What is it like to be a NCAA Division II student athlete studying at NGU? Meet Kate Lee, a rising senior right fielder on the NGU softball team. Find out her passion for her sport and how she balances school work and time on the field.
What does your busiest day look like during the offseason and during the season?
My busiest day in the offseason usually starts with 6 a.m. runs, a full day of class and lab, four hour practice, and weights. I’ll get home around 9 p.m., eat leftovers, and start homework.
My busiest day in season is usually a game day. I have to go to class, and sometimes leave early and head straight for the field at 11 a.m., and I don’t usually leave until 6 p.m.
What is a relaxing day like for you?
I usually don’t get very many relaxing days at school, but I imagine it as me lying in bed all day watching Netflix with my dog, and maybe go to the pool if the weather is nice.
On average, how many days during the school year do you estimate you have with no school or practice to do?
None. Sundays are typically our only day off from both school and practice, but Sunday is a day when homework is due or just a catch up day.
What was the hardest part of transitioning from high school to being a collegiate athlete?
Time management. In high school, I never studied or did homework but still made decent grades. I thought I could get by in college by doing the same thing, but I was extremely mistaken. Trying to balance earning a bachelor’s degree and softball was very difficult for me, but taking every extra free minute between class and practice to study was key so I could go to bed at a decent hour.
What is the most difficult aspect of being a student athlete at a NCAA Division II school?
For me, the hardest part of being a Division II athlete is trying to keep a level head. It is so easy to get overwhelmed when balancing everything–sports, school, and a social life–and it is difficult to have all three. When I tried to give my all, to all three, I became so overwhelmed and felt like I was plummeting. Finding a balance is so important—for grades, for friends, and for batting averages.
What advice would you give the reader who might be trying to help a current student athlete through difficult times?
Focus on one thing at a time. When you’re at practice, don’t worry about whatever test you have coming up or homework you have due because there’s nothing you can do about it while you’re on the field. I recently read, “Don’t Shoot the Dog” by Karen Pryor, and although it is about training animals, it can also apply to humans. Her 10 Laws of Shaping Behavior provide insight on how we can successfully train any aspect of a behavior or sport. Some of the laws that stuck out to me are laws seven, nine, and ten. In short, they say find another method of training if one isn’t working, “go back to kindergarten” if a skill deteriorates and go back through the entire process, and end each session on a high note.