Winter break is not really a break for student-athletes

Coming back to school after a long winter break is something students often do not look forward to. For student-athletes that participate in sports, the narrative is not the same.

For many college students, there is almost no better feeling than finishing that last final and hopping in a car packed with your belongings to head back home for a month without having to stress about any school assignments.

For student-athletes that participate in winter sports, a month-long break is more of a one-week break, if that.

For many Division I student-athletes that participate in winter sports like basketball, many do not even have the chance to go home, meaning they may even spend Christmas with their teammates as opposed to with their families.

Being a member of the Wilkes men’s basketball team, a division III school, our winter break only lasted five days. Although break was shorter for us compared to our fellow peers, it is not as bad as non-student-athletes would think.

Even though campus is pretty much dead since everyone else is back at home, our only responsibility was basketball.

Being back at school during break gives collegiate athletes a small taste of what it is like to be a professional athlete. Like professional athletes, going to practice and games is what our quote on quote job was, which leaves a ton of free time.

No matter whether you are a student-athlete or a regular college student, we are so accustomed to constantly having something to do, that we generally do not know what to do with so much free time.

While you are home on a month long winter break, a student can occupy that free time by doing things like hang out with friends and family, play video games, read books, and many other activities. For student-athletes that are on campus during break, it can be even harder to decide what to do with that free time.

Whenever we did not have a practice, game, or a team activity, it was hard to decide what to do with so much free time because the cafeteria is closed, and are often alone unless the student-athlete has a roommate that is also on the team.

To combat the issue, the school loaded each player with money on their flex dollars, which is a form of money on a student ID accepted at particular restaurants and establishments, and would periodically be given cash that we could use outside of those establishments that do not accept flex dollars.

Also, we were given meals before and after games and even practice sometimes.

Personally, being at campus instead at home on break is something that is relaxing and gives a sense of independence as you are forced to do most things on your own.

Next time you are at home for during winter break catching up on Netflix and have a friend that has to stay on campus for a sport, do not be afraid to reach out to them because like you, there is a good chance they also do not know what to do with all their free time.