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How Georgia State athletes balance schoolwork with sports

DE Terry Thomas celebrating a monster interception made by teammate Jonathan Ifedi. Photo by Zach Butler | The Signal

We know them as football players, but just like you and me, they are students who go through similar struggles with class and sport.

So, how do football players and student athletes balance their time between athletics and academics?


Terry Thomas: Football

Terry Thomas is a senior defensive end on the football team. Thomas, who is enrolled in Georgia State’s Honors College, takes his academic performance seriously.

To keep up with his academic and football schedules, Thomas keeps a calendar and planner to stay organized and keep a note of any major school assignments and upcoming football games. This helps Thomas stay ahead of the game and direct his focus.

For Thomas, balancing his schoolwork with football was not always easy.

“There are distractions everywhere,” Thomas said. “You just have to discipline yourself.”

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He said the biggest lesson he had to learn was when he was in his freshman year.

So, how does Thomas balance his time? For starters, Thomas makes sure to get an early start to the day and study up on class work as much as possible.

He also enjoys going to the library and relaxing in a study room in an effort to shut himself-off from everybody else for a while. This helps make sure Thomas stays on top of his grades.

The schedule Thomas and his fellow teammates share is not easy to stay on top of. The team typically starts at 6 a.m. and practices until about noon. Soon after, Thomas is in class, some days until about 7 p.m. After, Thomas enjoys heading to the library to work on school assignments to make sure they are turned in on time.


Oliver Holdenson

Oliver Holdenson is a redshirt senior punter on the football team. Holdenson, like Thomas, is also enrolled in Georgia State’s Honors College.

“Honestly, football takes up a lot of my time out of the day and week,” Holdenson said. “We will have football in the mornings and class in the afternoon.”

For Holdenson, weekly routines are a vital part of success on and off the field. 

“I figure out what I am going to do everyday and do that,” Holdenson said. “Whether that be leaving practice, studying for class or studying after class, I do the same things every day.”

Holdenson keeps a planner to make sure he is always organized and in control of what he needs to accomplish on any given day. 

“I write all of my homework down as well as stuff I need to study for,” he said. “I just need to keep everything organized so my brain isn’t muddled.”

For Holdenson, the start of each semester may bring issues.

“I have trouble figuring out my [new] routine,” he said. “When [I] start a new semester, [my] whole class schedule is completely different.”

Coming from Australia, Holdenson’s initial experience was hectic. Over time, however, he became more used to the system and is now a thriving student and college athlete.