Being a student-athlete is a big challenge at Golden Valley High School, but being that athlete at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world is a task most can’t handle. But for Golden Valley graduate and Harvard volleyball junior/economics major Alec Schlossman, it’s no different.
Schlossman is starting at Libero for The Harvard Volleyball team. A Libero is a defensive specialist. The amount of hard work he has put into volleyball is immense and balancing hard classes is difficult. Most days for a college student involves attending class and maybe doing some studying. That’s not the case for Schlossman and his volleyball teammates.
“It’s definitely difficult to balance school and volleyball,” said Schlossman. “My schedule, depending on the day, is get up early for lift, eat breakfast, go to a few hours of class in the late morning/early afternoon, eat lunch, then we have practice for about three hours in the afternoon, eat dinner, and then study before I go to bed. That doesn’t include stuff like getting treatment for injuries or going to office hours for extra help in a class. The most difficult thing is getting enough sleep to make sure I’m both physically and mentally rested.”
For Schlossman, the academic load doesn’t change because he’s a student athlete. All student athletes at Harvard are responsible for maintaining their grades even on road trips.
“When we travel to away games it definitely gets difficult trying to get homework done,” he said.
Trying to stay confident and prepared for games isn’t an easy task no matter what college someone attends, but at Harvard, it can be a big struggle.
“I try to get work done during the bus rides, but in my experience with missing class due to away games, all teachers are pretty flexible with allowing the athletes to make up missed work. Sometimes we have to submit papers and assignments while we’re on the road,” he said.
Making the transition to college ball wasn’t easy for him, but it definitely wasn’t impossible. Playing club was a huge difference maker.
“Club helped prepare me because of the overall talent,” he said. “Playing with and against the best players in the country on a regular basis made the transition to college ball much easier.”
He’s seen throughout his junior year a lot of very, good volleyball and has learned that the level of talent from high school to college is a huge difference.
“The college game is much faster, the players are also bigger, stronger and overall more talented,” he said.
The schedule is a grueling one for the Crimson as they are fresh off a win against George Mason and have a tough road ahead of them with only six conference matches left with first place Penn State and second place Princeton. Harvard is currently 10-8 on the season and 4-2 in conference.
With only one year left to play the sport he loves, Schlossman is relishing every moment he has left with his teammates. When the athletic career of many college athletes concludes they move on to the unknown. Graduating from Harvard will allow Schlossman to not worry about that. A Harvard degree will almost guarantee him a great future, but for now that future consists of finishing the season strong and hopefully making the NCAA Tournament.
– AJ Sabedra