Balancing Academics and Athletics
Sept. 16, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - Classes have started, students are back to their studies and the comings and goings of Auburn University are back in full swing as the long days of summer are now at an end. Institutions of higher education all over the country have returned to what they have been established for; the endeavor for academic achievements on which their foundations have been built.
And on the athletic side of a university, student-athletes are once again pushing to become better on the court, field or pool. However, even though their athletic ability may have brought them to this point, it is the student in student-athlete that will always take precedence during the years spent in school.
For many athletes, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to keep up with not only their obligations on the team, but with their responsibilities as students. It can sometimes be a struggle to balance the two commitments and that struggle is no stranger to junior Alyssa Davis.
As member of the Tiger volleyball team, Davis has come to understand there is more to college than playing volleyball. It is also about being successful in the classroom.
"As a freshman, I was still in the high school mentality of just going to class and studying the night before a test, which did not help me out academically at all," Davis said. "But, in my sophomore year, I realized that I have to start managing my time and study a little bit every day instead of the night before the test."
This new insight for Davis, of Oakland Park, Fla., helped her move from the bottom of the class to the top in courses such as statistics and French. Her improvements are also being seen by the team and coaching staff.
"I'm really proud of the effort she has put towards academics," Wade Benson, head volleyball coach, said. "She has a great head on her shoulders to not only be a great volleyball player, but to be successful academically."
Auburn volleyball is no stranger to academic success. Team members have been named the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, while recent alums have earned All-America status for their efforts in the classroom.
But there is more to Davis' success than just the school. Not only had she improved her academic endeavors, but also her push as an athlete. Last season, she was awarded Most Improved in the weight room and has already been seen as a leader on the court this season.
Now that another school year is up and running and the 2009 volleyball season officially started, Davis has even more motivation to continue her success. Being one of a few veterans on a squad that features nine freshmen, her determination and hard work can be an influence to the younger members of the team.
"The fact that I'm the older player and there are teammates looking up to me has really triggered a new mindset both on the court and in school," Davis said. "Coaches, teammates and all the support staff for our team start to expect more from the older I get."
"Alyssa is showing that she really cares about this program by the way she picked herself up and is leading this team," Benson said. "It just shows that where there is a will, there is a way."
With two full school years under her belt and two more to go Davis has learned a lot from the ups and downs that comes with being a student-athlete. Lessons have been learned and not just the ones in school.
"I've learned that it's a lot harder to go forward when you have taken a giant leap backward," Davis said. "It's easier to maintain success than it is to progress after regressing."
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