Sydney Richardson
Sydney Richardson Hello! I’m Sydney, a Junior from the Sacramento area studying Mechanical Engineering. I play on Caltech’s volleyball team and I‘m a member of Fleming house. I participate in clubs such as the Caltech Latino Association, the Society of Women Engineers, and FSAE (we build a racecar)! Alongside meeting and talking to new people, I love art, the ocean, pupusas (the national dish of El Salvador), and of course STEM!

How do you manage sports and Caltech?

How do you manage sports and Caltech?

Usually, while writing this post, I would be at Caltech playing volleyball. I begin school eith preseason, which for those unfamiliar (or are planning on joining women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s waterpolo, or cross country) is a 5 week long period before school begins where the sports teams I listed before practice and compete. My life during preseason is basically volleyball 24/7. Two practices a day (during school only one) and game days three days a week. No school work to worry about, spending time with my teammates all day, a nice refresher before school begins.

Hitting Picture

I write this post dearly missing volleyball, but I am not going to sit here and complain about how I wish I could be on the court. Instead, I am going to answer the most common question I get from protofrosh! How do you balance time between sports and Caltech?

I’ll start off with a fact, the average GPA of Caltech student-athletes is higher than the average GPA of non-student athletes.

I hope that makes you potential student-athletes feel a little bit better!

During season, you do have less free time than outside season. I like to think of it as I am spending my free time playing volleyball. You do get pretty good at managing time. Some days there are long bus rides to away games, so you have to decide: am I going to work on the bus, will I work when I get back to campus, or will I have started before leaving campus? I personally like to do work on the bus, but plenty of people don’t. You also have access to all the upperclassmen teammates who may have taken the classes you are in or are in some of the same classes as your teammates. Your teammates are happy to help! You really learn to make the most of your time when balancing school and a sport.

Another important thing to note is the 2 hour period from 4-6 PM where professors can’t schedule class, TAs can’t have office hours, etc. Practice will be in this two hour time period so you don’t have to worry about missing class. You may have to miss a couple of classes for games, but I have found professors are always understanding and I have never been penalized for missing class due to a game.

Overall I love playing volleyball for Caltech and think sports are not only good for keeping you in shape, but also good for the mind. On days where you have been busy with work, or are stressed, although practice may not sound the most appealing, taking those two hours to exercise and be with your team, I have found, always vastly improves my mood.

Go beavers!

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