Before the sun has risen, the familiar sounds of that 6 a.m. alarm buzzes as a stern reminder you have to be at the courts very soon.
Maneuvering your way out of bed with a tight back or sore shoulder at the crack of dawn is not an easy feat.
The thought of chasing fuzzy yellow balls around the tennis court for two hours before classes, weights and the rest makes getting out of bed a challenge.
Eight weeks in and it hits you. Whether you are a freshman or senior, when mid-terms hit and practices start catching up on you, it’s easy to begin feeling low and wondering how you will survive the rest of the semester.
How am I going to survive? First mistake.
When you are overtired and stressed melodramatic language will start creeping into your vocabulary. The first thing you need to remember when you are feeling this way is that you are not a victim.
You chose to be part of this team and you are both lucky and privileged to be there. It is about that point in the semester where school starts mounting up, you are on the road a lot and homesick.
The reality is, you are behind. You are tired and you are still adjusting. But it is ok to be behind. You just have to learn how to manage it.
Complaining, moaning and feeling sorry for yourself is not productive and will not change anything. Embracing each day and accepting some will be better than others is a good place to start.
At this point in the semester keeping track of what is going on in your classes and the days things are due is crucial to making work doesn’t slip.
If you have spare time to get something done now that is due next week, do it, because I guarantee you something else will come up and you will be writing that paper the day it is due.
Keeping a notebook or journal and writing down to do lists for each day is something that will act as an aid to remind you what you need to do and maybe even some days, what time practice is.
If you feel yourself getting concerned about all the things you need to do writing it on paper is a way to transfer the stress from your brain to paper.
Laying it all out and crossing off what you have completed is more satisfactory than what you might think.
For you freshman or transfers, being in a new place and joining a new team can take an entire semester to adjust to.
Feeling connected to your team is extremely important in helping you manage other struggles being an athlete.
Ask questions, observe, and learn from your teammates, especially the seniors. They have been through it all. All the emotions, the homesickness, the injuries and the bad days.
Talking about how you feel or asking for advice is not a sign of weakness. I guarantee they have been there before.
Leaning on family and staying connected with them at this tune during the semester can be a real comfort to assure you nothing at home has changed.
Even though your life is changing on a daily basis, which can be both draining and overwhelming, it is nice to know everything is still the same at home.
Don’t wish the weeks away, or wait for a time that it will get easier, because it won’t. From here on in, more challenges will arise and you have to face them with an open mind and an open heart.
You will make mistakes, and you will learn from them. Be open to criticism and don’t take things personally. One of the last pieces of advice I would give for now is to remember, no matter how sore you are, how tired, exhausted, homesick and generally lost, every single one of these feelings makes you stronger and will help you grow as a person in the long run.
Don’t give in to the feelings that want to put you down. Remember the paperwork, the stress and the uncertainty leading up to how you got where you are and how many people wish to be where you are right now.
Journalist and and former Student Athlete Athena Chrysanthou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.