Balancing Act

Maddie Kufahl

Every college student is busy. Whether they are single, in a relationship, a freshman, a senior or whatever activities they are involved in, college is a crucial time where people learn time management. With Valentine’s Day coming up, the OBU student newspaper wanted to do a piece on student athletes in relationships and ask a couple of them some questions about how they have learned to manage their time, as some might say they are some of the busiest college students of all.

Student athletes have to be creative and very intentional with the time they spend with their significant other. Athletes typically have to go straight from class to practice, and by the time they finish all their homework they may just want to go to bed early because they have to get up at 5:00a.m. for workouts. The average college athlete spends 20 hours a week practicing or playing their sport. Add that to the typical 15 hours of school a week, a job that requires 15-20 hours, and it seems like there isn’t much time left in the week for other things. Relationships require time and effort, and if the two parties of a relationship don’t know how to balance their time well, things could go south.        

Zack Frazier is a junior football player at OBU. He is dating Madison Bates, who is also a junior. When asked about how he manages his time between being in a relationship and a sport, plus being a student who also has other relationships he wants to invest in, Zack said, “I think for me managing relationships is important in general so for me, making quality time out of the people in my life is very important to me. But that doesn’t relieve me of responsibilities. I think it has been a growing process of me learning to enjoy each other’s presence in silence.” He and Madison carve out quality time together by going to breakfast together every Friday, going grocery shopping together or just doing homework sometimes.

Maci Hall is a junior cheerleader at OBU, and has been dating her boyfriend, Aaron Bowlin, for almost two years – so nearly her entire college career. They have had a while to figure out a schedule and plan for how they are going to make time for their relationship. Cheerleading can have practice that lasts up to four hours some nights, and they have early morning practice often. It requires a lot of time dedicated to it during the entire school year. Maci said that mealtimes are an easy way for her and Aaron to spend time together, where there are no distractions like homework to take the focus away from the two of them being together. She said they try to be intentional about spending one on one time together and go to church together every week. When asked how she thinks this season of extreme business will help their relationship in the future she said, “It makes us independent of each other in a healthy way and prepares us for real life. In marriage, you don’t get to just spend all day every day together, and there are just as many distractions and other duties then as there are now. We’re learning now how to set aside time for each other and be intentional with that time and I think it will really help us in the future.”

Maci and Zack both emphasized the importance of intentional time together. No matter how tired they are, they care about their significant other and want to be with them and put effort into the relationship. People make time for what they care about, bottom line. There is no shortage of things couples can come up with to do together. Like Maci said, “everyone has to eat.” Eating together is an easy way to make time for each other. Come up with new date ideas, ride places together, anything that means one-on-one time with no distractions. There is also the other side of it: couples cannot forsake all their other responsibilities for their partner, especially school and their sport. Couples who learn how to manage their time in college will benefit in the future in marriage. They are setting good habits early and it will be good for them and their relationship in the future.

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