athlete, not an athlete-student. Setting aside six hours a week for school work is a plan you should put in place for yourself, even if your institution does not.
Here is how I typically divided up the time spent in various activities.
Arguably, the most vital part of the day is the eight hours of sleep an athlete needs. Practice ran about two and a half hours daily, and was normally preceded and/or followed by one to two hours of workout time on my own, totaling about, four hours of training per day. During our school’s winter break, we had double sessions, and trained five to six hours a day. The typical student-athlete has three hours of class time each day. Combined with sleep and training, that accounts for fifteen of the twenty-four hours. As a senior in my house I spent at least an hour preparing my food and then another eating it. When you are a freshman, chances are you will have a meal plan through your college but the time spent in the cafeteria will be comparable to living on your own. During winter break when I remained on campus to train, I would also take a nap, watch a movie, or read for two to three hours. However, when classes were being conducted I would spend those hours doing homework. This leaves only four or five hours which I spent on the phone (with my girlfriend mostly), on the computer, and relaxing with friends.
My days during wrestling season were not exactly fun in the sense that I was not doing what many other college students do, i.e. getting drunk and/or high and staying up all hours of the night partying. I chose a different path; in my opinion, a better one. Those typical fun college times are usually forgotten in the blur of what is the college experience. My time in college was not littered with alcohol and drugs, but with hard work, dedication, determination, and sacrifice. I am very grateful for that.
During my freshman season at Rhode Island, on two occasions, I made the mistake of getting drunk. I cannot remember one thing about either of those nights now. Yet I know I will never forget the feelings of anguish after my season ended. Had I let getting drunk become a habit, I would not have been able to continue to train properly, compete consistently, and succeed in wrestling.