A student athlete, by definition, is any student who has had eligibility, or who has previously been approved by a coach, for a sport for a given year. Excluding student coaches and managers, each student is accounted for once, despite if they participate in multiple sports. In 2014, 58 percent of Graceland University were student athletes. I’m here to discuss the other 42 percent: the full-time students. The other half of campus is comprised of non-athletes, either being the head of a house, working, or just wanting to focus on our studies. There are many perceptions of a full-time student, as there are many for the student-athlete. As a full-time student, we aren't held to the sane standards that athletes on campus are. We have limited excuses to not being in class; we are encouraged to take on more courses; or to pick up a part-time job, either due to finances or just to pass the time.
As a full-time student we aren't expected to be anywhere that we don't choose to be. Unlike athletes, we don't have coaches making sure we’re attending classes and keeping our grades up, we have to learn personal time-management, and to put responsibility solely on ourselves. Leading with school work and time management, we also have a different socializing aspect on campus. We aren't meshed in with the 58% of student athletes during preseason, so we get to pick and choose who we want to be, with whom we want to interact with; and these can lead to negative and positive attributes.
Negative: we don't have a safety-net of a team to fall back on when no one wants to hang out with us. Positive: you can meet different athletes from all over and not be confined or judging of other sports and athletes. Negative: there is a stigma everywhere you go that's placed on your team that you're now apart of. Positive: know one knows who you are. You can have a chance to branch out and become a “new you”. You can join as many extra circulars as you want, or as less as you want. You have your own personal choice of evolvement. And with Graceland being such a small community, you must embrace interaction and engage with others, or face being alone in a small world. With this “forced interaction”, that such a small school creates we get to know everyone by either athletics or class. Which isn't as bad as it may sound. This is my third year at Graceland and there's been a wave of relief as my classes are becoming more major geared and you are sitting among your undergraduate colleagues rather than a mass of nameless faces.
Funding: something that students as well as student-athletes forget is almost everyone's problem. For those of us that aren't an athlete, we don't have to leisure of a scholarship to play our favorite sport in return to go to college and pay for our tuition. We have to resort to other resources like, loans, grants, other scholarships or work-study arrangements to stay in school. So not that it isn't entirely impossibly to find funding, but we do have to search for multitudes of alternatives.
We as the other 42% are more than bodies in the seats. Call us crazy, but we actually enjoy watching our athletes play! We want to see you all win, and we hope our bodies in the seats are mental and physical support for you to play hard and take the W. So please don’t acknowledge us as the other 42% or geeks and supporters but know for a fact that we choose to sit and watch your games and not do something else with our free-time (which isn't as much as you'd think). Graceland University isn't something we’re forced to represent or be prideful of. We actually have PRIDE! It's community built and gained from all our experiences. Either by sporting events, watching our athletes, joining all the clubs on the first day, taking on new and scary jobs, writing a blog post for your school, or even just sitting in the swarm and interacting with your fellow colleagues. So, in an end we are all Graceland University, in a nutshell. Who you are, defines what you do. Which is apart of the Graceland Experience: finding your passion! And how we all come together in this one-horse town is what makes our pride so strong and our memories ever lasting.