Imagine this: you're a high school senior and you're a part of the school’s basketball program, but you have received no offers to continue to play in college. You are now hit with the reality that basketball cannot be your entire life. Studies show that 55.5 percent of high school students are also athletes, but only about two percent play their sport at the NCAA level.

This makes a huge impact on your entire social and academic life, even if you don't realize it. When you're a student athlete, your sport and study time are split to balance the two. Thus, you take time away from your studies to play your sport. Without playing the sport, you have more time to study or do other things you may enjoy doing.

I played basketball for my entire high school career, but now in my senior year and after the basketball season, I have discovered that basketball took more time than I thought. During the period at school, it is like I have another study hall to finish any schoolwork I may not have completed. I also choose to just chill sometimes. However, I realized that my heavy eating habits have caught up to me since I don't play basketball on a consistent basis anymore. So, I have started doing small workouts to keep me in shape. In college, where you already have plenty of time to yourself, you’ll have even more time to do stuff that caters towards your career choice in place of the long hours you would have dedicated to playing in college.

There are a handful of advantages in transitioning from a student athlete to just a student. You have time to put more focus into other things you may find important. You can use the time you would be in a practice or game to complete your homework, choose your career or relax on your stressful days. You also don't have to worry about getting sweaty everyday. You can focus more on yourself than before, and accomplish just as much as being in the NCAA tournament.

However, everything comes with a price. The first one is learning to let the sport go. If you loved the sport you played, it may be difficult to stop competing suddenly. You’ll have to also figure out what you really want to do in life and start on a brand new track if you didn’t already.

A solution to these problems is just going to the gym in your free time and working out. You may not be able to gain some statistics in a book, but you’ll enjoy being with other students who go to the gym as well.

Another option you have is trying to walk on the team. Most walk ons are successful in D2, D3, NAIA and junior colleges. This is also a great option due to the fact that you’re able to join the team even without being recruited. But since you didn’t earn a scholarship, you are still paying tuition. It all comes down to how much you want to compete in the sport.

Being a student athlete in high school can be time consuming, but a common reason for playing in a sport while going to school is to stay in shape or earn a scholarship to pay for your tuition. However, only a small amount of these athletes make it to play in college. Therefore you should always have a backup plan to fall on. Eventually, most student athletes will turn into regular people because not many make it to the professional league. 

Lead Image Credit: Michelle Brooks