Go, Study, WIN!

A new school year has begun, and that means juggling the roles of student and athlete. Being a student-athlete can be challenging at times, but with discipline, dedication and the desire to achieve your goals, success will come. You can’t take care of business on the sidelines unless you’re winning in the classroom, so follow these eight tips to stay on your “A” game all year long.

1. Make a little time to study each day (or at least multiple times a week).
Studying and completing your homework are two different things. Homework refers to a specific, immediate assignment to be completed outside of class, while studying refers to a long-term strategy that helps you gain a solid understanding of a subject. Consistent studying will help you complete assignments faster and be better prepared for tests without those stressful, last-minute cram sessions.

2. Minimize possible distractions.
Whether you’re studying alone, with a friend or in a small group, your first priority should be to get your work done. Put your phone away, turn off the television and avoid any likely distractions until you have completed your assignments and finished studying. It will be easier to retain information if you keep your focus on your studies and the specific task at hand.

3. Stay committed.
Don’t let a busy schedule or difficult project bog you down and delay your work. Instead, reach out to a teacher, a mentor, a friend or parent for help when you feel overwhelmed. Sometimes just talking things out can be inspiring or, at the very least, relieving.

4. Stay organized.
It’s been said that for every minute spent organizing, an hour is gained. Being organized is being in control. If you’re organized you won’t be constantly looking for something that’s misplaced or stressing about things you think you’ve forgotten. Write down assignments, practices, games and all other responsibilities in a planner or your phone’s calendar. Include personal events and plans too, as this will help you manage your overall time and priorities.

5. Attend class, physically and mentally.
While you must meet attendance standards to be on the cheer team, physically attending class doesn’t necessarily mean your mind is there. Make it a point to zero in on the information being taught. You’ll be amazed at how much your brain can absorb and then recall later when it’s time to complete an assignment or take an exam.

6. Don’t wait until the last minute.
Know when your projects are due and tackle them immediately. There will be times when you have multiple deadlines on the same day or week, and knocking out as much as you can early will greatly reduce the amount of stress you experience when those deadlines hit.

7. Choose brain food.
Sugar and caffeine provide a quick boost but almost always result in a crash that involves fatigue, headaches or irritability. Instead of resorting to candy or a giant energy drink, choose healthy, nutrient-packed snacks that will fuel your energy and brainpower while keeping you from feeling hungry and distracted.

8. Keep a consistent sleep routine.
Sleep is your body’s way of rejuvenating and repairing itself. Avoid “all-nighters” at all costs. It’s much better to invest in regular, healthy sleep patterns. For at least a week, commit to going to bed at the same time every night and logging a minimum of eight hours. You should notice a world of difference in your everyday mood and performance.

Remember that everyone learns, studies and develops differently. Are you a visual, hands-on learner or do you prefer taking detailed notes and committing them to memory? Find what works best for you and expand on those tactics. Go for the win on the sidelines and in the classroom this year. You’ve got this!