College athletes live an entirely different life than college students.
They don’t have the luxury of completing assignments when they “want” to, staying up up late, sleeping in, partying on weekdays or eating excessive amounts of junk food (well they do, but they shouldn’t).
Instead, they must complete assignments when their demanding schedule allows them to. Going to bed early is vital so they’re well-rested for peak performance, while having to wake up early to attend classes not interfering with practice. Their drink of choice is water, they have pajama parties during finals week and eat balanced meals to replenish energy for the physical demands of their sport.
Basically, lives of student-athletes are dictated by their schedule. They sacrifice part of their college experience for their love of the sport, and once that final season rolls around, every athlete is determined to find out if all this sacrificing was worth it.
Not only are their thoughts congruent at this time, but so are their feelings. Here are eight things going through every athlete’s mind during that dreaded final season:
1.) Stress. College athletes start putting a lot of pressure on themselves to break records they’ve always been close to, and/or to ensure a memorable season.
2.) Emotional. Waves of both happiness and sadness.
3.) Rushed. As Carry Underwood put it, college athletes feel “like Cinderella at the ball just running out of time.”
4.) Regretful. “Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” becomes very prevalent in everyday conversation.
5.) Numb. Some moments haven’t hit them yet, and there are others where they don’t feel anything at all.
6.) Old. It’s hard feeling young as a senior while watching a freshman enjoy their first season of competition.
7.) Naive. They realize those people who stressed the importance of enjoying the experience — rather than taking it too seriously — were wise.
8.) Sentimental. Everything becomes meaningful.
College athletes experience an array of feelings during their final season, and they still exist when it comes to a close.
For those gearing up for this, it will be bittersweet. You’ll feel pleasure and pain, accomplished and relieved, but also like you just lost your best friend.
In a sense, that’s true. This is something that always served as your outlet, and it will be lost.
Don’t be consumed by these feelings. Get over it and get a new best friend. If you’re still in college, intramural sports are great. If you’re out of college, participating in pick-up games, road races, club sports and classes at the gym are all activities with potential to fill this void.
These thoughts and feelings will pass when you take initiative to fill that void.
*Section Photo credit to breakingmuscle.com and Featured Photo (above) credit to Business Insider.