At Oklahoma Christian University, students experience “dead week,” the week preceding finals; however, classes still take place, which makes the week anything but dead.
With final projects, presentations and papers being due during dead week, other activities cease on campus to allow students to complete their work and begin studying for finals.
Although the university limits club and campus activities during these final two weeks, athletes in season are still required to practice and compete.
The basketball team, which started conference play two weeks ago, plays games and hosts daily practices during dead week and finals week.
Junior basketball athletes Katie Mayo and Harrison Martin both said they spend about two hours in the gym each day during these weeks. This year the schedule afforded the men and women’s teams more break from games.
Last night the women traveled to Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK, to play, but will not play again until Dec. 14. The men also return to action Dec. 14 against the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Mayo, a nursing major, said the difficulty of going straight from class to practice takes a toll, especially during these tough weeks.
“Balancing is definitely not easy,” Mayo said. “A lot of us go straight from class into practice and usually don’t get to sit down and get homework or studying done until around 7-8 that night depending on the time and length of practice that day.”
For Martin, a biology major, the time requirements created intentionality and positive habits.
“Balancing basketball and biology as my major has been difficult,” Martin said. “I think having finals in season has really taught me to value my time and organize.”
Martin also said Coach Kendre Talley makes a point to emphasise academics, which motivates the team to perform well in the classroom.
“Coach [Talley] hasn’t forced us to attend study hall, but he has been very vocal about us putting grades first,” Martin said. “Coach Talley is a very understanding guy. If anyone needs to miss for a study group, he is all about it.”
Mayo, who attends clinicals during the week for nursing, says she struggles to fit it all in during the day—sleep, homework, clinicals and basketball.
“It gets very difficult sometimes, especially being a nursing major and still having clinicals on dead week,” Mayo said. “We get back from the hospital and go straight to practice at 6 or maybe 7. Afterwards, you really just want to sleep, but having to force myself to stay awake and study and finish homework has been a real struggle this semester.”
As this semester comes to an end, Mayo and Martin both said the teams are making positive strides to have an overall successful season.
“I think the season is going great at this point,” Martin said. “We started out slow, but a lot of guys have been stepping up recently. I love the grit that this team shows.”
“We have had some rough games but also some great games,” Mayo said. “Once we all start hitting shots on the same night, I have a feeling we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”