Life of a student athlete

Rick Gomez

What’s harder than maintaining good grades when you are taking more than 12 units?

Maintaining them while you are hitting a .944 slugging percentage with a record-breaking 15 home runs in a season.

It’s her first year at Cerritos College as well as her first season with its softball team and catcher Samantha Vaaulu has already become a member of the student-athlete family.

Vaaulu expressed the struggles of being a student-athlete and adjusting to the transition from high school to college.

“It’s hard to get used to,” she said.

Fortunately, she said, she has the help and encouragement from her mom who was also a student athlete.

Other athletes such as forward Jeremiah Barnes of the Cerritos College basketball team believes being a student-athlete in college is difficult.

“Your teachers don’t care about your sports and your coach doesn’t care about your classes,” he said.

Another problem facing student-athletes is the pressure to perform on and off the court.

“There is a lot more pressure to perform in college,” Barnes said. “In high school, you don’t have to worry as much.”

Although a 2.0 is the grade point average athletes are required to maintain, he maintains a 3.2 GPA.

There is much sacrifice given while being a student-athlete he explained.

“During basketball season, there is no Playstation, there is no girlfriend,” he added. “There is no social life at all.”

During his freshmen season, besides going to classes and playing on the basketball team, he also worked the graveyard shift at Federal Express.

“During my breaks all I would do is study,” he said. “This past year I had to quit my job and concentrate on school and basketball.”

Barnes is transferring to Dixie State in Utah after this semester.

A life outside of school and sports is difficult to find when trying to balance a good performance on the field and in the classroom, said the defensive back of the Cerritos College football team, Eric Russell.

He elaborates, “If your friends are not on the football team, then you don’t see them.”

Basketball head coach Jesse Teplitzky stressed a lot on the academics, according to Barnes.

“If you didn’t go to class, you didn’t play,” he said.