Associate Sports Editor
College athletes balance the responsibilities of being a player and student. This double-life can bring about a variety of challenges, as well as provide lifelong benefits. Millersville University offers an array of sports endeavors, and therefore a large population of its students maintains this lifestyle.
Taiyana Goldsborough is a defensive player for the Millersville Lacrosse team and a freshman from Kent County highschool. She chose to attend Millersville as the university was close enough to her home in Maryland, and she received financial aid from both the school and the lacrosse program. She added, “LAX coaches sometimes don’t give out good scholarships, but MU is really good with financial aid.”
Regarding the responsibilities and challenges of being a student athlete one of Goldsborough’s primary complaints was not getting enough sleep. She mentioned this being due to her strenuous schedule which includes: lacrosse games, scrimmage or practice each lasting at least two hours every day, three wall balls a week, team meetings every Friday before practice, biweekly academic meetings, study hall four hours a week, assigned mental health journals which require weekly entries, and all freshman athletes have champs once a week to discuss health, mental health, and important information for students athletes.
She mentioned that on top of this already busy schedule, “we are still required to turn in work and do as well as any other student.” This expectation to succeed both as an athlete and student can be taxing and stressful.
“My calendar from the school store is my life saver!” This was Goldsborough’s response when asked how she balances being a student athlete. Furthermore she remarked that planning everything out is crucial.
Being a student athlete brings about many positives, including registering for classes first, receiving free gear, being in a team environment, and learning time management and self-discipline. “Game day is my favorite part of being a student athlete. Playing against other people and winning, it’s the most rewarding feeling. It’ll get exciting during fall ball and game days.”
When Goldsborough was asked what advice she would have for future student athletes she responded, “If you don’t love the sport then don’t play. You need to love the sport you do,” and ending with an oftentimes overlooked piece of advice, “Have fun.”
Freshman Track & Field athlete Kathrine Grohotolski competes primarily as a Javelin Thrower for Millersville University. She chose to attend the university because of the team atmosphere and great track program when compared to other PSAC schools. “I knew they would help me achieve my goals both athletically and academically. Millersville gives you things to work on here and help me do better.”
As far as responsibilities are concerned, Grohotolski mentioned having mindfulness in the locker room for mental health. This attitude applies not only towards herself, but also helping her teammates if need be. She adds that eating and sleeping well also plays into your mental health (alongside the physical benefits).
She mentions the importance of time management saying, “To be successful, you have to focus on practice when there, but focus on academics the other times.” This causes student athletes to learn what specifically to prioritize working on in each moment.
Moreover Grohotolski mentions a responsibility she hopes to have in the future, “There’s a board that decides funding for certain sports, and there are no student athletes on it. So a couple years ago they cut funding for some sports and coaches got very angry. I want to try and make a difference and join the board to get some student representation.”
One of the many positives Grohotolski takes away from being a student athlete is the friendships it creates. She mentions that they get to meet a variety of people through champs and in class settings. Meanwhile her study hall hours ensure that she has a set time to work on assignments.
Finally her advice for other student athletes includes, “Don’t procrastinate, listen to your coaches, and make time for self-care.”
Kaleigh Sasdelli is a goalkeeper for the Millersville Lacrosse team. She’s currently a freshman and chose the lacrosse program at Millersville due to the campus being close-to-home and having her major. She mentions that lacrosse clinics throughout her high school career often commented on the positive environment at Millersville, which helped confirm her decision.
One obligation Sasdelli listed that may be a surprise to some is that she is required to attend many fundraising and community service events. These take place largely in the off-season, but during the regular season as well. Additionally she remarks that staying healthy and on top of school work can be a hardship, especially when considering that they frequently miss classes for matches.
Sasdelli balances her life as a student athlete through time management and a schedule planner. “I don’t really hang out with people that much, except for my roommates and my team, and all the other times I’m in class or doing homework. It’s hard to balance clubs and friends, if that’s a priority for you.” Sasdelli added that the friends she has made through sports is one of the biggest positives, as it helps supplement the lack of time she has to meet people elsewhere.
Her favorite thing about being a student athlete is being able to take her mind off the weight of academics. Exercise helps relieve stress, and her role in the lacrosse team provides a hobby outside of going to class everyday.
The advice Sasdelli gave for future student athletes is to buy a calendar and manage their time in a serious manner. “I had the worst time management when I came here, and I soon learned I had to get my stuff together. Make sure you love the school too; you need to like the environment and it can be depressing if the environment doesn’t match you.” She ended her advice saying, “I take an hour or two every night to take care of myself,” and suggested other student athletes do the same.
Bret Howey was a member of the Men’s Golf team his freshman, sophomore, and junior years at Millersville, and graduated from the university over a year ago. He knew he wanted to play Golf in college, but also wanted to be a meteorology major. This left him with very few options in-state. After meeting the coach in his sophomore year of high school and being able to attend a school that was close to his hometown, he decided to commit to Millersville.
Like all of the student athletes mentioned prior, while he was a student time management was one of the biggest challenges. He also mentioned that competing in golf forced him down a set path both socially and academically. This was due to having few friends outside his sport and less time to complete assignments for his classes. “Sometimes you’d leave your room at 5a.m. and you wouldn’t get back until 10p.m. That’s when you would start your homework for the day.”
One positive Howey mentioned was having a community to immediately ingratiate into. “There’s not the challenge of making friends. I know that can probably be a challenge for a lot of people coming to college.” He also cited that having structure through sports was beneficial, albeit difficult. His favorite aspect overall was traveling and representing the school in various competitions.
Howey balanced being a student athlete by working together with teammates who he shared classes with, and when he originally attended the university looking to older teammates for advice. He urged that, “time management is key.”
In addition when asked how being a student athlete has helped Howey since graduating his first answer was having a good sense of time management. Also being a student athlete taught him how to interact with all types of people. This is because you don’t pick your teammates, but you must get along with or at the very least work well with your teammates. This skill carried over for him in the workplace as he obviously does not get to choose his coworkers.
Howey’s advice for future student athletes primarily centered around looking back and determining what he would do differently now that he has graduated. “The first bit of advice: find out who can help you when you need it, and find the right people to be close to. Be yourself and be happy with it. It’s gonna go quick, and if you’re not passionate about it, it’s not gonna be fun. Also nothing is locked in, hence why I didn’t make the team my last year, so try your hardest. You’re representing a huge school, but if you love it you’ll have fun with it.”