Lamar Hull shares his experiences on tackling the carious challenges at college – balancing studies and sports and shares some useful tips on how you can use your experiences to plan your future career.
Life as a member of the college Davidson basketball team was anything but easy. Between two practices a day, games on most weekends during basketball season, a part-time job and a rigorous academic schedule, all while still trying to maintain some type of a social life, my life was rather hectic and insane. I was proud and happy that all the hard work in the gym had paid off to get me this far, but I also knew that after college, my basketball career would probably be obsolete.
Fortunately, I received a contract to play professionally, however I knew I couldn’t play basketball forever. This meant really focusing on keep my grades up, networking, and being sure I left college prepared for life in the “real world.”
As a Biology major, I felt I had quite a bit of work on my plate. Most of my weekly assignments consisted of a lot of reading, labs and short writing assignments. However, each biology class almost always required two or more papers of over six pages a semester sometimes based on laboratory topics.
What I really found helped out was breaking my work into smaller chunks and starting as early as possible. I made a rule with myself that whenever we were given an assignment I would write the first page or at least an introduction as soon as possible.
Often I went straight to the library after class, grabbed a coffee or energy bar, brainstormed for a bit and got a little bit down on the page, sometimes weeks before the assignment was due. Just having the assignment started helps take the stress level down a bit, especially if you’re in the middle of a season or intense practice.
Dodging Distractions – The Library
Since I already mentioned the library, you need to know right away that it can be your best friend, and not just at the end of the semester! Going to a nice, quiet space and zoning out with your work is far more productive than trying to do work in a dorm room, off-campus house, or the student union.
Try to find an isolated spot where people you know aren’t likely to bump into you. Consider that without the usual distractions (computer, video games, friends and roommates), the work you can get done in two hours of library time is equal to what would take three or more hours to do if you’re constantly being interrupted by friends and entertainment. Therefore, going to the library will actually free up more time for social activities. This, my friends, is called the library paradox.
Finding Time – Some Tips
Try to take advantage of your situation as best as possible. Most colleges offer “study sessions” for athletes and sometimes even have special tutors. These retargets are meant for you to utilize to help boost your habits and grades, so why not give it a shot? Also, many writing centers offer consultations with essay and paper writing and are even starting to offer online tutoring, see what your school has to offer. One last thing, don’t waste time on long road trips to away games.
Capitalize on a long bus ride by making study guides and doing little bits of work here and there. It can certainly help to know you’ve accomplished some of your work when you need to maintain focus to physically perform.
Skills, Decisions and Future Career Roadmap
Looking back I learned a lot and through these experiences, I have become a better person and smarter decision maker. My rigorous class schedule, laboratory experiences and basketball life helped develop me in to a person who liked being organized, self-managed, and a competitor.
Through these experiences, I was able to find my work niche, which is in the sales market. In sales, I am able to compete against others and use a craft that will allow me to be judged by my performance, which is a lot similar to basketball. One thing I learned from college is that it isn’t about what you major in; it is about the experiences that you have that will shape your career.
About the Guest Post Author:
Lamar Hull is a former NCAA basketball player for Davidson College and played professionally in Europe. Currently, Lamar is a writer and blogger for Direct4tv and loves writing and researching about sports, college tips and entertainment. You can follow Lamar @lamarhull20 and at his youth basketball blog.