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Cameron Clark

14 June 2015
EIP Essay Assignment~First Draft
My inquiry question is centered on how to be a successful student athlete at the collegiate
level. The reason I’m interested in this topic is because it is something that I desire to
accomplish, and that I am going to achieve. Prior to becoming a collegiate athlete, I thought it
was all peaches and cream. It seemed like it was the life I always wanted to live since I was
around a 5 or 6 years old. I figured that since I was one of the best players in the state when I was
in high school, that I would be able to slide into college, and continue to go about things the
same way. In college nothing transfers from high school except for your work ethic. Your prior
athletic accomplishments, academic awards, and whether you had a successful or unsuccessful
social life are completely irrelevant. If you worked hard in high school, more than likely you’ll
work hard in college. In my case high school was a breeze. It wasn’t because I was taking easy
classes or anything, because my schedule was stacked with AP classes since my sophomore year,
I just didn’t have to work hard to be successful. I cruised through in every aspect. Everything just
seemed to come to me, from friends, to girls, good grades, and even success on the football field.
I definitely still believed that I am blessed beyond belief, but I just want to share the things I
went through with my mid-year transition from high school. Due to everything being so “easy”
in high school, I struggled a bit when I first got here. The first wakeup call I had was the first day
in the weight room, and everyone was changing their weights so fast, and everyone, and I mean

EVERYONE, was lifting more weight than me. I was astonished, and my feelings were very
hurt. Here comes the second week of school, and my teacher assigns us a three page paper that is
due the next day. I had never heard anything like it before in my life. In high school we would at
least have a week to complete this task. Socially it was HORRIBLE. When you play football you
have no opportunity to choose your own friends. Your friends are your teammates, and that’s it.
With me enrolling mid-year, I really got the worst end of the stick. All of the freshman football
players already had cliques, and I was somewhat left out to dry a few times when I first got here.
I remember the first two weeks I would walk around Miltimore and go up the hill that leads to
the union just to go to the cafeteria. I also wasn’t used to the females. In high school whether a
female liked me or not was an absolute after thought. In college, girls would walk right past me
as if I was invisible or just a fly on the wall. After two weeks or so I had come to the conclusion
most of the girls at UNCC weren’t attracted to men in any way shape or form. There was just no
other explanation. Finally I realized that this is NOT high school, and NOTHING comes as easy
as you would like it to.
Everyone knows someone who plays, or has played a sport at the collegiate level. More
than likely they had to make a change or struggle through the transition somewhere along the
way. Every athlete comes to college with hopes of being the best they can be in the classroom,
and on the field. When things don’t go our way people pick and choose what they will be
successful at. “Well I’m not playing too good right now, I guess I’ll pull my GPA up”, or “I’m
balling, who needs grades anyway”. I have heard this from many student athletes not only at my
school but at, at least five other universities. There are more than 460,000 student athletes in the
United States of America, which makes this a significant matter. Instead of people picking or
choosing which one they’ll be successful at, how about we provide guidance and advice to these

young adults to let them know they are not alone, and that everyone has gone through what you
are experiencing right now. If this would happen we would have a lot more successful student
athletes, and graduates.
The most interesting contribution that I found for student athletes was the rule that was
put into effect in 1991 limiting athletes to 20 hours a week, and four hours a day to be spent on
mandatory athletic training during the season. Here at UNCC, our off season hours are limited to
16 hours per week. On average I’d say we practice around 16-17 hours a week. Before this rule
was put into effect by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), collegiate athletes
were reportedly spending thirty plus hours a week on sports related activity. All of the time
restraints I previously mentioned do not include study hall, volunteer hours, life skills, and
“non”-mandatory team meetings and workouts. This has great relevance on my research on how
to be a successful student athlete at the collegiate level. Before this rule was set into place in
1991, athletes were basically working full time jobs while being in school, and being expected to
remain academically eligible. I wonder how students were assisted academically before recent
rules were put into place. There had to have been shortcuts made available to student athletes. It
almost feels impossible now to compete academically with your peers. I know it was beyond
difficult before
I believe learning how to be a successful student athlete at the collegiate level is very
important. There are three parts to being a successful student athlete at the collegiate level. There
is being a successful student, productive athlete, and being a positive social figure; which can
include being active within the university, and in the community. Let’s say you’re really good at
basketball, but your grades are just good enough to be consider academically eligible; you are a
successful athlete, not student athlete. You can also be a great student and not produce in you

your sport, therefore making you a productive student. The last part is the most underrated part
of being a successful student athlete in my eyes. If you handle your business in the classroom
and on the field at your respective university; more than likely you ruffled a few too many
feathers along your journey. While being a student athlete it very difficult, we are all presented
with the choice of signing on the dotted line, or to choose another route.
The difference that my findings made on me, and hopefully my readers is that it is a
journey. It’s not something that’s given, it’s truly worked for. With what I have learned, I want to
take an approach as if I’m relearning the craft. Learn how to listen again, how to play again, how
to study, and how to interact with new people. When you think you know it all you become less
absorbent to things you should soak up. So, I plan on letting some old habits go so I can make
room for new ones. I don’t believe I have unresolved questions, more as I have to keep living to
learn. I still wonder how it looks to be so easy to some people, and how some people act as if
being student athlete is a hobby, and not a job.

In the final draft of my essay, I added how many hours a week we usually practice. I
decided to add this because one of my peers asked me this question. I felt that the other questions
that were asked didn’t have a place in my essay. I didn’t have a works cited page because all of
my information has to do with feelings, experiences, and prior knowledge.