Being a student is hard. Being a student-athlete may seem to be a bit harder.
“How do you manage your time?”
“Are you a little bit insane?”
“Wait, 10 miles… in a ROW?!”
And my favorite…
“You do this for fun?”
Yes, yes, yes, and (kind of) yes.
Before coming to IUPUI, I was faced with the decision of whether I wanted to become a full-time student or a full-time student-athlete, praying for an answer and ultimately choosing the latter. It seemed daunting. Only a small percentage of students took this path, and I wasn’t completely sure at the time if this was part of God’s Grand Scheme for my life. My friends would joke and say that I “signed my life away” and that they wouldn’t ever hear from me again.
I worried right along with them. I worried that I wouldn’t have time for anything outside of school and practice.
But God moves in mysterious ways, and I soon discovered that I had no need to worry. Being a part of the running team at IUPUI has put things into perspective for me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
For one, it’s an outlet. It’s God’s special gift that helps me unwind and untangle my stress that builds up throughout the week. It gives me my own little way of worship. When I run, I am able to exclusively be with God and myself and reflect on things that need to be reflected on.
Being a student-athlete is its own form of praise for me – a way to say “thank you” to the God who has provided for, listened to, and loved me throughout my entire life, even when I have strayed. When I compete, I compete for God. He gave me the passion and ability; I aim to reach my maximum potential every time I step on the track so that I show God that I’m grateful for such an awesome creator.
Sure, being committed to a team takes away from my free time, but it forces me to become an expert in time management. It enables me to realize that I can give all my worries to God, and He will manage them how they need to be managed. As Colossians 1:17 states, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
It’s been a journey. I’ve learned things about myself and how far I can be pushed to set my best a little higher than where it was before, and God is with me every step of every run, giving me the spiritual strength I need to take my physical stamina that much further. Being a Christian on IUPUI’s running squad has been incredibly rewarding, and I owe it all to God, who has remained unconditionally by my side
Haley Welch, IUPUI Track/Cross Country & Student in Impact at IUPUI