Cameron Clark

22 June 2015
Successful Collegiate Student Athlete
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 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
UNC Charlotte 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
playing well, so 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 ("Student-Athletes."), 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 I am experiencing right now. If this would happen we would
have a lot more successful student athletes, and graduates.

The most significant contributor to my research would be Keith Carodine, Kevin
Almond, and Katherine Gratto the authors of “College Student Athlete Success Both In and Out
of the Classroom”. There is a chapter in this book about how complex the life of a student athlete
is. This article doesn’t only leave me with the hardships and complications of being a student
athlete; it leaves me with solutions, and ways to make my life easier. It also explains what
student athletes go through on a daily basis, and also the progressions made for student athletes
at the collegiate level. I think this relates to my research because it was made to help struggling
student athletes who want to be successful like myself understand their roles and responsibilities
while capitalizing on our opportunities. For every negative topic or flaw presented there was a
solution given. 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 (Carodine,
Almond, Gratto 21). 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
The most persuasive and convincing information I found were from people who told the
truth about the subject. They didn’t sugar coat the subject or the process of becoming a
successful collegiate athlete. It was like they were saying this your goal, it is not going to be easy
to achieve, but this is what you have to do to achieve it. I think that having a balance between

your academic, athletic, and social life is the most important part of being a successful student
athlete at the collegiate level. 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 most underrated part of a successful student athlete in my eyes, is how
they portray themselves socially. While actually playing the part is the most important thing, you
must also know your place and how should act. 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.
Something I think that is a neglected topic is how to fit in with teammates and peers
socially while being a student athlete. There is never really time to make friends or build quality
relationships, so I would want to know how student athletes should handle this? My sources
showed me how to become a successful student athlete. They showed me that the process isn’t
easy, but it is definitely worth all the hard work. It’s not something that’s given, it’s truly worked
for. With what I have learned, I have to take an approach as if I’m relearning the skill. 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.

Works Cited
Carodine, Keith, Kevin F. Almond, and Katherine K. Gratto. "College Student Athlete Success
Both in and Out of the Classroom." New Directions for Student Services. 2001.93
(2001): 19-33. Print.
"Student-Athletes." N.p., n.d. Web. 22 June 2015.