The X’s and O’s of the Student Athlete – Kathleen McCann (Cara Smith/AQ)

The best time of the year to be a student-athlete is what I like to call “Midterm Season.” Throughout my four years at St. Thomas I have noticed that there is always that two to three week period where midterms and assignments take over. This is a crucial time for your life as a student and it’s important that you give your studies the attention they deserve. However, I would argue that staying active during your most stressful times at school will benefit you academically.

Since freshman year I have found exercise to be the best stress reliever. It gives you time to get your mind off the pile of work that is waiting for you at home, and gives you the opportunity to release your stress in a healthy way. It’s also a nice change of scenery if you’ve been holed up in your room or study hall for hours. Whether you have a team practice or just decide to hit the gym, I promise you will feel better afterward.

Scientifically, exercise has been known to release endorphins, or the body’s “feel good” chemicals, and suppress the chemicals that cause stress. I can personally vouch for this because I have attended many basketball practices feeling stressed, but have left feeling refreshed and relaxed. It’s these stressful weeks of the year that show how being a varsity athlete can help your academic performance.

With that being said it’s still important to give yourself the best possible chance for success. You still need to stick to the basics – organization and time management. If you’re cramming the night before a big midterm no amount of exercise is going to calm you down.

If you stay active, prepare yourself, and get your rest you’ll be able to beat the stress of “Midterm Season.”

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