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I play volleyball. Not, “let’s toss it around during gym class so we can get out of running the mile”  volleyball, but actual travel club volleyball. Traditionally, people tend to believe this means I cannot be smart. In high school, you’re only supposed to fit into one category, the jocks or the nerds, right? Wrong.

There’s a reason it’s called Student-Athlete, the “student” part comes first. Above all, we are students, balancing the same homework load and social circles. I like to think that the “athlete” side of me has enhanced the “student” side because it’s helped me stay physically fit and happy, and has taught me remarkable time management skills. This isn’t to say those who aren’t Student-Athletes don’t know how to manage their time because plenty of people balance a full schedule of academics or other extracurriculars; however, being a Student-Athlete is how I learned.

“Above all, we are students, balancing the same homework load and social circles.”

I once tried to separate my school and academic self from my athletic self, but I’ve realized that it only hinders me. Both parts are me, just like I am both Asian and American, I am both a student and an athlete and frankly, I think I’m better for it.

Volleyball is a game of anticipation. Sure, you have to move fast to get to the ball before it hits the ground, but that speed isn’t pure athleticism, it’s a lot of anticipation. It’s “reading” your opponent and trying to assume, based on their form and position, where the ball is going to go.

The same applies to life. Instead of waiting until the night of the Spring Musical to write your term paper or the day before your ACT to start studying, you have to anticipate. Try to think ahead. If you have a free night every Wednesday, but Scholastic Bowl or cheerleading practice all night Thursday, then try to get some extra work done on Wednesday to keep you less stressed.

Life may seem like a complicated game, but at the end of the day, with enough practice, you can get good at “reading” it. Anticipate what life is going to throw at you next and you’ll avoid being hit straight in the face.

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Ariel Zedric is a student at Tufts University. When she's not studying, you can find her wandering around on her blog at Contact via email at or on Twitter or Instagram @arielzedric

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