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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bentley chapter.

Being a student-athlete is an extremely difficult thing at times and even though it’s something I love; it can feel like more of a burden most days than a benefit. Early mornings, long practices, not a lot of free time… I can go on. But it is also one of the most rewarding, exciting, and fulfilling experiences you can have throughout college. Sometimes it can be easier to focus on how you are feeling in the moment and not appreciate and think about the student-athlete experience as a whole. Here are some things I try to do to keep me happy and balanced while in season.

1. Reminding Myself Why I Love My Sport

I am a swimmer at Bentley and that means a lot of hours in the pool every week, some really difficult conditioning and a lot of weekends on a bus travelling to compete. It can be so so frustrating for a sport where your success is measured by hundredths of seconds. I go through a lot of periods where I am not dropping time at all which can be so frustrating because it doesn’t feel like everything you are doing is worth it. I try to enjoy each moment I have with my team. Instead of focusing on how tired we are in practice, focus on the energy and the fun we have while doing it. Instead of worrying about the time on the score board, focus on doing everything I can and swimming my best race for that moment. My team is such an amazing source of support and energy, so concentrating on that aspect really helps me to enjoy going to practices.

2. Separating My Identity from the Pool

Someone once asked me to write in the middle a piece of paper what defines me. I wrote swimmer. The man looked at the paper for a long time then looked at me and told me that I am so much more than that, and that moment has really stuck with me for a long time. He was a sports psychologist I went to see when I was dealing with a lot of mental blocks for swimming. In that moment I realized how much I let my successes and failures in the pool define who I am and so something I really prioritize in my life now is to find meaning in other ways. Through my relationships, personal growth, academic success, how I treat others and so much more. We are all so complex and even though sport is central to our identity as athletes, it is not all we are.

3. Making Time for Me

During the season, sport and class and sleep and food become the main parts of our lives. But all the other things like spending time with friends, self-care, other campus involvements and everything else you want to do are important. You don’t have infinite hours in the day to do all of these things, but I would say do one or two other things a day for yourself besides practice, class, or homework. This makes a huge difference in how I feel about my sport. For me, if my sport isn’t the only thing I am doing, then it doesn’t feel all-consuming.

4. Surrounding Myself with Good Humans

Your network of people is so so so important for your mental health as a student-athlete. My teammates are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They are always there for a hug, a dance party before we race, or just a good talk. We are all so connected because we really understand what it feels like to be a swimmer. But also, the people I have met here at Bentley outside of swim are such good outlets for me and I have found that has had a really positive impact on my mental state. I think it takes time to figure out which people are your people on campus, but it is so worthwhile.

Taylor White

Bentley '26

Hi everyone, my name's Taylor and I'm a sophomore at Bentley University majoring in Finance and an interest in minoring in Sustainability! I am originally from Canada but grew up on a tiny island called Bermuda which I now call home. I love swimming, the environment, my family and anything to do with music!