What is a typical college athlete's day REALLY like? I asked one:
Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I'd like to do a few more NIL deals over the next three months. Last year, I paid a series of athletes to promote Extra Points on their social media channels. This year, I wanted to try something a little different...I wanted to use my NIL budget to help showcase what current athletes think about major issues in college sports.
It's one thing for me to talk to administrators and ask about athlete travel, realignment, NIL, health care, education, or a gazillion other topics that impact college sports. It's another thing to hear directly from the people impacted the most by those decisions...the athletes themselves.
For today's newsletter, I'd like to turn the time over to Alexandra Chlumsky, a pole vaulter for Notre Dame. Alexandra wanted to share what a typical day for her actually looks like. As we write about athlete travel, or NIL, or academic achievement...it's worth keeping in mind what their typical days are like.
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And with that, let me pass the mic over to Alexandra. I don't want to spoil the story for you, but I will say this. After reading and editing this....whew do I feel like a lazy bum now.
A day in my life:
Where do I begin?
My name is Alexandra Chlumsky and I am a pole vaulter at The University of Notre Dame. It wasn’t until college that pole vaulting really became an identifying feature of mine. In high school, it was class secretary, cheerleader, homecoming court, or the girl who really wanted to go to Notre Dame.
Track and Field definitely has some great perks and has given me amazing opportunities, but that is just one side of my life as a student-athlete. In order to really understand what life as a Notre Dame athlete is really like, I thought I’d take you through a typical schedule of mine.
For reference, I am beginning to type this on a bus ride to our competition tomorrow.
Bing bing bing. Snooze. My first alarm just went off at 8:30 AM. I can’t complain, an 8:30 wake-up is really not too bad. I get dressed and have my bag packed so I can head to class and grab some breakfast before my 9:30 class. I usually get a tea and a croissant and read emails, the Morning Brew, and maybe the Wordle if I’m feeling adventurous.
I go to class from 9:30-1:45 and head straight to lunch to try to beat the rush. On this day in particular, I have Macroeconomics and Existential Philosophy. Normally I make a big salad or eat a quesadilla and try to find a prime-time seat in a booth of North Dining Hall. I made sure to pack my practice clothes the night before because I knew I wouldn’t have time to go home until the day was officially over.
Notre Dame is pretty unique in that there are no designated “athlete dorms”. Every student, athlete or not. is randomly assigned a dorm and roommate in the summer before freshman year.
After eating, I heads to the training room to get my ankle taped and do a little bit of rehab. At this point, it is around 2:30 PM. I chat with our trainers for a bit and keep my laptop open so I can finish my Econ homework before the 11PM deadline later that night.
I hurry to practice so I can be there by 3:30 to warm up with the team, do some sprinting, and get some good jumps in. During practice, I’m thinking...how will I finish my homework in time? I still have a 100-page reading to do! And shoot, I work my part-time job tonight too!
Practice normally is about two hours long Monday through Saturday. Depending on our workout of the day, we could start any time between 2 and 4:30. I leave practice and go straight back to the North Dining Hall to get a quick bite with two of my best friends.
They invite me to do some homework in the library, but I have to decline because I blocked out the 7:30-9:30 PM time slot for my university job. I make phone calls for the school's Alumni Association.
You might be thinking...Wouldn’t the evening be a good time to take a shower, do your homework, or maybe go home? - you’d be exactly right. However, I love my campus job and I’m willing to make it work.
I’ve noticed during my time working for the Alumni Association that I’m the only athlete worker. A few of my teammates also have jobs, but they usually are a little more flexible or can be done from home. One of my best friends creates a podcast and interviews different entrepreneurs for Notre Dame’s IDEA Center. I have another friend who works at a cafe in the library and works a few hours a week when she can.
It's difficult to not get stuck in your typical routine as a student-athlete! Work allows me to meet some great people I may not have met otherwise. Having an on-campus job can truthfully be refreshing because your eyes are opened up to a completely different friend group and lifestyle on campus.
I go to the south side of campus and put my AirPods in so I can speak with my property manager about my lease for senior year. I quickly swipe my card and head down to the call center in the basement of a building right near the bookstore.
I go to my computer and begin calling different alumni, donors, and friends of the university. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with others who love Notre Dame, especially when I can connect with former athletes.
Once the clock hits 9:30, it’s time to stop calling, swipe out, and finally head home. By the time I’m home, it’s just about 10’o’clock and I’m still in my practice clothes from 3:30. It’s time to take a shower and finally ease into bed.
I know that may seem a little gross, but sometimes it doesn't make sense to go all the way home if I don't have a change of clothes handy or have the time.
But wait- no rest for the weary quite yet. I've still got that 100 page reading and the econ homework that's due in an hour. Plus, I have a Zoom with my group from another class about my next project with a consulting firm called West Monroe.
It definitely isn’t easy to balance it all. So far though, I've always managed to get it done. I've got my Google calendar down to a science.
I make it into bed around 1:00 AM and get ready for it all to begin again. I try to fit in a few pages of reading of my current book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (I’m trying to reduce screen time before bed).
This is just an example of one day in my life, minus the networking calls, hangouts with friends, or time talking to family.
Being a student-athlete at The University of Notre Dame has taught me how to maximize my efficiency and see how far I can truly push my limits.
I remember someone telling me once, “Alexandra, you only have so much time, and if you map it out and it doesn’t exist, it won’t work”. So I did map it out, and I remember calculating just how much I could really do. My involvement came out to 24 hours a week- That was without class. I wouldn’t say that is per se “normal”, but it has been my normal and I am grateful for it.
From a bus seat in Illinois,