Running circles around a packed schedule

Op-eds Opinions
Mary Robertson (graphic)
Mary Robertson (graphic)

Being a varsity athlete has taught me how important it is to stay organized and on top of things. It has definitely been a learning curve and even in my fourth year, balancing school and track is easier on some days than others. Every year I compete at the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Nationals, the biggest focus for our track team during the indoor season.

While it is extremely exciting, the weeks leading up to the race become quite overwhelming, as papers start to pile up, midterms are pencilled-in all over the calendar, and a full night’s sleep seems harder to achieve. A big part of succeeding in sport is being able to focus and mentally prepare for competitions, which means that I work ahead of time to free myself from the stresses of school before competitions to perform at my best.

Last year, three weeks before the big weekend, I planned out a schedule to finish all my assignments. But the week before nationals, I found myself with an overwhelming list of to-do’s, including a number of papers to complete, a test to study for and write before leaving, all on top of classes and our daily track practices. In other circumstances, I would just hide out in the library and grind to get everything done, letting my need for sleep go out the window while living on a diet of coffee, coffee, coffee and Noodle Box. Unfortunately, that was a less-than-ideal plan with the upcoming race and the need to stay healthy. I had a bit of a breakdown, not wanting to fall into the trap of pulling all-nighters to complete everything on time.

So, I took a big breath, and did what I could that week while trying to stay calm and efficient. I did get most of it done on time, maybe not as well as I liked, and it was much more exhausting than I was hoping for in the week leading into championships. Lesson learned: organization, sleep and staying accountable to yourself is extremely important to avoid stress. These are a few  of the tricks I’ve learned to keep myself balanced, happy, and feeling purposeful. On the outside it may appear like I’m just running in circles, but this journey of being a student-athlete has turned out to be so much more than that!

Rachel Francois is a fourth year history major, as well as a varsity Vikes runner. If you’d like to contribute to Academic Confessions, email for more information.