Student athletes find time for school, sports and social lives


Loyola swimmer hits the pool in a meet. The swim team holds practices at six in the morning every day except for Sunday. Photo credit: Andres Fuentes

Brendan Heffernan

While most Loyola students are still dreaming of Orleans Room fried rice and cancelled classes, Loyola student-athletes have been awake for hours. While demanding practice schedules and challenging coursework often keeps student athletes busy from dusk till dawn, most find the challenge ultimately worthwhile.

Wolf Pack men’s basketball sophomore Myles Burns starts his days at 5 a.m., and finds himself often making sacrifices for the good of his team.

“We practice at least three times a day, whether it is on our own or with our coach.” said Burns. “A typical day for me is 6 a.m. practice, class, then weights followed by an extra gym session. We use the rest of the day to do homework and recover.”

However Burns isn’t bitter about his busy schedule, in fact, he credits it for keeping him on task.

“I always tell myself to look at the bigger picture. I sacrifice my social life and turn into a robot, but I enjoy it. It makes me productive and I get stuff done so I can enjoy myself later” Burns said. “The only thing I find particularly fun or challenging is waking up at 5 a.m. to get to practice early and bring the energy from the jump. It’s hard to get going that early.”

Track freshman John Lenyk finds his schedule similarly rewarding.

“My schedule is definitely busy but not overwhelming” said Lenyk. “Of course there’s some long nights of studying because of practices, but it’s worth it. To me, practices are a lot of fun and I look forward to them every day.”

When it comes to managing his time, Lenyk doesn’t see his schedule as anything insurmountable, “I get everything done just by learning and practicing good time management skills. Of course, in reality, it doesn’t always go as planned but more times than not if I manage my time right I’ll have everything done with some time to spare.”

Lenyk said he “uses every minute he can” to get his work done between practice and his classes in order for him to maintain his social life.

Swimming junior Parker Elliot describes his schedule as a mix of early mornings and long weekends.

“Typically, I wake up for swim around six, class after that, practice at 12:45, and then I have class until about four or five. After that, I’m home,” Elliot said. “Most of my schedule is fairly boring, except for a few classes and being a part of Pi Kappa Phi. It’s not impossible to balance a busy schedule if you are good about committing to finishing the tasks early.”

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Although student-athletes deal with fuller plates, few of them see their schedules as a barrier to a good college experience.