ERIN ASHLEY SIMON: My life as UK athlete

The complexity of an athlete's schedule is not quite as lucid to the eye as many would think. The simple idea assumed by some that we just simply eat, sleep, go to class and practice is a bit misconstrued. Yes, we do all of the above but it is not like it is a simple task to handle.

Our lives as student-athletes during the entire four years of college is scheduled down to the last minute. Do we get free time? Well, hardly, more so in the summertime, but still we have to endure intensive aerobic conditioning, physical strengthening and technical training every month of the year.

To be honest, I personally have never been on a real vacation with my family over the summer since I was in elementary school, so, I do not even know how it feels to be on an actual vacation because I was always away at soccer tournaments when other kids were frolicking on the beaches of the Jersey Shore, or better yet the Caribbean!

Ah, even the idea of a vacation entices me, and drags me off track mentally. Often I hear this amazing diatribe by many regular students who say, "Athletes have the easiest lives on campus." I immediately think to myself, "They don't have a clue how tough it is." Snap back to reality, get on track, I'd like to share a snapshot of truth into my life as a Division I student athlete. My time clock is predicated by my passion -- Soccer. Come join me on a journey, I will be writing a series of articles, tick tocking through a Day in the Life of a Division I Women's Soccer Player.

Now, I may not be a University of Kentucky Basketball player but, all of our schedules are similar at the core and imagine, they probably have a busier schedule than I do. Before I go and talk about any specifics during the year, I would first like to start off talking about my schedule during the summer.

Not all, but some athletes tend to take summer classes to try and lighten the load during their athletic season, which I have. While I only took one class this summer-- it was Calculus! Intense, six weeks worth, 5 business days every week for 1.5 hours every day, unlike during the regular school year were it can be just 3 times a week.

But every day before class I go running for 3-5 miles or lifting weights for about 2 hours total. What time in the morning varies but usually I start before 8:30 every morning in the summer.

After an intensive workout I typically head directly to class where I would sit there in the front row and learn for about an hour and 20 minutes every day. Soon after, I head to tutoring, which is just extra help for certain materials (to ensure an A), especially if you have a class like biology, accounting, and calculus-- it helps.

Unlike during the school year, I sometimes get to take a short, good nap to re-energize, because later in the day I have to finish up my athletic training with one to two workouts.

Every sport has different workout regimens and every dedicated athlete has different technical and tactical aspects of their game they focus on and work through. But, the main thing you might assume from this is, we athletes really don't have any spare time, no real summer 'vacay' even though with college break, we have about a month to two months technically OFF we athletes still have to train really hard everyday multiple times a day and eat very healthy meals.

I haven't been home really since the last week of spring semester and will only get to visit home for three weeks this summer- during which time I will begin a competitive internship program at Dow Jones/News Corporation!

I live quite far from Kentucky so, I cannot just drive home on a whim. Even though not seeing my family can be a little tough at times, it's the sacrifice I know I had to take to continue training over the summer very effectively.

Well what about the weekends you may say?

Even during the weekends I work out, where one day is rest day and the other is off/stretch/light jog day.

As dedicated athletes, we only have to do this for FOUR years so, we just give it our all. I probably won't have a regular summer break until I graduate college and maybe even then I won't. But, I know that many people dream of, but don't experience the honor of being a D-I college athlete and I wouldn't change it for anything.

So, I would like to bring you guys along a journey to view a snapshot into the our world where you"ll get to see the rigors of what we do and what makes us who we are at the end of the day.

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