By: Jami Derflinger
Change is hard and something that a lot of people have a difficult time getting used to; from middle school to junior high to high school, and ,finally, to college. Every high schooler dreams of the day they’ll finally graduate. They imagine all the smiles, laughs, and tears. The summer after you graduate high school is one that you’ll never forget. It’s like you’re experiencing freedom for the first time… until August rolls around. The reality sets in, and you realize that in a few short weeks you’ll be all on your own in a completely new setting with unfamiliar faces. College is a hard adjustment for anyone, but even more so if you’re a college rodeo athlete.
The most difficult thing about being a college rodeo athlete is somehow trying to find the time to get everything done. Between classes, having a job, practicing, and doing homework, it gets a little overwhelming at times. Here are some ways that I manage my time while keeping my sanity:
Work for someone who has somewhat of a rodeo background who will let you have flexible hours. Rodeo is an expensive sport and you’re more than likely going to need a job to help cover all of the different expenses. If you can work for someone who understands the responsibilities of rodeo and lets you have a flexible schedule, it will highly reduce your stress. I work at a daycare and am able to do my homework while the kids take their naps and am able to leave early on the days that I have rodeo practice conflicting with work.
If you have your first class of the day at 9 or later, get up early and get your horses rode. Sleeping in might seem much better, but there’s no better feeling than having one less thing to do when you get done with classes and work. It will free up your afternoons and allow you to get caught up on homework or whatever else you need to get done.
Take online classes and work ahead. Taking online classes will give you a little more freedom with your time. It also pays off when you have to be gone every Thursday and Friday for college rodeos. You don’t have to worry about missing class, falling behind, and having angry professors.
Form a close bond with the other members of your rodeo team. Things are going to go bad, sooner or later. Your pickup will break down, you’ll get a flat tire on your trailer, or your bit might break before a run. The best thing about rodeo is the people who are always willing to help a person in need. If you have a good relationship with the other people on your team, you’ll never have to worry about having to deal with these kinds of problems on your own. They will always be willing to lend a helpful hand. And the best part about your teammates being your closest friends? They understand how busy you are and won’t get upset with you if you have to bail on plans.
If you have a two hour break between classes, skip the nap and hit the gym instead. You’ll be in better shape to compete and you’ll feel more accomplished when you’re done. There has never been a workout that I’ve regretted.
Go for it. Do whatever it takes to win. Condition your horse that extra mile. Buy the better feed supplement. Do one more rep at the gym. Work harder than anyone else. You won’t believe the confidence you’ll have knowing you and your horse are both in the best possible shape. Just put your all into everything you do.
March 4, 2017