Finding a balance between school and sports is a challenge that all student athletes have to face, but the problem is even more prevalent for students in the Tandon School of Engineering. Commuting to and from practice, missing classes and having to make up missed exams or laboratory exercises are just a few of the many struggles that Tandon varsity athletes face on a daily basis.
Tandon sophomore Neil Ferraro, a member of the men’s volleyball team, commented on the life of a Tandon athlete.
“I often can’t make team lifts due to my class scheduling, and sometimes I have to miss practice or travel alone to games because there are a limited number of Tandon classes available,” Ferraro said.
NYU Senior Director of Athletics Janice Quinn said she understands Tandon student athletes have concerns, but explained that the NYU Athletics Department does its best to support all students, regardless of which NYU school they attend.
“All of the student athletes at NYU are highly supported compared to anyone’s standards at any other school,” Quinn said. “When it comes to all of the athletes in every aspect, as much time and attention is spent on each individual regardless of whether they are located on the Washington Square campus, commuting from different boroughs or coming from Tandon.”
Tandon sophomore and women’s soccer team member Callie Delane said that one of the most difficult aspects of being a student athlete in Tandon is the daily commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
“Commuting back and forth every day for class and practice takes up a lot of time and can be stressful when on a time crunch,” Delaney said. “Time that could have been spent studying or sleeping is instead spent on the subway.”
The Academic Affairs Office is responsible for assisting all NYU varsity athletes with their class scheduling and providing “an opportunity for students to simultaneously excel academically and participate in intercollegiate varsity athletics,” according to the NYU Athletics website. Approximately five percent of all varsity athletes at NYU attend Tandon which is significantly lower than the College of Arts and Science or the Stern School of Business.
Quinn highlighted the fact that students from all schools have to make decisions about committing to sports.
“It’s the nature of NYU that there’s an awful lot to do, and the students have to make tough choices about whether or not they can afford to take on two or three extracurricular activities,” Quinn said.
When asked how NYU could help make life easier for Tandon athletes, Delaney suggested alternative travel options to and from games.
“Last semester, I missed one class three times within a two-week span, and then was expected to take my midterm my first class back,” Delaney said. “If I had been able to have alternative travel to these classes, I believe I would have felt much more prepared for my exam.”
Ferraro, meanwhile, wondered if more use could be made of athletic facilities in Brooklyn.
“Tandon has a full gym that can be used for our lifts and a nice gym that can host practices,” Ferraro said. “I don’t know why we don’t use the Brooklyn gym for practice instead of going to Pace University.”
While finding the balance between school, sports and a social life can be difficult, Tandon athletes feel that they are learning how to better manage their time.
“I always have a checklist of things I need to do for when I have time to get work done,” Delaney said. “That way I know exactly what I have to work on instead of wasting time trying to figure out what to do next. I’ve also found that it’s important to give yourself down time to do something that relaxes you, whether that’s watching Netflix or meditating. Once you feel de-stressed, you’ll be much more productive in the work you have to do.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 12 print edition. Email Bela Kirpalani at [email protected]