How do you (or did you) maintain a healthy balance between your fastpitch softball career and your studies?

This past week the University of Louisiana-Lafayette announced that its student-athletes had posted the highest graduation rate in the Sun Belt Conference and all of Louisiana for the second consecutive year. The Ragin’ Cajuns softball program led the way with a 96% Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and a 91% Federal Graduation Rate. Way to go Ragin’ Cajuns!

Such accomplishments are not easy in college sports, and in a time when we often hear about student-athletes’ failures in the prime-time sports (football and basketball), it’s nice to hear some positive news about our own sport and athletes from other sports. While many student athletes find comfort in the strict regimen required to attend multiple practices in a day, along with classes and homework and even a job, others may find it difficult to excel in the more demanding environment of college sports. We’d like to take a look at some suggestions on how to better manage your athletic life and academics. Here are some ideas and recourses we’ve rounded up.

Back in 2005, the New York Times did a great piece on student athletes, featuring a valedictorian soccer player. Different sport, yes, but a great read for any student athlete.

James Madison University published this piece, in which the author interviewed a few student-athletes for the inside scoop on combining sports and school work. It included this great quote from softball athlete, Sarah Prezioso, “There’s no doubt you’ve got a lot on your plate as a student athlete. And I think any athlete will tell you, your relationship with the game is often a love hate one. You love to succeed and win, and you hate to lose or struggle as an individual. It is probably one of the most frustrating things to deal with; struggling.”

Looking for more tips? This piece by US News and World Report has eight great tips for time management while at college. Some of these are great whether you plan to play softball or not, like #6 “Make the most of failure. Many college freshmen -” especially student athletes who have the twin demands of challenging athletic competition and heightened academic expectations “-experience some kind of difficulty in their first semester. For some, it’s a low grade on an exam or paper; for others, it’s just feeling lost or overwhelmed in their new surroundings. Resist the temptation to give up. Make a realistic assessment of where you went wrong: Did you spend enough time studying? Did you ask questions in class? Did you visit the professor during office hours for extra help? Then take the steps necessary to correct the problem, right away.”

So what are your tips on maintaining a healthy balance between softball and school? Let us know in the comments..

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