USF athletes find balance as finals approach

Jordan Santos (5) and other USF athletes find a balance between athletics and academics as finals week approaches. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

There are only a few weeks left in the spring semester and that means there is one thing standing in most students way before summer: finals.

Students often find themselves lost in their own stress and cramming right before an exam as if these tests are the only thing on their mind. But some students also have to focus on another demanding task — playing a sport at USF.

Despite being in the middle of their seasons, USF softball infielder AnaMarie Bruni and baseball infielder Jordan Santos have figured out ways to balance their busy schedules with studying for finals.

“I try to keep [academics and baseball] separated,” Santos said. “I make sure I give both things in my life the certain time they need for me to be successful because I really care about both of those things.”

For students who are in USF’s athletic programs, it is very important to give both studying and practicing the proper attention in order to excel at both.

“You really need to find a balance between school and your sport,” Bruni said. “My education is very important to me so I make sure that I am handling all of my class work which, in turn, allows me to have fun and not worry when I am playing softball.”  

Many students find it hard to balance school work with a social life, while athletes like Bruni and Santos have to balance even more.

Bruni organizes her schedule a month at a time so she can manage her time between softball and her class assignments.

“At the beginning of each month I write down my assignment due dates and practice/game schedule,” Bruni said. “This helps me to stay on top of all my assignments, and even look to work ahead depending on what we have planned in the future.”

Santos prefers to study immediately after he’s finished with his practice for the day. He’ll often seek help outside of the classroom through tutors or study groups.

I usually start studying right after practice until whenever I feel good,” Santos said. “I try to get with a tutor at the library and go through study guides and study whenever I can.”

While it may seem hard to play for a Division I sports program and devote time to anything else, Bruni and Santos — both health science majors — see it as two aspects of their lives that mesh together.

Not only is studying throughout the semester important for aiding in preparation for finals week, but it helps improve time management skills and take advantage of busy schedules.

“Being part of the USF softball program has greatly impacted my education in a positive way,” Bruni said. “I have really learned how to manage my time and stay on track with all my assignments.”

Santos has also gained valuable time management skills in his experience as a student-athlete.

“[USF baseball] has impacted me greatly because it taught me time management and to study at every possible moment I can — whether it was on a bus or on a plane,” Santos said. “It has taught me how to use my time wisely.”

Athlete or not, finals week is stressful for a majority of students at USF. Even with her jam-packed schedule of practices, games and finals assignments, Bruni is still able to take a step back and put everything into perspective with her final exams around the corner while USF softball continues its run atop the AAC standings.

“The biggest thing I have learned throughout my past three years as a student-athlete is that the exams, the studying, the work, is all inevitable,” Bruni said. “So why stress about it? You will either fail or succeed, and neither of those are the end of the world.”