Experience an average day of what Patrick Ensmenger Experiences while studying Biology (Biomedical Studies) in the Honors Program at Arcadia University.
Many kids grow up dreaming of playing sports at the collegiate level as they watch their local team win homecoming, or sit in the stands at that big rival game that the entire town comes out to. But in college, the hard work isn’t just on the field. Athletes also strive to excel in the classroom.
Being a student-athlete takes a lot of time and effort to achieve success. Unlike many schools, Arcadia aims to support athletes in all aspects from the field to the classroom.
In my first season of lacrosse, I was not worried about how I would perform on the field or how much weight I could lift in the gym. Instead, I was worried about how I was going to manage my time. Luckily, the coaches shared their tips to help us do this. The first thing is trying to manage your class and practice schedule. Before the season starts, the coaches make it clear what the practice times will be. They also stress that it is more important to go to class instead of pushing it off if it interferes with the practice time. I have personally scheduled classes during practice time and have never been punished or penalized in any way. Coaches will even let you leave practice early if your class begins halfway through.
One of the biggest questions people ask is about missing classes for games. At the beginning of the semester, it is vital to work with your professor to inform them of the game schedule. For some classes such as labs, you can usually only miss one lab for the entire semester before you receive a failing grade, so it is important to be proactive instead of reactive. You can ask if there is another lab time. If there isn’t one, you should inform your coach of the situation and get excused from the game. They are more than understanding that school comes first.
The entire athletic department—from your trainer to Arcadia’s strength and conditioning coaches—is dedicated to supporting you in your athletic and academic achievements.Patrick Ensmenger
Managing time throughout the entire semester takes practice. Each person has their own way of dealing with these challenges, but I find it best to have an organized daily planner. Doing assignments on the bus or in the 20 minutes between classes can save you hours of time at night so that you can maintain a healthy sleep and dietary schedule.
As I said before, the entire athletic department—from your trainer to Arcadia’s strength and conditioning coaches—is dedicated to supporting you in your athletic and academic achievements. If you are struggling at any point during the semester, ask the Athletics staff what to do. If they don’t know, they will refer you to one of Arcadia’s many departments that specialize in those things.
In general, being a student-athlete at Arcadia is beyond my expectations. The dynamic of the small school provides a sense of community between teams that is hard to find anywhere else. Along with the top-of-the-class staff and resources, Arcadia has provided an opportunity for all athletes to succeed in the classroom and on the field.
Attending college is often described as a pivotal point in your life. It helps you discover the type of person you truly are and puts you on a career path for the rest of your life. Some of you are no longer living at home and sharing responsibilities with other people. Instead, you are an independent person directly responsible for every decision you make throughout your day.
Oftentimes students, including me, come to college and don’t realize the amount of work you have to do outside of academics. Simple tasks like making sure you eat healthy, exercise, and stay hygienic often slip past us.
So, how do you make sure that you are succeeding as a student while also succeeding as a person? The first thing is staying organized, and I don’t mean knowing where all of your belongings are—although that helps! When I was a high school student, I never saw the point of a daily planner or agenda book. They seemed almost pointless to me, a waste of space in my backpack. But now, I often say it’s the most important thing I have. With classes, homework, tests, clubs, and chores, it’s almost impossible to succeed at all your tasks for a semester without missing at least one important task. With a planner, not only do you maximize your time by having a plan for the day, but you’re able to look ahead and never miss anything you need to get done. It makes you look more mature and successful to others—and you’ll feel that way, too.
First-years tend to focus on—and stress about—taking college courses. Not knowing what they are like can be intimidating. Walking into my first classes ever at Arcadia was the same for me. As I sat down in the basement of Boyer Hall, my Chemistry professor explained what we needed to do to succeed. He said that every single day, you should study at least an hour for each class. Taking four classes, that adds up to 28 hours a week of just the minimum! So, is this true?
From my experience taking classes and experimenting with different ways to study, I have devised a work schedule that maximizes my time. These strategies might not work for everyone, so take this with a grain of salt. The first thing that I do is read the textbook and take notes before the lecture. In college, the material is explained by the professor, but it is a fast pass that doesn’t always allow you to grasp a complete understanding of it. Reading the material beforehand allows you to understand what’s being presented and focus more on what the professor is saying instead of trying to write down everything. I find that doing this allows me to ask more questions, which leads to a better understanding of the material as well as keeps me on track for exams.
Next, I write index cards on all the information before exams. My peers consider this “old-fashioned” and question its effectiveness, but I have found writing index cards helps me retain information faster than typing it on a computer. You never have to worry about computer or internet issues, which will occur from time to time.