by Jeff Samoray, Published August 29, 2011
To say that Eagles starting quarterback Alex Gillett has a demanding schedule is an understatement. Like his teammates, Gillett spends numerous hours each week focusing on football during the fall semester. He also takes a full load of classes. Maintaining a balance while enjoying the undergraduate experience requires a clear separation of athletics and academics, he says.
"At certain times, I know what I need to focus on," says Gillette, a junior biology major. "I try to manage my time as best I can and have learned to separate things so I can be at my best on the field and in the classroom."
Although the football schedule begins in September and ends in November, the season never really ends for today's collegiate players. There are spring practices and scrimmages, August training camp and year-round strengthening and conditioning programs. With all these time-consuming demands, Gillett has a 3.6 grade-point average.
"I don't feel as if my student experience is all that different from other students on campus," he says. "It's certainly not different in the classroom. But once classes are over, I go to football practice while others may go back to their dorms. I share an apartment with some of my teammates. For fun, I just like to hang out with the guys and do things to relax, like going to see a movie."
One of the reasons Gillett says he chose to attend Eastern is the relatively small campus size.
"I felt very comfortable right away at Eastern," he says. "It's a big college with a small-college feel. You can walk across campus in five to ten minutes, and I always run into a classmate or friend along the way. The university also treats you like an individual, not a number. All my professors know my name. That's not always the case at larger universities."