Freshman Olivia Heifetz, a member of the rowing team, studies on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in the Student Athlete Lounge in Taylor Gym for the upcoming 4 o’clock exams. The exam period lasts from Feb. 22 to March 2. (Isabela Madrigal/B&W Staff)

Lehigh athletes face tough competition in 4 o’clocks


The 4 o’clock hour has an especially significant meaning for Lehigh students. The libraries are constantly packed, filled with stressed students who are up late into the night studying.

For Lehigh’s in-season student athletes, the 4 o’clock hour has a double meaning. Not only is it a time to focus on exams, but it’s also the time when a majority of them are riding over the mountain to Goodman Campus for practice or are already on the field practicing.

Most Lehigh coaches know how much pressure their student athletes are under during this time, so they will make efforts, such as shortening practices, to give their players a little extra time to study. For many of the spring sports, travel schedules and games conflict with 4 o’clocks early in the season.

When student athletes have to miss an exam for games or travel, they usually have three options for making up the test. They can take it before leaving, when they return, or, with the professor’s permission, they can take the exam on the road proctored by one of their coaches. With the third option, it is proven to be especially important that the coaches develop a reputation of trust within the academic community.

“This is my coach’s 22nd year as head coach, so he has been able to form great relationships with Lehigh professors,” senior baseball player Connor Donovan said. “He has earned a lot of trust, so many professors feel comfortable letting him proctor our exams if we are on the road.”

Senior men’s lacrosse player Garret Miers said one of the biggest challenges of having a busy travel schedule during 4 o’clocks is studying on the road.

“It can be very difficult to manage time to make sure you get in enough studying in between games,” Miers said.

Donovan says it is essential to take advantage of any time available to study. He said long bus rides to places like North Carolina and West Virginia are a great opportunity to study on the road.

Additionally, Donovan attributes a lot of his success on the field and in the classroom to the relationships the players on his team develop with each other and with their coaches. He said his teammates are always willing to help each other with questions about course material, and just spending time with his teammates in general helps alleviate some of the stress of 4 o’clock exams.

Donovan also said it’s important as an athlete to be able to compartmentalize any challenges faced on the field or in the classroom.

“When I’m on the baseball field, my focus is on playing and winning games,” Donovan said. “But when I’m in the classroom I really focus on my schoolwork and getting the best grades possible.”

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