Due to the fact that I am indeed terrified about being canceled by the population of student-athletes we have here at Goshen, let me reiterate that this is an opinion piece.
We're adults and college is hard. There's no getting around that.
The main things that drew me to Goshen College were the class sizes and the relationships students were able to create with the professors and staff.
So, when I got here and the main thing I noticed from my cohort was a lack of engagement, you all can assume I was pretty upset. I struggled.
I had my mind set on leaving after the fall semester. I didn’t go to classes and I spent most of my time hanging out with friends and avoiding my school work.
Here it was: this part of my life that I had been looking forward to and I hated it. When I got tired of crying on the phone with my mom (and I think she got tired of it too), I decided to ask for help.
I talked to professors, connected with an academic coach and used campus resources.
You’re probably rolling your eyes by this point and laughing about how easy I’m making this sound, but it is that easy. Put aside your feelings of shame and just ask! And after you ask or get advice, DO IT! I promise you, the people at this college want to see you succeed (for the most part).
The thing is, I’m not an athlete. I never have been. One could say I have no idea how hard it is to balance a sport and academics.
You’re right, but I do know a few things: we’re adults and college is hard. There’s no getting around that. Classes will still be held, the world will continue to spin and you still have homework due tomorrow.
If this sounds borderline rude, it may be. I am a firm believer in tough love. Sometimes you just need someone to tell it like it is, and if you won’t listen to those academic alert emails, at least listen to this.
This school is small and classes are too, so when you don’t do the work, people notice — and yes, even your peers. There are people here that genuinely want to be here and are paying a lot to do so, and you have a full ride and can’t even show up to an 11 a.m. class?
So, now that I’ve told you off like I’m your mother, let me offer some solutions. I also want to clarify that there are a lot of athletes who are working really hard, and I commend you for that.
First, this is also not a problem only athletes are afflicted with. It’s just a pattern I have noticed and wanted to focus this piece on.
Second, the school as a whole needs to do a better job of integrating athletics and academics, whether that is through academic importance training, hiring coaches who value academic performance, or being more selective about the athletes they’re recruiting.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your academic abilities and mental health are just as important as your performance on the field or court, so take care of yourself.
Hopefully, you keep this article in mind entering the next semester and do some reflecting over break.
Remember, people want you here, and you have what it takes!