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The Student-Athlete Juggling Act

Woman battling for soccer ball on soccer field in summer

By Sara Gouda

College is a tough transition for anyone. With a new campus and different courses, meeting deadlines and managing a new atmosphere can be overwhelming. Add to that a heavy commitment to a varsity team and that’s when the real challenge begins.

These two hardworking women at NAIT have been recommended by their coaches for maintaining a strong academic standing while being great athletes. They speak about their stories and struggles on how they manage to stay committed.

Woman battling for soccer ball on soccer field in summer
Photo by Railene Hooper

Sarah Moorji
Disaster and Emergency Managements’ student Sarah Moorji seems to have her favorite sport soccer under control.

Moorji managed to juggle soccer and her studies by balancing sports, school, family and friends. She said having a routine and setting goals allowed her to be her best at all times.

Like many athletes, Moorji was drawn to sports at a very young age. Her older brother made a huge impact in her choices today. Having an older brother allowed her to explore the different types of sports he played.

“I played with him at recess, in the backyard and in the living room. Ultimately, I never knew that soccer would shape my future,” said Moorji.

Scouted by nine top-level teams across the nation, Moorji attended soccer camps, academies and tryouts for elite teams. She said she had difficulties figuring out which post secondary school to attend.

“Academics [were] my ultimate decision factor and I couldn’t be more proud to have joined the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology,” she said.

“You must determine what works for you, everyone is different. For me, organizing, planning and scheduling was my key to success,” said Moorji when asked on how she multitasks. Moorji added that having a positive mindset and setting goals throughout the year helped her in managing her schoolwork and sport.

“As a student-athlete, you’re either travelling, studying or practicing. Time managements helped me achieve my goal of being on the honor roll and striving on the soccer field during all my three years at NAIT,” said Moorji.

woman shooting puck on hockey ice during hockey game
Photo by Railene Hooper

Cassidy Shandro
Another determined student athlete in a different sport is Cassidy Shandro. She has been playing hockey for 14 years and has a professional approach on the field and in the classroom. She has been juggling these two all her life.

Shandro is in NAIT’s Television & Radio Program. She said she keeps all important dates for deadlines written on her calendar.

“Time management is a key factor in managing school and hockey. I do my homework in between classes or after practice,” she said. Shandro also added that she does schoolwork on the bus when her team is on the road.

Like Moorji, Shandro also got into her preferred sport at a young age. She started skating lessons when she was only three years old. She was watching hockey with her father and immediately fell in love with the sport.

“When my mom asked me if I wanted to go back into skating lessons, I said no! I want to play hockey.14 years later, here I am, playing the game I love with people I love,” said Shandro.

Her advice for students who struggle to multitask is to stay organized. In addition to managing school and hockey, she stresses the importance of making time for family and friends.

“I don’t let this control my life. I go out with my friends and family and give myself time to relax so I don’t stress myself out,” said Shandro.

Both women show us that although managing academics and varsity sports can be tough, it is not impossible. There are several positive aspects in joining a varsity school team. With hard work, determination, and consistency, these students are able to get the best of both worlds.

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