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Preparing student-athletes for life can be a challenge but one they are ready to accept. Often these individuals are placed on rigid training and competition schedules to prepare them for the next game, set or match.

For one of my students, Sam Gerbig, excellence through academics and athletics has become a way of life. Ranking in the Top 5 percentile in her respective sport management classes with an academic 95% average, she has perfect attendance records and continuous engagement in class.

“The best athletes are the ones who can find different ways to manage their time so that they can perform well in the classroom and stay on top of their workouts, on court sessions, video sessions, and whatever additional items our coaching staff asks them to complete,” says Jimmy El-Turk, head coach, St. Clair Saints Women’s Volleyball.

According to Sam Gerbig, outside hitter for the St. Clair Saints Women’s Volleyball Team, “I have a passion for excelling in sport both on and off the court. I want to exceed and become the best I can be to help me for my career down the road. Sport provides me an avenue for physical well-being and mental health while staying competitive. Staying on top of my game in academics is equally important for my future ahead.”

“We want to teach what a positive ‘work-life’ balance is as early and often as possible. That means that the athletes may feel overwhelmed at times with school or volleyball, which is totally fine. We work with them and have conversations on best practices for time management and stress management so that when they enter the working world and possibly have a family, they will have had a few years of balancing a hectic schedule and chunking their time appropriately in order to limit stress and find a positive balance between their different responsibilities,” says El-Turk.

As a Professor in Sport Management, students like Gerbig are a joy to work with however she is not alone. Fellow classmate (and Saints Women’s Volleyball Teammate), Jaime Randall also shares the same competitive drive in academics and athletics. She is followed by an exceptional class of students onto whom (as a whole) are pushing an overall academic “A” average; a first for me and and achievement that both Kevin Corriveau, program coordinator, Sport and Recreation Management at St. Clair College and I are extremely proud of.