Young pups added to the pack

The opportunities and challenges faced in a new environment

Many incoming freshmen enter college at the age of 17 or 18 and are quickly thrown into the fire. For most of the new students, this will be the first time on their own, away from their home and family. 

Coming into college is a tough transition. Add in the workload from classes and a sport on top of that and one gets the challenge that many freshmen student-athletes face year in and year out. 

The transition from high school to college for student-athletes is complex and filled with anxiety and excitement about what it means to balance school and sport. 

Typically, student-athletes at Ferris attend practice and sport related activities, such as meetings, lifting, film study, etc. for nearly 30 hours a week. Depending on their major, athletes take an average of 12-15 credits per semester. That calculates to around 40 hours of school work a week. 

With nearly 70 hours of work put in between school and athletics, it can be tough to juggle everything. 

Freshman outside hitter Abby O’Brien is a brand-new Bulldog on the Ferris volleyball team and has experienced difficulties of her own. O’Brien comes to Ferris from Evergreen Park, Illinois and is a pre-nursing major. 

“One of the hardest things about being a student athlete is just finding time to balance workouts, skill sessions, homework and studying all in one day and not falling behind,” O’Brien said. “I do like that I have more time to decide when I can get things done than I did when I was in high school. I use a planner and write down everything I have to do throughout the week in it.” 

Freshman midfielder Bri Rodgers is a new face to the Bulldog women’s soccer team. Rodgers is originally from Livonia and is majoring in pre-pharmacy. Rodgers has already been a contributor to the soccer team as she scored her first career goal against King University on Sept. 3 to help the Bulldogs secure a 3-0 win. 

“I think the hardest part about being a student-athlete is being expected by your coaches to put forth 100 percent effort every day in practice and in games and then likewise by your prof e s s o r s in the classroom,” Rodgers said. “Before every week I layout my schedule for the week and I try to stick to it as closely as possible. I find that if I keep myself to a tight schedule, I get most of my stuff done.” 

Freshman linebacker Mohamad Amen joined the Ferris football team this season. Amen is originally from Dearborn Heights and is a business management major. 

“My days start very early and I have a lot of running around to do. I picked all my classes so they can be back-to-back, so after football practice I can focus on my homework,” Amen said. “The upperclassmen on my team have given me advice to use good time management and not to overload my day with too many things. At first it was all overwhelming but I have gotten used to it.” 

Coaches at Ferris typically try to run a mandatory study table a few times a week for their student athletes when they are in season. This helps give their athletes mandatory time to work on their studies and develop good habits outside of their sport. 

For more on how Ferris student athletes stay on top of their coursework, click here