Collegiate athletes have a much different academic experience from their classmates, dealing with counselors and the pressure that comes from playing games while also succeeding in the classroom.
Due to the way seasons are scheduled, athletes can load classes in the offseason or instead decide to redshirt. It’s an opportunity that allows them to spend the first year focusing on school and get comfortable with the team before using a year of their athletic eligibility.
With that extra athletic eligibility, it presents the scenario where an athlete might be at a college for up to six years and compete for four to five after the extra year granted because of COVID-19.
The longer they are on campus the fewer classes they need to take which leaves those final semesters as an array of academic classes and interesting electives.
One redshirt athlete who will be now departing The Beach is Spencer Olivier a senior outside hitter for the men’s volleyball team who was a member of the 2018 and player for the 2019 National championship teams. His time at LBSU began as a redshirt in 2018 before having a successful career playing in 80 matches.
While college is different for everyone, Olivier’s five years at The Beach were productive and impactful.
“Sometimes I think about maybe I could have taken a couple more classes sooner,” Olivier said. “I’m pretty happy with the way it worked out.”
Olivier who majored in consumer affairs will complete his degree at the end of the semester.
“As far as the degree I don’t really have a plan for sure if I’m going to use it or not,” Olivier said. “Once it gets closer to that time, where I just have to stop playing volleyball. I’ll consider it.”
The completion of his collegiate career and degree, however, doesn’t mean it’s the end of his volleyball adventure as his plan is to pursue an opportunity to play overseas once the season comes to an end.
“Hopefully to go to Europe and play volleyball over there,” Olivier said. “I’m gonna start focusing on where I want to play overseas (at the end of the season).”
As his time comes to its end Olivier has taken the opportunity to take some of those atypical electives to balance his academics and athletics completing courses in both stretching and relaxation and pilates during his time at The Beach.
With the extra year granted because of COVID-19 and the redshirt year, this final semester Olivier only needed to take a single class, an important one needed to complete his major but one that allowed the majority of focus to be on volleyball.
That focus paid off on the individual side with Olivier being named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Second Team, but the team fell short of both of their goals losing out in the Big West semi-final, as well as another semi-final bowing out in the National Championship.
Academics, while never his strong suit, were balanced out by the academic advisors.
“We have so many resources,” Olivier said. “Sandra helped me with so much with choosing classes, knowing what to do and like having a plan.”