Muscling Through the Work


College students are some of the busiest people in the world— not many people can argue with that. What if you had to pile a full-time sport onto your to-do list? Chantel Dooley is one of those student athletes. Dooley is a combo guard for Cal State Long Beach’s women’s basketball team, and on top of her responsibilities on the court, Dooley has to juggle her time among her family, friends, graduate school, internship, and a job. Her days are non-stop, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that she attends graduate school, Dooley wakes up at 8:20 a.m. to be at her internship by 9 a.m. Dooley must complete 200 hours of internship work for her master’s in Sports Management program, and to complete her hours in a timely manner, she interns three days a week until 12 p.m.

If she’s not interning, she’s at work. Twice a week, Dooley works at the Bickerstaff Academic Center (BAC), the student athlete study hall at CSULB. The BAC is where student-athletes get their advising, mentoring and tutoring. Dooley is in charge of filing documents, communicating with advisors and checking athletes in and out of the study hall.

“I [go] straight to the gym after [my internship], try to get in a quick film session before practice,” said Dooley. “Practice starts at 1 p.m. and it goes until 4 p.m.”

On Mondays, she heads over to her 6 p.m. class after practice and ends her day at 10 p.m.

Younger student athletes, though many of them don’t have jobs or internships, are still extremely busy. When Dooley was an undergraduate, she would normally wake up at 5:30 a.m. to be in the weight room by 6 a.m. Once that was over around 7 a.m., Dooley would “squeeze in breakfast somewhere in the dorms” before her 8 a.m. class.

If an athlete’s schedule permits, they can grab a quick lunch before practice. Otherwise, the athlete might not have a meal until dinner or even later. Many student athletes are required to go to study hall on weekdays after practice.

“When I was an undergraduate, I would have to do 10 hours of study hall a week,” Dooley said. “It has pretty much been a 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. thing - being a student athlete.”

Dooley’s class is only six weeks long so she must learn at an accelerated pace. She has tests every other week on top of her assigned readings and projects, and she must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA as part of a requirement for her graduate program, or else she has to retake the class.

“It’s hard to keep up with things when we start traveling a lot during season,” Dooley said. “When you start traveling a lot, you start losing your time. Communication helps a lot. You need to talk to your teachers [about missing classes].”

To some, it might appear as though college athletes have it easy. They have advisors to choose their classes, plan their schedules and help them graduate on time. But take a closer look at what student athletes’ day-to-day lives consist of and it’s clear they might actually have the most jam-packed schedules on campus. In Chantel Dooley’s case, the lifelong friendships and practical skills she gained make her hectic lifestyle worth it.