Student-athletes juggle academics, sports and ROTC

Tue, 03/01/2011 - 12:30pm

Getting through four years of college while playing a varsity sport is more than enough of a challenge for most student-athletes, but for Spring Hill College students Katie Martin and Catie Palmer it is just the beginning. Martin and Palmer also spend two to three days each week on the campus of the University of South Alabama as members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

“It’s tough to manage the time,” says Martin, a sophomore psychology major from Montgomery, Ala. “I have classes at South Alabama on Wednesdays and Fridays. This year has been especially difficult because I’m taking both 100- and 200-level (freshman and sophomore) Air Force ROTC classes since it’s my first year.”

Palmer, a junior integrated communications major from Newnan, Ga., who is in her second year of Army ROTC after spending her freshman year in the Air Force program, says that some days are tougher than others. “Some days you have to plan your time minute-to-minute,” she says. “Everybody has the time to do more, but you just have to use good time management to get everything done.”

Her commitment to ROTC requires Palmer to drive to USA three days a week and participate in Physical Training (PT) from 5 to 7 a.m. “Also, on Mondays I have an ROTC class and on Wednesdays there is a lab where we do outdoor field exercises.”

As a member of the SHC women’s basketball team, Martin is excused from the morning PT sessions while in season, but the class work more than makes up for the privilege. “Right now, my schedule is more demanding mentally than physically,” she says. “On Wednesdays I’m in the classroom, but on Fridays I have labs where we are taught marching and drill.”

Martin, a 5’8” guard, says that she has always been interested in the military because her grandfather served in the U.S. Army during World War II. “I want to go into counseling psychology in the Air Force,” she says. “I’d like to be able to help people coming back from war deal with the transition back to their non-combat lives.”

A forward on the SHC women’s soccer team, Palmer comes from a military family where her father is retired from the U.S. Army and her brother is currently serving at Fort Lewis in Washington. “I’m contracted to serving for eight years following graduation,” she says. “You have a choice after graduating: you can either enter active service, the National Guard or the Reserves. I’m going into aviation in active service, but I’m not sure right now if I’ll make it my career after my eight years are up.”

Jim Stennett is Sports Information Director at Spring Hill College.