A personal guide to being an online student-athlete


Photo by Bia Leffingwell

Bia Leffingwell ‘22 writes out her schedule for the next day so she can budget her time wisely.

Bia Leffingwell, Staff Writer

Online school was not a new experience for me when the Coronavirus hit; while E-Learning caused many difficulties for others, it, in fact, made my life a lot easier. When I turned 10, I started competing intensely for horseback riding; during the winter, I would travel to Wellington, Florida to compete. This was not an easy task, as having a student who was not in person for several consecutive months was very new for my teachers. Wellington has been deemed as the “horse capital” of the world, in which horseback riders of all levels compete for a 12-week circuit to qualify for bigger championships later in the year. For this previous season, the Winter Equestrian Festival was the main circuit to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. This changed due to the Coronavirus, and now the upcoming season will be crucial for those athletes to try to qualify for the 2021 Olympics, or any other major events of the year. 

As I got older, school got harder, and I had to juggle a more avid competition schedule with harder schoolwork. There weren’t any Zoom meetings nor any recorded lessons- just notes that I would look at everyday. When LFA went online, I felt ready. I already knew how to balance a busy schedule and copious amounts of schoolwork. 

Being away from in-person learning is never easy, but I’ve learned strategies that work for me and may work for you as well. Taking time for yourself, staying true to the schedule you implement, and balancing out your priorities are the main importances. 

The first step to being a student athlete, or really any busy student, is creating a schedule. Whether it’s in your head or written down, organizing yourself and creating a schedule for each day allows comfort in your busy day. Be able to create slots of time for your sport and for school, but also for some personal time. It’s also important to recognize which one comes first- is school more important, or is your sport the top priority? 

This may not be easy, especially for an avid athlete who travels or spends a lot of time doing the sport they love. Doing homework at the end of the day may take some time, as your sport will easily tire you out during the day. Remember that your teachers are there to help you- if you need extra time on an assignment, and you explain your situation in an efficient way, chances are your teacher will allow for some extra time or help. 

Being a remote or hybrid learner is a challenge, but in the end it has its benefits. You have more time to do your sport or hobby, spend time with family, and take some time for yourself in the comfort of your own home. So, take a deep breath and communicate with the adults in your life to create the best system for you. 

Online learning may seem scary, or like a chore, but it is also a great opportunity to create more time to do the things you love. Stay organized, stay diligent, and most importantly, make sure you do what’s best for you and your health!  Believe me, it can be done.