Student-athletes find life balance with help of upperclassman teammates

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Junior women’s tennis player Leigh Friedman discussed her adjustments to Lehigh as a first-year. Friedman said that her teammates were a huge help
in making her transition to college a success. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

For student-athletes, practice schedules add another element to the demands of college life.

Though the adjustment is difficult, Leigh Friedman, a junior on the women’s tennis team, said student-athletes at Lehigh can turn to their teammates in times of need, especially when they are first adjusting to college. 

Friedman, who didn’t know anyone when she first came to Lehigh, said her team acted as a support system while she adjusted to the new environment. She said having friends who were older than her and had been through a similar period of adjustment was reassuring because she could ask them for advice.  

“I think playing a sport made it so much easier in the aspect of having the social part of college,” Friedman said. “I made so many other friends automatically. It was nice knowing I had people who were there for me (and) who had gone through the same things as a freshman.”

Freshman men’s soccer midfielder Nick Jennings said upperclassman can be very helpful with the transition to college.

“For the most part, it’s what I expected,” Jennings said. “Two older kids from my high school soccer team came here too, so they told me what it was going to be like.”

Amanda Rubin, a freshman rower on the women’s crew team, said that as an athlete, her schedule is full every day, but being busy helps her with time management.

“I’m somebody who likes a lot of structure in my life, so I like that there is a regular commitment everyday,” Rubin said. “Being an athlete is a really big commitment, but I am somebody who likes a strict schedule.”

Rubin and Jennings both said that sometimes it’s hard to manage academics. Rubin has a rigorous schedule as a double major in bioengineering and computer science while also holding a work-study position on campus.

Rubin said she often struggles to find time in her schedule to work, complete her homework and socialize with her friends outside of the team. She said it can be hard, especially when you are trying to manage such a busy schedule for the first time as a first-year student.

“Sometimes, on the bus, I will do my homework,” Rubin said. “I try to find a way to make it work especially with exams coming up, studying is a big thing. I am craving time to study.”

Jennings said that as 4 o’clocks approach, he has felt more overwhelmed with his busy schedule, which is packed with practice and homework each day.

While balancing being a student and an athlete can be overwhelming, Friedman emphasized the importance of leaning on your teammates during difficult times.

“You have a whole team of people who are here for you and genuinely want to help you,” Friedman said. “Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help and don’t ever think you are being annoying.”

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