By MEGHAN GRAHAM
Class. Lunch. Class. Work. Practice. Dinner. Homework, if time allows. Sleep. That was my schedule as a varsity athlete at the University of Mary Washington, which resulted in a two-month long cold and earache that I personally attribute to exhaustion. Students need time to succeed in school and participation in a varsity sport on top of a job and a ghost of a social life does not leave much of it.
Because of this, the University of Mary Washington should reward the dedication of its Division III athletes with scholarship money, or at least more than one measly academic credit. Juggling a full college course load, a job, and a social life is difficult enough. Add playing a varsity sport, and one of these balls has to drop.
I played volleyball here at UMW as a freshman in the fall of 2008. I did not have a job and was only taking 12 credits. This was manageable with participation in varsity athletics. But, during the next season in the fall of 2009, I was taking 15 credits, had a job, and tried unsuccessfully to have a social life. With practices, games and tournaments, I felt like I never had a moment to breathe, let alone do homework or hang out with friends.
Awarding athletic scholarships would level the playing field for students who would otherwise have to maintain a job to afford school. It would allow athletes to focus more on schoolwork, as well as improve their game.
I love playing volleyball and was proud to represent UMW on the court, even if it was only for two years. I commend those athletes that have stuck with the athletic program for all four years—you have found the magic recipe that I could not.
Perhaps, if UMW had offered scholarships to their athletes, I, among many other Division III athletes, would have been able to continue playing college athletics.