Right now as I am writing this, it’s 12:40 a.m. on a Wednesday. I am in the library and the announcer just made the we-are-kicking-you-out-in-20-minutes announcement. It is late, but I just got my coffee from the Motley an hour ago, so, well, not that late yet. Sometimes, I wonder what role swim plays in my life, besides keeping me healthy and fit. I don’t mean the physical aspect of me at all; just how does swim affect the non-physical-me part of life? I’d say it really dictates my schedule. It forces me to manage my time better, and arrange and rearrange other commitments.
Coming to college fresh out of high school, I guess I was expecting college to be an easier version of high school. This is not because I thought I was good enough to cruise through college, but more because my high school gave everybody the impression that college would be easier, that we are basically set after we graduate from high school. So naturally, I thought I could just cruise through it the same way I did in high school. Perhaps my transition into college would have been smoother if I wasn’t part of the swim team, though now I do not regret joining at all. But high school seasons ran for only three months at most, and there were no mandatory morning practices. The seven-practices-a-week college routine, with two morning and five afternoon practices and a Saturday home meet, simply blew me away. Man, looking back, that went from 0 to 100 slightly too quickly.
As a first-year in college, I was told to experience everything: join clubs, attend different events, explore interests and develop passions. So I took up a bunch of other commitments. But that, plus swim, obliterated me. Grades came out during winter training: They were bad. So I thought about what I could do, and a solution came up—better time management.
Finishing everything assigned on the same day was hard to get used to in the beginning. But eventually I got used to it and school days became a lot smoother. You would be surprised by how much you can accomplish if you are willing to push through the distractions. (I know it is kind of ironic that I am still awake at this hour, but this week is an exception.) Swim packs my schedule in a way in which I cannot afford to get behind on my work, or else I’ll suffer the next day. What’s cool, though, is that I also get more free time than I did last semester. I suppose sports are such a great commitment that their place in my schedule forces me to manage my time and be more productive. So yes, swim packs my schedule tightly, but just enough for me to have some breathing room. It trains my time management skills, and overall makes me a more efficient person.