Insights for future Mudd student-athletes

Good morning, afternoon or evening, prospective Mudders! 

Today’s post is for those of you who plan to play on an athletic team during college. To talk about it properly, I invited some of my student-athletes friends, Hannah Dearman-So and Nithya Yeluri ‘25, who were happy to give us some insight on their experience as student-athletes here at Mudd. 

Hannah and Nithya play soccer for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Athletics (CMS Athletics), which is the department responsible for the intercollegiate, intramural, club, physical education, and recreational athletics in these three colleges. 

Player in white dribbling

Hannah playing during Fall 2021 | Photo: Hannah Dearman-So

How to balance Mudd’s workload and team commitments?  

Hannah:  I think what’s really important is to have good friends. It can be tough if practice and office hours conflict, for example. But I would say that having a good group of friends who are very willing to help you and to help support your schedule is really important. Sometimes you have to lean on them, sometimes they’ll lean on you. […] Your teammates can also help you. Sometimes when I was stuck in a problem in the locker room, even in between moments, I would talk to my teammates and I would get genuinely good homework information. 

How do you organize your time? 

Hannah: I have a few different methods of keeping track of dates. I’m a little old fashioned, so I actually use pen and paper in my little agenda where I just try to make lists of things that need to get done, and then I just get as many done as I can. I also mark down all the time sensitive events on my phone. So it will remind me, “hey, practice is in an hour”. 

Nithya: I use Google Calendar so much. It helps me to make sure I stay organized and that I know exactly what I’m doing. I’ll put all my practice and class times on my calendar, and then I can decide ahead how I want to split the rest of my time. 

Do you usually have free time?

Hannah: I have planned free time. For example, we’re going to movie night tonight at 9pm, so I made time for that. I said, “Okay. At 9pm I’m not going to do homework. I’m not going to be at soccer practice, I’m going to have eaten three meals and I’m going to have slept 7/ 8 hours”. 

Nithya: On Friday and on the weekends, I set aside some time to spend time with friends especially. As a student athlete, I feel that if you only did your sport and school, you can get burnt out, so I think it’s important to at least try to be more relaxed whenever you can find that free time.

Would you recommend being a student athlete at Mudd?

Hannah: Yeah! If you’re invested in your sport, you love your sport, and you still want to get a great education because I mean, that’s what we’re about here. It’s definitely a commitment, and you definitely have to like your sport, you have to really want to be on a team, but I would recommend it. 

One thing that was really nice to me is that because of the team I have friends on 3 of the 5Cs now, and I don’t think I would ever have had friends at CMC and at Scripps without soccer. I have dinner with my teammates all the time. I go to Scripps brunch a lot and I eat with them. I make my way around campus because of that,…it’s really nice!

Nithya: I love it! I’ve done it my entire life and I think I never see my sport as a burden. Sometimes I have so much homework and I think “I really do not need the practice right now”. But once I get to practice, I always end up having so much fun. It’s a time you can do the thing you love and at the same time you’re getting exercise, which is also important. 

Player in blue dribbling

Nithya playing soccer during high school | Photo: Nithya Yeluri

Any last piece of advice for future student athletes?

Nithya: Being a Mudd student can be challenging. Being a student athlete can be hard too. Just come in knowing that no one’s perfect and you’re not going to always meet all the expectations of both student life and athlete life. Allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to not be able to 24/7 commit to both because I think it’s virtually impossible to do so. Go easy on yourself, especially as a first year student as well, because you’re also not only adjusting to college, but also adjusting to living by yourself and this whole new life. So it can be challenging, but give it time and you’ll get used to it!