Graduated From Class, Not Field

Graduated From Class, Not Field

Josh Horton, Reporter

First semester Doctor of Physical Therapy student Caitlin Cromley crushed two home runs, leading the Cougar softball team passed Delaware Valley College  April 4.

Luckily for Cromley, and the Cougars, the game fell on a Saturday, meaning she wouldn’t have to worry about missing the game to take a test like she has had to do twice this season.

“In my undergrad days, I was able to make all of my games with no problem at all. In PT school, it’s a doctorate program, so you’re no longer in undergrad,” Cromley said. “They treat you like graduate students. They don’t move tests around, because if they did that for you then they would have to do that for everyone.”

It would have been easy for Cromley to forgo her final season of eligibility and focus solely on her first semester of graduate school. However, as a team captain, the ace of the pitching staff and a key piece to the Cougar lineup, the decision was easy.

She wasn’t ready to leave her softball family just yet.

“It’s tough, because you want to be there to support your team, especially because I am a captain and I want to be there to support my team,” Cromley said of what it’s like to miss a game.  “Your team is a family, and you want to be there for every inning.”

Cromley said there is a reason the word student is in front of athlete in the phrase student-athlete, a sentiment that is echoed by coaches and players alike at the division three level.

“For me personally, as I continue with my education, I am starting to turn my focus more on my future and working as a PT and making it through grad school,” Cromley said. “As much as I would love to be able to make a living playing softball, I know that’s just not how it works.”

Like Cromley, organizational behavior graduate student Andy Gonalez, also feels the effects of trying to play a college sport and excel in the classroom.

Gonzalez said organizational behavior class work is  based more on out-of-class paper assignments as opposed to in-class assignments, unlike DPT course work.

“It’s a lot more papers and there are no participation grades,” Gonzalez said. “I have to make sure I am getting these papers done and it leads to doing a lot of work on the bus to away games.”

Gonzalez isn’t used to writing papers, and he is particularly not accustomed to writing them on a bus. He admits the nonstandard workspace hinders his ability to focus on the day’s game.

“It’s rough because instead of being able to relax and focus on the game, you are stressing out about a paper that is due pretty soon,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just brutal. It takes a lot to get used to, but you have to do what you have to do.”

A typical day for Gonzalez involves waking up very early and going to sleep very late.

“Baseball takes up at least five to six hours, between practice, weight lifting and stuff like that,” Gonzalez said. “I wake up, work on a paper all morning, go to practice and then go right to night class. It’s a busy day. It’s a lot different from undergrad.”

Like Gonzalez, Cromley admits sleep is not at the top of her priority list.

“As a student athlete, sometimes you have to give up some sleep in order to get everything done,” Cromley said with a grin. “On a good night I get to bed at 12:30 at night, get up at seven and go about my day. Sometimes if you have an assignment and you need to stay up and sleep goes by the wayside.”

For both Gonzalez and Cromley, the second week of May can’t come fast enough. However, they do admit the semester has flown by.

“For me, I am so busy I don’t have any time to think about how many days are left in the semester,” Cromley said. “I would say it is the fastest, most challenging semester I have ever had. Hands down.”

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