College and Sports: How to Make it Work

If you were raised in an athletic household like myself, your days were spent driving to and from various sports camps, practicing your skills in the backyard, and cheering on your favorite professional sports teams (in my unfortunate case, the always interesting Chicago Cubs).

If this was or still is your life, you know what I mean when I say you can never entirely give it up.

The college choice is hard enough; throw the decision of whether or not to get involved with college sports into the mix and the decision becomes ten times harder, especially when a great deal of who you are is an athlete.

As an almost three-year collegiate athlete, I am here to say you can make it work!

Big or small college, there are always ways to schedule in sporting activities in some way.

Listen to these stories on how two students from two separate colleges, one large state school and one small Division III school, managed to keep up with athletics throughout their college career.

Elizabeth Composto, Junior at North Central College, Division III Track and Field Athlete

Why did you choose to continue sports in college?

Growing up, I was always in sports. In high school, I fell in love with track and field, specifically pole vault. By my junior year, it became obvious to me that this was going to be something I wanted to continue in college. The summer before my senior year, I started to look at colleges with good vault programs and I continued to pursue my passion in pole vault.

What was the reasoning behind your choice to play your sport at a small Division III school?

Specifically, my college has a great track and field program. I also knew I would enjoy the smaller class room sizes. Coming from a small high school, I felt that I would be more comfortable in a smaller college environment. Making friends and connections would just be easier, especially since I chose to be involved in a sport. Not only can I connect with the people on my team, but the advantage to being on a sport at a small school allows connecting with people in different sports as well.

How has your experience been thus far?

Personally, being a student-athlete so far has been the perfect experience. With picking a small school, my expectations were met and then some. Not only are my professors super understanding of my athletic commitments, but they also show a genuine interest in my sporting achievements and support me whole-heartedly.

I have also been able to take on many other different activities and responsibilities. For instance, on top of being a student-athlete, I am a campus resident assistant who works two graphic design jobs. Sports have impacted my life so much that I knew I needed to continue them for as long as possible. I know I made the right decision for me here.

Justin Wegener, Junior at University of Iowa, Intramural Sports Programs

When I was growing up everything I did revolved around sports. I would play sports and when I wasn’t playing I would watch sports on TV. When I graduated high school and decided to end my competitive athletic career, there was really no doubt in my mind that I was going to continue to play sports at the recreational level.

When I got to the University of Iowa I got into the intramural sports program and have been playing intramural sports for two years now. All I had to do to join up was go to the intramural website and either sign up for a team that had already invited me to play or I could create my own team. I have done both and they are both really easy.

So far I have enjoyed my time participating in intramural sports. I think that intramural programs at big schools like Iowa are very competitive and so it is a good way for someone who wants to play sports but get the “big school” experience to accomplish both things.

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Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson is a junior at North Central College in Naperville, IL pursuing degrees in journalism and interactive media studies. When she is not in the classroom, she balances her time playing for her school’s softball team and working at a local frozen yogurt shop. Jordan enjoys watching movies, thumb wars, and occasional trips into the windy city.
Jordan Johnson

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