My cleats are not an indicator of my intelligence. The shin guards in my bag do not stop me from understanding a lecture. The sweats I wear do not lower my IQ. Being a student athlete does not make me a dumb jock. Nevertheless, when I wear my navy Nike running shoes to class that is how I am perceived.
Many of my fellow classmates and professors have their preconceived notions of how a student athlete “struggles” in the classroom. They think that without a sport, there would be no chance of us ever being able to attend Georgetown. These same people often do not think of the five hours each day we dedicate to our sports during season. They do not think of the late nights in the library after games. They do not think of the weekends we have to hop on planes to travel to away games. They do not think of scheduling classes around the 5-hour blocks “conveniently” placed in the middle of the day, therefore assuring an 8:00 a.m. class and a 7:00 p.m. one each Monday and Wednesday. They don’t think about us.
Being on a sports team at Georgetown is like going to school and balancing a full-time job. We must meet the demands of both our professors and our coaches, while constantly striving to better ourselves and prove our disbelievers wrong. On top of all this, we are trying to find internships, make friends and enjoy the few years we have in college. This is a lot for any 20-something year old to handle.
However, as a member of the Georgetown men’s soccer team, I can confidently say that my teammates and I have proven that we deserve to be at this university and we have conquered the tasks we have set for ourselves. We have a team GPA over a 3.0, plenty of Big East All Academic awards and our alumni have gone on to be very successful. At the beginning of our 2014 Fall season, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (a former Georgetown soccer player) held an alumni banquet that allowed the current players to meet many other individuals that faced these same negative stereotypes. Here, I met attorneys, doctors, government officials, professors and everything in between. All of these men used the adversity as fuel to get to where they are today. To follow in these players’ steps is a big deal to my team and something that we will not mess up by slacking in the classroom.
Competitiveness is in each student athlete’s blood. It is the reason we are at the school we are today and it is the reason we are still succeeding in the classroom. We constantly strive to do better than our teammates on tests and papers, but we simultaneously push each other to succeed. When we need homework explained, we explain it. When we need someone to edit a paper, we edit it. My teammates have taught me more than just how to play soccer — they have also shown me how to be a successful Georgetown student. From tables at Lau to silent study time on bus rides, we are constantly seeking to create an environment that allows us to prosper in the classroom.
Being a Georgetown athlete has allowed me to combine my love for soccer with my love for academics. Although some of my fellow students may not believe in me, I have my teammates at my back to reassure that I can handle Georgetown.
I am not simply a dumb jock.
Anderson de Andrade is a sophomore in the College. The Side Effect appears every other Wednesday on thehoya.com.