Being an athlete, on a student’s schedule

Photo taken with Focos

Throughout a college career, student-athletes spend an immense amount of time and energy preparing their bodies and minds for success in their sports. These athletes must maintain the difficult balance between their lives as friends, students, athletes, etc. Over the last four years, more than 7.5 million athletes have graduated high school and set out to find new hobbies, occupations, and studies outside of their high school sport. For that reason, less than 3% of high school athletes go on to compete at a Division I program. At Georgia State University (GSU), Division I athletes account for less than 1% of the student population. With that in mind, GSU Recreational Services offers 18 student-led club sports including tennis, swimming, boxing, volleyball and more.


After graduation, a majority of high school athletes enroll in various level colleges, shifting their focus to higher education, new friends, and new homes as they navigate adulthood for the first time in their lives. Unfortunately, many students get wrapped up in their new life and lose sight of their old passion for sports. However, universities like GSU offer a solution through their club sports programs. These programs provide an avenue for students to pursue their athletic passions while balancing their academics and social life. 


Club sports, similar to other student clubs at GSU, are established by small groups of students with a common interest in a particular sport or activity. Funded by its students, GSU provides all clubs with access to a plethora of resources such as practice facilities, equipment, and tournament/competition sites. Joining an existing club is as easy as the click of a “join club” button on the GSU Recreation website or simply attending an interest meeting at the Rec Center. 


One of GSU’s most competitive club sports is the Tennis Club Team. Since 2012, the team has been competing in tournaments across Georgia through USTA (United States Tennis Association) against other college-level tennis clubs and organizations. Funds allocated by members/alumni of the team give students the opportunity to travel and play other club-level players at the University of Georgia, Mercer University, and Georgia Southern. 


Nicole Son, Co-Vice President of the GSU Tennis Club Team, has been a part of the club for 2 years, noting that the club “helped [her] find love for the sport again.” Son was a high school tennis player, who lost interest in the sport after constantly chasing her high school teammates in their additional years of experience over her. Club sports allow Son and her club teammates to compete in friendly matches on GSU tennis courts, on their own schedule. 


The friendly yet competitive nature of club sports allows students to play and practice any sport of their choice, no matter their expertise, in a stress-free environment. With the prevalence of social media and technology in the youth, sports clubs are a great resource for students of any athletic ability to stay happy and healthy, putting aside the negativity often spread on smartphones.