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I have heard several writing assistants complain about working with student athletes. The main complaints are basically that student-athletes come to the tutoring center unprepared, with mediocre and incomplete assignments, and with a care-less attitude. Many tutors feel frustrated working with student-athletes because tutors feel like student-athletes are not interested in learning and actually improving their writing skills. And if the student-athletes themselves don’t care about their grade, why should we, the tutors, care?
Many tutors feel unenthusiastic about working with student athletes because of the belief that the session will be tedious and that they will be basically talking to a wall for 30 minutes. However, this is a misconception, and tutors should give student-athletes a chance before stereotyping them as poor writers. Athletes, in fact, are extremely smart. They have leadership skills, strong teamwork values, and they enjoy challenges and competition. Additionally, athletes really care about their grades. They have to maintain a certain GPA to be eligible to compete, and they have to complete their degrees and graduate in four years, because they are only eligible to compete with the NCAA for four years.
The main issue with student athletes is their time management. They have to comply with their obligations as an athlete just as much as they have to comply with their academic ones. They have a lot less room for procrastination than a normal student, and having to cleverly organize their time every single day is not an easy task. The idea of student athletes not caring is entirely a misconception. If they come to a session unprepared, it is not because they do not care, it is because they didn’t organize their time wisely enough to be on top of the assignment. If they are having a hard time focusing it is because they probably are physically taxed because of practices and competitions, which affects their mental energy and ability to concentrate.
We often make the mistake of judging student-athletes before even working with them. We should give athletes a chance, because in fact, they require more help than ordinary students. We need to be more patient with them, and if they adopt a negative attitude, instead of us adopting the same attitude, we should help them to change it in order to create a proactive environment.