By Angela Quadrini, Staff Writer
It’s 4:45 a.m. when Christian Santisteban, a senior on the Manhattan College baseball team hears his alarm sounding, alerting him to get out of bed and start his day.
Like most students at Manhattan College, his days are filled with long classes, extra curricular activities, and endless mountains of course load. But Santisteban is not only a full time engineering student, he’s also a Division 1 athlete.
Balancing both, a typical day in Santisteban’s life as student athlete looks something like this:
4:45 a.m.: Alarm sounds after getting less than four hours of sleep.
5:15 a.m.: Heads to gym to get ready for practice.
5:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.: Practice.
8:35 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.: Quick breakfast before class.
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Engineering class.
11:10 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.: Spends time in the weight room.
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Engineering class.
3:10 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.: Switches between doing homework and baseball practice.
5:40 p.m. – 6:20 p.m.: Dinnertime and if lucky, a quick shower.
6:30 p.m. – 9:15 p.m.: Engineering class.
9:20 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.: Switches between practicing in the cages or doing homework in the library.
11:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.: Typically library time to do school work.
12:45 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.: Goes back to dorm to shower and prepare for tomorrow.
1:00 a.m.: Finally bedtime, bringing his day full circle, ready to start all over tomorrow.
The outfielder uses his time management skills to juggle the sport he loves with the engineering degree he’s working towards.
“It’s all about time management,” Santisteban said. “There are times where you’ll have to pick and choose. I’d love to be able to get into the batting cages every day, but sometimes its not doable because I’m too busy with schoolwork. We practice three to four hours, six days a week not including games and workouts. That’s time where I could be doing schoolwork but instead I have baseball. I have to make up those hours in the library to do my work.”
While it might seem glamorous, being a student athlete isn’t all fun and games. If you ask an athlete, the only privilege they get is being able to play the sport they love everyday. They still attend classes like everyone else and have to do the same amount, while still trying to find time to have a social life like other students.
Their time is even more limited than the average student due to practices, games and workouts.
Santisteban recalls a time two years ago when he was stuck in Arizona after a game and couldn’t turn in his homework.
“I emailed my professor and explained the situation, but he wasn’t having it,” Santisteban said. “He said I needed a hard copy or else he wouldn’t accept it. There have been times when I’ve had makeup tests that were harder because professors thought I would cheat and ask other students the answers.”
Comments made from other students about athletes “having it easy” and “being privileged” never seems to bother Santisteban.
“If other students want to take my course load while playing baseball, they can go right ahead and be my guest,” he said. “I think I do a pretty good job of balancing them both, but if they think they can do better, try joining a D1 sport.”
Even with everything on his plate, Santisteban wouldn’t trade his situation for a more relaxed college experience. He continues to excel in both school and baseball while staying humble and grounded thanks to his family and coaches.
“Don’t get too high, don’t get too low, keep a steady medium,” Santisteban said is his mantra when dealing with the pressure.
Before going up to bat, he draws a smile in the sand to remember to stay positive.
Life for student athletes can be a balancing act, but ever since he was little Santisteban’s love for baseball made his decision to be a D1 athlete a no brainer. With his senior season upon him, Santisteban believes all his hard work and sacrifice was well worth the experiences he has had.
“If God forbid baseball doesn’t work out, I have a great back up plan with engineering, and I’ve learned a lot academically with a major I really enjoy,” Santisteban said. “The friends and bonds I’ve made on and off the field have been great. If I had to start college over tomorrow, I would do it all again, over and over every time.”