Contrary to popular belief, the life of a Division 1 student athlete is no easy task. Most people find it hard to see past all the glamour as athletes seem to get everything they want, and get it for free. While there are a lot of perks to being a college athlete, going to class and doing school work is still a requirement. 

Just like every other college student, student athletes have to be able to manage their time effectively. According to Presley Weems, a junior on the cross country and track and field teams, the hardest part about being a college student athlete is, “Time. Time is the hardest thing to conquer. Being precise and timely is important every day in order to accomplish school, practice, and recovery”. 

Everything matters, from eating right to sleeping enough at night as well as attending all classes, tutoring sessions and practices. For Presley, the hardest part about playing a sport in college at the Division 1 level “is definitely always being tired both physically and mentally”. There is a lot of pressure and expectation placed on athletes of all ages, but especially in college. 

There is no perfect way to manage your time and, “I sometimes feel like this is constantly something I am still attempting to figure out. I try to view my time as valuable and in turn this helps me to prioritize what is important to me. I want to do well in both running and school and therefor I am forced to plan my day accordingly and be on the go constantly. I think one thing that helps me most is telling myself I need good sleep so that I can rest and recover in order to be able to run. This reminds me that school must be done throughout the day because I cannot stay up late studying. It helps me to think this way in order to hold myself accountable and accomplish what I need to”.  

Sports are important, especially to those select few that get to continue to pursue their passions past high school. Each athlete is motivated and inspired in different ways. “I have many people who influence and inspire me to do better such as family and friends. However, one thing that really helps me to continue to work every day is knowing that there are a lot of people who have the same goals as me and they are working to get better each day too. I am motivated by being better than others and making sure that I am doing what I can to be the best I possibly can be”, says Weems. 

Presley Weems | Auburn Track and Field Athelte

She also looks up to professional runner, Colleen Quigley. Quigley is a professional American middle distance-runner for the Nike Bowerman Track Club who placed 8th in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Most recently, she finished second in the NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the prestigious Millrose Games at the historic Amory in New York.

Another important factor in a student athletes life is food. When to eat, what to eat and how much to eat haunts every athlete at all points during their careers. While Weems does not admit to dieting, she claims to be very aware of what she puts in her body and how that will affect her performance on the track as well as in the classroom. “There are no particular foods I swear by but consuming whole real food products are important to me”. She does have one habit when it comes to eating and that is eating oatmeal on race day. Presley’s goals for the upcoming season include scoring at SECs and getting a regional qualifier, “I want to PR in my events as well but making it to the next round is definitely more important to me and hopefully the times will come with that”. To see some of what a cross country and track and field athlete like Presley eats at this level, follow @_getinmybellyyy_ on instagram.

Here is what a typical day in the life during cross country season looks like for Presley: 

“During cross country I usually wake up about 5:20 and go to practice. After practice I    hurry to breakfast and then head to class. Following class, I usually have one to two    tutors about three days a week. After my tutors and class, I usually volunteer in the    Watson Fieldhouse in the fueling station and find time for lunch in between or during my    tutors and volunteering. When I finish with volunteering and tutors I use my afternoon to    double with a run or a weight session about three days a week and the training room each    afternoon. I like to eat early so dinner usually happens at about 5pm for me and from    there I head home to do homework and attempt to be in bed around 9pm”. 

More facts about Presley Weems:

Favorite pre-race pump up song: “SICKO MODE” by Travis Scott (but it can vary) 

Favorite venue to race at: The Amory in New York

If not track then: Basketball 

Favorite quote: “You are only as good as you are today.” This quote is something my dad has been saying since I was a kid. It has always helped to keep me grounded and to remember that while celebrating the victories in life are important, so is never growing complacent.