How to Succeed at Academics & Athletics

Brittany ’19
We’ve all heard the term student-athlete. But what does it mean at Lawrenceville? How do Lawrentians manage rigorous academics with high-level athletics? While I can’t say for others, here is how I navigate my life as a student-athlete.

I have been on Lawrenceville’s varsity squash team since my freshman year and have traveled to different states for individual tournaments. Therefore, the greatest challenge for me has been balancing this high athletic commitment with academics. Thinking back, I am able to overcome it due to two main factors: Lawrenceville’s supportive environment and time management skills.

First, to miss school at Lawrenceville, students need to get approval from their Form-Level Director, Housemaster/Advisor, and teachers on a permission-slip. Everytime I take out the form, my teachers already know what I’ll be asking—permission to miss classes for a squash tournament. “Where are you squashing this time?” is a question I often hear from my teachers. They are always very caring and supportive in students’ athletic endeavors. For example, teachers have emailed me worksheets that I’ve missed in class and asked whether I had any questions. At the same time, I’ve learned to be independent and responsible by checking the syllabus and asking classmates for notes. Frequently, I’d have to miss a test or project, and teachers are also understanding about rescheduling or giving extensions. Accordingly, I am super grateful for all the support from the Lawrenceville teachers and staff.

Although it is not easy to stay on top of work with athletic commitments (especially when you played a tough match and all you want to do is sleep and not study for a test), I’m very fortunate to have another layer of support at Lawrenceville—teammates and friends that keep me optimistic and motivated. The team spirit at Lawrenceville is undeniably strong and uplifting. As a team, we are always there for each other and know that we are all in the same boat. In addition, my friends back at school are always happy to Facetime or send class notes. As you can see, Lawrenceville faculty members, teammates, and classmates encompass the important parts of a support system.

Another crucial factor for a student-athlete to be successful is having time management skills. All this time away from school has taught me how to manage my time efficiently. Especially in the winter term (which is squash season), I have to balance academics with school practices, school matches, and individual tournaments. When I’m coming back to school on a red-eye from California, I can’t afford to leave my paper to write at the last minute. So before going away for a tournament, I check ahead on the syllabus for the days I’m missing to know what work to bring to the tournament. At the tournament, I do homework or prepare for tests in between matches at the hotel or at the venue. In this way, I’ve learned to follow a structured schedule and how to use my time wisely.

Being a student-athlete at Lawrenceville is a very rewarding experience. It is challenging but exciting, stressful but fulfilling, time-consuming but worthwhile. It not only pushes me to the best of my abilities, but also builds up self-discipline and time management skills. Along the way, I have discovered lifelong friendships and an extended family. It is an incredible journey that I will always cherish and continue to pursue in the future.
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Through House and Harkness, Lawrenceville challenges a diverse community of promising young people to lead lives of learning, integrity, and high purpose.  Our mission is to inspire the best in each to seek the best for all.