On the Internet, there have been a myriad of online “memes” about student athletes staying “on the grind.” The Internet posts typically make fun of student-athletes who brag about having to stay on top of both their sporting events and academics. Although I am involved in other extracurricular activities, I am far from a student-athlete; in fact, I only exercise during PE class and though I found these posts funny enough to show my friends on Instagram, it piqued my curiosity as to how student athletes at SIS (Seoul International School) are impacted by their involvement in athletics, which consumes much of their time not only outside of school but also during school hours. At international schools in South Korea, student-athletes typically spend around two hours of practice every day after school and have to go to conferences and tournaments that will often cut into their fourth period class. I wanted to see how much being a student athlete truly impacted their studies, so I conducted an interview with two students at international schools who are wholly devoted to being both an excellent student and star player in their teams.
Who are you, and what team do you currently play on?
Student 1: My name is Robyn An, and I am a right-wing player on the Korean national ice hockey U18 (Under 18-Years-Old) team.
|[A photo of Robyn An (Right) and Rachel Lee (Left) mid-interview, Photo courtesy of Jasmine Ko]|
Student 2: I’m Sumin Jeon and I’m the shortstop player on the Concordia International School Shanghai Varsity Softball team.
How long have you been playing your sport, and how has it impacted you ever since?
Robyn: I think I’ve definitely developed a better work ethic than most kids my age have since I’ve played competitive ice hockey since the second grade. Ice hockey is really demanding and challenging, and I’ve learned to cooperate better with others and build teamwork due to this. I also think I’ve built better social skills after joining ice hockey, since you have to travel a lot with your teammates overseas and meet new people frequently.
|[Robyn An poses for a photo with her hockey stick in Finland, where she
recently played in a series of scrimmages, Photo courtesy of Robyn An]
Sumin: I’ve always enjoyed watching baseball since I lived in Beijing, but I started to play softball in the sixth grade in Seoul. I think playing softball has helped me to work better in a team. It also helped me gain leadership skills because the position I played (shortstop) required a lot of mentoring and leading on the field.
How has being an athlete interfered with or benefitted your academics?
Robyn: It’s definitely harder to balance things as a sophomore with my hockey practices and games. It’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a social life, and good grades as a normal student alone, but adding in athletics that I have to make a big commitment to makes things even more stressful.
Sumin: It actually helped me as a student because it provided me with an opportunity to let out some stress. Although some may consider it just an extracurricular, for me, playing on the softball team was a chance to do something I actually enjoyed for once during school. However, because I have many hours of practice after school and it takes me an hour to get home, I definitely have less time than my friends to study for tests, and I’m pretty exhausted as well.
|[A photo of the CISS (Concordia International School Shanghai) softball team
huddled up during the APAC Softball Conference, Photo courtesy of the CISS
Varsity Softball coach]
What would you like students to know about student-athletes?
Robyn: It’s really not easy to do everything at once. We have to make sacrifices and be responsible with both studying and playing your sport.
Sumin: Although participating in a sport requires a lot of time investment, and can be stressful at times, especially when there's a test the next day, I still think it is meaningful to participate in a sport. Not only do you feel rewarded when you win a game, but also, simply by playing a sport, you get to meet new people, experience working as a team, and perhaps develop your leadership skills - it's worth the effort and time that you invest.
Seoul International School
Rachel Lee email@example.com
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