Kylie Frank: What it means to be a student athlete

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By Jaimason Thomas – Collegiate Staff

Kylie Frank is a second year volleyball player at Grand Rapids Community College. She plays under head coach Chip Will, and assistant coach David Rawles. Frank is a setter and Defensive Specialist.

“You have to practice,” she said. “And then you have games. But you still have to make sure you focus on schoolwork too.”

Currently, Frank is taking 14 credits, spending all of her free time either studying or playing volleyball, the sport she loves. Volleyball for the Raiders is five days a week, whether it be a game, practice, or a tournament.

It’s hard to balance your time as a student athlete. We know, as students that homework is important, but not many of us know what it’s like to entertain a rigorous game, and still go home with the energy to spend two hours behind a computer screen.

Kylie Frank from the Muskegon game, earlier this year, with teammates on her right and left, waiting to start the game.Avery Jennings - Sports Editor
Kylie Frank,#8, from the Muskegon game earlier this year, with teammates on her right and left, waiting to start the game.

“Getting home after a game is hard because let’s say you have a test the next day. You’ll want to go to bed because you’re so tired, but you’ll have to stay awake so you can study.” said Frank.

“There were so many athletes in high school, and now there’s only a select few of us.” said Frank. “It was easier for high school athletes to get their studies done. Now professors don’t know who we are, they don’t know what is difficult to be assigned on each day.” she said.

“I feel like high school teachers knew who we were, and they would be fine if some things were going to be late. College professors are more strict on that, I’ve noticed.” Frank said.

Frank says volleyball at GRCC has “helped her manage her time. Last year it “helped her a  lot, and this year she was prepared.”

“I have a lot more friendships, I think than if i didn’t play volleyball,” Frank said. “I definitely know a lot more people than if I were just away going to school. If I went to central (like she originally planned) I probably wouldn’t know anyone.”

“Now that I am here, on a team, it’s basically like a family, I know a bunch more people.” Frank said.

There’s a relationship Raider sports teams bond, that is an unspoken delicacy. “I feel like most of the athletic teams are really close. Last year the volleyball and the baseball teams were super close from spending so much time together in the library.” Frank said. “We went in groups to watch their games. Or they would come to ours.”

She now has had the opportunity for two years to live with her best friend and teammate Janie Bunge. Not only do these girls practice together, but a lot of them live together. They eat, sleep, and study volleyball even at home. “My teammates always push me to be a better volleyball player, on and even off the court.” Frank said. “In the offseason, my friends and I, we crave to play.”

Sophomore Defensive Specialists, #8, Kylie Frank from the Muskegon game, earlier this season, celebrating with teammates.Avery Jennings - Sports Editor
Kylie Frank, #8, with Janie Bunge, #1, during the Muskegon volleyball game. Both are celebrating winning a crucial point in the fourth set.

A support system is key when you’re an out of town student athlete.

“My family comes to every game and I get to see them.” said Frank. “My parents always push me to keep up on my studies.” she said.

“Volleyball basically takes up the whole three months when you’re in season.” said Frank.

As a two season athlete you learn with each year, to better balance school, sports, and a social life.

“Now this year, I do know better to stay up late, so I can do better on that test, because it does help in the long run.” said Frank.

“It’s exciting to be a student athlete.” said Frank. “Growing up I always dreamed of it, and now it’s finally here. It’s kind of overwhelming, in a good way.”

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