The Power of Sport and Academics

The Power of Sport and Academics

Being a Student-Athlete

Being a student-athlete is never easy and people always wonder how I succeed in both these fields requiring a lot of time and sacrifices. Yes, sacrifices, at one point I have to sacrifice soccer for academics and vice versa. For me, it just depends on what time of the year it is (exam & test week) and what match we are going to play (friendly or tournament). 

The most important thing to have thou as a student-athlete is relationships. Relationships with your classmates and lecturers because when you spend a lot of time away from class, it becomes difficult to play catch up hence you need to be up to date with what happens when you are gone. 

Attending classes is very important, I always knew that my marks were going to drop when I am not attending and not because I cannot do self-study but because most of the work is understood and covered in class. 

I take classes like going to church, you can read your bible at home at any given time but it becomes different when the pastor is taking you through it and making you understand what is happening with the Word of God.

Time Management

When it comes to time, you have to prioritize, what is more important hanging around with friends talking about dreams than actually working towards achieving those dreams? 

Time management is very important because as a student-athlete you have less time to socialize hence it is an advantage to have friends in your circle doing more or less the things you do. You need time for yourself; family; friends; school; soccer and maybe love life. 

All this becomes easy if your people are in your circle. I am lucky that I have friends who are student-athletes because they understand what I do and they are supportive and the most credit I have to say, goes to my family for always understanding and supporting my journey towards my dreams. It would not be this easy if it was not for their support. 

Credit also goes to the coaches I work with at club level and in the national team. I have been blessed with coaches who understood that I am a student first before I am an athlete. 

When it is exam time, school comes first because the most important thing is to get an education as we all know that football does not guarantee you that you will play for as long as you would wish to.

The Key to Success

To add to all this, self-discipline is the key to being a successful student-athlete. Many temptations arise out of nowhere to test you how strong you are and how bad do you want to succeed in being a student-athlete. 

There would be moments I felt like skipping training because I had a long day in class and I want to give my brain a rest. And again, there would be moments I felt like skipping morning class because I had a tough night match the day before. 

But then it comes back to me when I am lying in bed at night, how bad do I want to succeed. What will the kids looking up to me think if I am I just going to throw in the towel just like that.  

I have to say that the people who look up to me also give me courage and motivation to work hard because it is very rare to find female student-athletes succeeding on and off the field. I want them to look at me and see that if I managed to do it, nothing will stop them from doing it. This is all a process you want to be willing to go through and you should know it is not going to be an easy one.

 

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About the Author:

Refiloe Jane was born in Kliptown in 1992-08-04. Her passion for sport has grown and developed into the woman we see before our screens and various media platforms representing women in football. She is the current USSA Football Women’s National Team captain, South African Senior Women’s National Team (Banyana Banyana) vice-captain, Future Champions ambassador, Umbro South Africa Ambassador, founder of Refiloe Jane Foundation and co-founder of the Boipelo Sporting company. She was the first female Future Champions Player with an opportunity to train with the Everton & Manchester City ladies’ teams, rather a rare opportunity for many girls out there. She is a two-time Olympian, have been to the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics. She has also been to three World Universiade Games (2013 in Russia, 2015 in South Korea and 2017 in Chinese Taipei).

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