Off the Beaten Track: The Experience of a Student Athlete

Britton Gagliardi, Political Science. IR and ECON minor. Class of 2019.

Often times, movies and television portray the life of a student athlete as glamorous and enviable. These students skate by with barely passing grades, have all the friends imaginable, and always find ways of getting out of their assignments. However, as a student athlete at Saint Joseph’s University, I can ensure you this life does not exist in reality. My name is Britton Gagliardi, and I am a senior Political Science major and an International Relations and Economics double minor. In addition to my academic pursuits at SJU, I am also a member of our NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor Track teams. My time as a student athlete has provided me with countless rewarding opportunities at SJU, but I have also faced numerous challenges and hurdles.

britton1Since I had been involved in athletics throughout high school, I entered my freshman year of college thinking that my time management skills were rather proficient. However, it did not take long into my first semester to realize college was much more difficult than high school. Within the first week of school I was hit by a whirlwind of assignments and grueling practices. I quickly realized that the intensity of both school and running had been elevated. Throughout my three years at SJU, I have not perfected my time management skills, but they have improved immensely from my first few weeks at college. I have learned the importance of fitting in a few pages of reading while waiting for practice to begin or utilizing our long bus rides to study for an exam or a write a paper. Being a student athlete has made me realize that there are only twenty-four hours in a day, and between class, practice, and making sure I get enough sleep, I need to make sure I productively use every minute. Thus, rather than hindering my academic career, my athletic commitment has greatly benefitted my study habits and has instilled in me the skills that are necessary to succeed.

Furthermore, my experience as a student athlete has taught me the importance of communication and has allowed me to develop meaningful relationships with my professors. As an athlete, I am obligated to miss numerous days of class in order to travel to different races and meets. Over the past three years, I have learned the importance of communicating with my professors about my scheduled absences and ensuring them that it will not affect my commitment to their classes. When missing class for an athletic event, I found that it is important to notify my professors, and make sure they know I will reach out to a classmate for notes and stay on top of the course material. Throughout my communication with the International Relations and Political Science departments, my professors have been more than accommodating to my athletic schedule. In addition, as a result of my regular emails and visits during office hours, I have developed valuable relationships with many professors within the department. Therefore, even though life as a student athlete can be stressful at times, it has presented me with countless opportunities to enhance my academic experience at SJU.



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