Any student knows it can be hard balancing schoolwork and having a social life. For Humber’s varsity athletes, it can be even harder balancing sports and assignments.
Each sports team at Humber College can have up to four practices a week, including one or two games in that same week. Each student has to be enrolled in a full-time program and maintain at least 66 per cent of their course load to be able to play on any of the 11 varsity teams.
Humber provides academic assistance through the Varsity Academic Centre (VAC) where athletes can get extra help if needed. VAC provides tutors to help students with homework and studying.
Student athletes attend a session called “Make Your Mark” with Humber’s varsity academic advisor, who offers advice on balancing both athletics and schoolwork, and provide them with the right tools to stay on track.
Dale Essue, assistant coach for the women’s rugby team, knows that sometimes it can be hard to balance everything during the school year.
“I understand that athletes are students first and need to be successful in their studies, so I will allow them to miss practice if they have a big test or exam that they need to study for,” he said.
Essue said he could see some of the athletes on the women’s rugby team feeling swamped with sports and homework.
“Some players can become overwhelmed and struggle. It is usually first year students that struggle the most,” he said.
Both the men’s and women’s rugby teams were suspended in October due to violation of the school’s code of expectation. The women’s team was re-instated with a number of its members suspended for the season, while the men’s team was suspended for three years.
This situation can put a lot of stress on the athletes but Essue said although it was tough the women’s rugby team was able to get through it.
“The girls coped really well. They were just a little anxious awaiting the decision whether or not we would continue our season,” he said.
“All students can struggle with doing well, whether a student-athlete or not, but we understand that being on a varsity team is a huge commitment, so we provide the resources for them to not only be successful on the field but also in the classroom,” Essue said.
Many students, even those not varsity teams, need to find the proper balance or they can put a lot of stress on themselves.
“The hardest part about being a student athlete is balancing life to be able to study, workout, practice, play games and work without reaching a stressing point,” said David Milan, a soccer player for the Humber Hawks.
He has some advice for students who are considering coming to Humber to play on a varsity team.
“Make sure to be in top shape and know the coaches to have a chance. Look into the program you’re going for and make sure it’s the right one,” said Milan. “Search what the program is about and have a good background knowledge of things you’ll be learning to make the schoolwork easier.”
Rafael Galdamez, a setter for Hawks men’s volleyball team, said juggling schoolwork and athletics is the biggest struggle for him.
“Time management is the hardest thing about being a student athlete. You always have to be putting in the time to better yourself,” said Galdamez.
Galdamez said it’s extremely hard balancing both homework and volleyball because it’s like having a full time job.
“Some people are better at time management, and balancing their sport and school,” said Galdamez. “Regardless, it’s still difficult because both volleyball and school take up so much time every day.”