NCAA athletes have to a great deal on their plate when it comes to commitment whether it’s with their schoolwork, practices, competition or other extra-curricular activities. To add an internship into the mix can cause significant stress and an exhausting amount of time management. After reaching out to some Marist athletes it became clear that competing on a NCAA Division I team while balancing an internship and coursework was not in any means an easy feat.
Senior Molly Weeks, a track sprinter the track & field team is currently interning at RED distribution LLC, a Sony Entertainment-owned sales and marketing division on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Weeks maintains her schoolwork, her internship, her team practices and she also has student employment at the Marist student financial office on Fridays.
As the alarm hits 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Weeks is up from the bed and dresses into her work clothes and checks if she has everything for the day. She complies her backpack with an assortment of homework, workout clothes and her lunch. Once the clock hits 7:10 a.m., Weeks is already out the door and into her car to her ride to the train station. She is able to make the 7:33 a.m. train to Penn Station every time and once on the train she sets a two-hour alarm on her phone and then falls back into a somewhat peaceful sleep on the ride to the city.
“Overall to and from New York is about $100,” said Weeks. “I know it sounds crazy, but luckily I use my work money from the summer.”
Weeks interns from 10-6 p.m. and catches the 6:45 p.m. back into Poughkeepsie where she then completes her schoolwork. It can be astonishing to hear that once Molly returns to Poughkeepsie at 8:45 p.m. she dashes back to Marist to a one-credit band class called “The Jazz Foxes” which goes from 9:15-10:15 p.m. and then goes back to bed to be ready for her internship on Thursday.
Through this mixture of rushing around Weeks has to miss some days of practice which means she has to plan ways to have individual workouts.
Weeks completely thinks that Marist should provide some monetary support or easier ways to help Marist student athletes with their internships. Weeks has a limited meal plan and has money from her extra jobs, finds it difficult when going grocery shopping and saving up her own money for her 12-week internship.
“Marist has not been of help when it comes to finding internships for students.” stated Weeks. “When I came to Marist I thought they were going to offer more direct experiences.”
Fortunately, she has connections from family and friends and she finds that extremely helpful when looking for internships when Marist cannot.
Weeks was not the only athlete that has a crazy assortment of internship work, schoolwork and practice.
“It was very long days from 9-6 p.m.,” said senior Breann Lydon, a Marist swimmer who was working as an intern at 1-800 Flowers last semester. “I woke up at 5 a.m. to do practice before then, so I was really tired the first half of the day.”
Lydon included that she was able to have an amazing experience at the internship, however it was difficult to pick what days to go into work because she had practices two times a day while also occasionally having to work an extra day if her boss needed her to do so. From the chaos of this busy schedule she sometimes had to choose between practice or her internship, and these two commitments were equally important to her.
“The process of getting there wasn’t that bad,” She said, when asked about transportation problems. “It was just expensive and without being paid and only getting credit it was rough spending that money.”
Lydon also supported that Marist should find ways to make the internship process more easily accessible for athletes because she ran into her own difficulty of planning her internship around not only her school classes but planning her classes around her practices.
Marist senior and former track & field runner, Olivia Jaquith is currently working as an on-air production marketing intern for USA Network. She expressed some conflict in time management with schoolwork and leisure.
“There are days where I am in the city for 15 hours including travel time,” said Jaquith. “This leaves little time for anything but work and sleep.”
In terms of her schoolwork, Jaquith tries to complete the accomplishment of carefully reading her textbook while munching on her lunch during her break. She also concisely plans the amount of work she can complete and when she can do it, especially when she has to hammer out a paper or contribute to a group project on her train ride to New York and back to Poughkeepsie.
“The internship pays for itself,” Jaquith included. “but when I commute to the city an extra day or two of the week to remain as involved in the company as possible, I am losing money.”
Jaquith commented that since her early graduation is just a couple of months away she is putting her entire effort into the internship, which means her schoolwork and practices needed to come second for her. Her whole day consists of waking up at 6 a.m. and returning to Poughkeepsie around 10:30 p.m. and rushing to the gym to incorporate a late night workout.
When asked if Marist should find easier ways for student-athletes or general students to balance schoolwork with their internships Jaquith responded “I think where Marist lacks most is the internship process. Every internship I have acquired over my four years here has been through my own persistence–no one in the internship office has helped me find people to contact.”
Jaquith offers gratitude to her track coaches because they allowed her to pursue her internship which helps her long-term professional career, but hinders her track career in the short-term.
“Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to show up to random workouts and squeeze in runs whenever I can.” She said.
After scheduling an appointment with Director of Marist Communication and Media Studies Internships, Professor Gerald McNulty he was able to talk about the struggles that many Marist student-athletes have while interning and the problem of supporting student-athletes with their internships.
“We try to work with a very intensive schedule as best we can when it comes to student-athletes that are interning,” said McNulty. “Most internships are flexible on scheduling but not all.”
McNulty included an example of how students work for companies such as MSG or NBC and how it is just not doable for a student-athlete with a five-day work week for an internship and also be involved in a competition or non-competition season.
Unfortunately, when asked about the financial support for Marist student-athletes with internships, McNulty mentioned how with any field-work experience outside the classroom whether it be an internship or research paper award, the department and various other departments do not have a formation of separate funds to help students. McNulty included that sometimes the dean might offer up money for special curricular activities where a professor might take a few students to an event, however these offerings happen rarely.
As Marist student-athletes and students in general try to gain experience from their internships while maintaining their involvement in other commitments hopefully easier ways can be formed from Marist to help students to still gain work experience while fulfilling a wholesome college career.