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4 Reasons Why College Isn’t That Much Different from the Olympics


Finally, the Olympics are here!  I enjoy these few weeks every other year and always look forward to seeing athletes from around the world compete.  I’m sure the majority of people have at least once remotely thought about/dreamed/wished they were an Olympic athlete.  As I sat on the couch at my apartment at UE in between class and a meeting, pondering about how tired I was, how I had to do laundry later, and my busy day the next day, I realized—being a college student isn’t toooo far from being an Olympic athlete.  And here’s why:

1.  We work our whole lives for college.

It seems like from preschool on, we have a pencil in our hand.  (Olympic athletes probably hold both a pencil and a snowboard, pair of ice skates, curling brush, etc.)  We’re being prepped for our futures, learning about several subjects and being encouraged to do our best.  Especially in high school, there are more pressures to get good grades and work hard in school, because for many teenagers, life after high school includes college.  Junior and senior years of high school are focused on targeting what we want to major in and selecting which college is right for us.  Then finally, after much hard work—reading, writing, spelling, adding, subtracting, etc.—we finally reach the goal:  college!

2.  During those four years of prep for the real world, we focus intensely on one thing:  our future career.

Olympic athletes spend at least four years intensely working toward the big event.  College students spend an average of four years completing coursework and getting experience for life after graduation, their “real job.”  There are gen eds and other commitments, but for the most part, our time is preparing for our future, for our hopefully lifelong career.  Like athletes who may spend what seems like 90% of their time on the ski slopes, college students may spend 90% of their time in a chemistry lab, a theater, or, like me, a practice room and in ensemble rehearsals.

3.  We’re constantly being tested and pushed to do our best.

Preliminary competitions ensue for Olympians, and they’re continually being tested and judged before and after making the Olympic team.  Competition can be rough.  Although circumstances are different, college students face tests often and are pushed to achieve high grades and finish assignments to the best of their ability.  Although athletes may not enjoy every minute of the hours of hard work they put into training, I think it’s safe to say that competing in the Olympics is worth it.  I don’t enjoy every moment I practice violin or jump up and down each time a paper is assigned, but I know that in the end, pain is gain. (Disclaimer:  in my own experience, I would only consider a small percentage of my time in college as “painful” :)

4.  Most people wouldn’t trade their time in college for anything.

I would imagine most if not all of Olympians would admit that they wouldn’t trade participating in the Games for anything.  As a senior about to graduate college, I completely agree.  I wouldn’t trade any of it—the sleep deprivation, hours spent in practice rooms, dinner with friends, late night movies—for anything.  I’ve gained an incredible amount of real world experience and had a ton of fun.  Graduation, or the “G word”, as my friends and I now call it (as it shall not be named), is coming up a bit too quickly.  We’re trying our best to make the most out of our final months and weeks.


Didn’t fulfill your dream of becoming an Olympic athlete?  Not to worry; go to college instead.  


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