15 Crucial Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Being A College Athlete


1. Life is about playing well with others.

No matter if you’re on the field, in a classroom, or in the corporate world, you must know how to put a smile on your face, how to support a teammate or colleague, and how to be selfless. There’s never a moment in life when you won’t have to deal with other people. Knowing how to be honest, supportive, and non-a$$holey is essential.

2. Sometimes you’re only as strong as the person next to you.

You can try to carry the team on your back, but eventually you’re going to get tired. You’re going to have to pass the ball, or rely on someone to make the play. As much as you try to control the outcome of a game, or a real-life situation, you just can’t. This is where leaning on others, and building others up is so important.

3. What matters is how you get up.

You’re going to mess up, miss the ball, miss the shot, strike out. But what matters is how you get the next play, how you react the next inning, how you keep playing. It’s not about what you do in one specific situation—it’s how you continue.

4. You won’t always be perfect, and this is okay.

Perfection isn’t real. You can (and should) try to be your best, but know that you won’t ever reach the level of flawlessness. And that doesn’t make you any less of a person.

5. Life is about finding a balance.

Between work and play, between training and resting, between being hard on yourself and self-love. Balance is good. Balance is healthy.

6. You are your own worst enemy.

You’ll always remember your mistakes. The world won’t. Learn to let go and forgive yourself. Always push yourself to be better, but don’t bury yourself with your failures. Life’s too short to hang things over your own head.

7. You can always accomplish more than you think.

From the amount of physical strain to a heavy workload, you can always handle more than you imagined. So don’t shy away from adventure, from competition, from challenges. These moments will give you the greatest sense of success and strength.

8. There is nothing more valuable than a positive mindset.

Positive thinking changes everything, from the direction of a ball game to the course of a workday. Thinking about the good keeps the bad from creeping into places it doesn’t belong.

9. A rush is good, but you must also know how to slow down.

Getting caught up and living in the moment is amazing, but you must also learn how to embrace the slow, the quiet, and the peaceful. Learning to work efficiently in both environments is important.

10. You won’t always like everyone, but you must always be kind.

You’re going to have sh*tty teammates, annoying colleagues, crappy friends. But treating people terribly gets you nowhere, remember that.

11. Mental strength is just as important as physical strength.

Sure, being physically strong is great, but what’s so often overlooked is the mental side. Find ways to strengthen and encourage your mind—this will help you find your way out of everything from the most difficult games to the toughest, most emotional situations in your life.

12. Food, sleep, water, and laughter are the true necessities of life.

So sleep plenty, eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and learn to laugh, even when you’re hurting.

13. Faith and love can, and should, be found in every aspect of your life.

There’s nothing wrong with praying before a game or seeking God when you’ve reached your wit’s end at work. There’s nothing wrong with loving the people around you. Don’t feel that you must keep your faith or love out of the sport you play or work that you do.

14. Being confident isn’t a bad thing.

When you work hard and do your best, you deserve to be proud of yourself. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your own success (as long as you understand the line between confidence and cockiness).

15. Life is hard.

And will always be hard, no matter how we try to plan or organize or fix it. This is okay. Just keep moving forward. Keep battling injuries or regaining focus after tough games. Keep pursuing the job you love. Keep on keepin’ on. Life continues, and so will you.