Between getting up early for morning practices and staying up late at night studying, making the grade as a student athlete takes discipline and hard work. Here, NYU varsity athletes give their advice for those who see themselves in the classroom—and on the playing field.

“It’s all about how badly you want it.”
C.J. Picerni swings a baseball bat at homeplate.

“Being a successful varsity athlete takes coaches who are willing to put the time and effort into working with you, teammates who have your back and constantly push you to do better, and—more than anything—dedication to work on both the little and the big things, even when you don’t feel like it,” says C.J. Picerni, a Sports Management major, recent graduate, and former NYU baseball player. “Balancing sports with academics, especially at NYU, is challenging, but once you figure out a system and routine that works for you, it becomes clockwork. My advice for future NYU athletes is to work hard every day and never give excuses—on or off the field.”

BIO: C.J. Picerni is currently a catcher for the Gulf Coast League Nationals, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. He interned for the Arizona Diamondbacks and, in 2016, became the first NYU baseball player in 40 years to be selected in the MLB draft.

“College sports can be time-consuming, but it’s worth every minute.”
Honore Collins swims in a race against other collegiate competitors.

“You need to love every part, even the painful ones. It would be easy to quit to have more time for homework and friends, but you keep going to be the best teammate you can be because you love your sport. I promise, you can do all this and still sleep!” says Honore Collins, a Liberal Studies sophomore and NYU swimmer. “I would tell potential student athletes to commit to everything you do 100 percent. At the end of the year, you will look back and be proud of all you’ve accomplished.”

BIO: Honore Collins won the 200-yard Individual Medley at the NCAA Division III Championships as a freshman. She is the first NYU swimmer ever to claim an individual national title.

“If you think you want to play sports in college, you should go for it!”
Nathan Pike wrestles a competitor on the mat.

“Being an athlete who continues their sport in college is rare—not a lot of people have that kind of commitment,” explains recent graduate Nathan Pike, who majored in Economics and wrestled at NYU. “The biggest challenge as a college varsity athlete is to overcome mental roadblocks. If you control your nerves, find an effective pre-competition routine, and always give it your all, you’ll have no regrets on the mat, field, or court. If you work hard in practice with your teammates, your body will take care of itself—it’s your mental game where you have to figure out what works best for you as an individual.”

BIO: Nathan Pike won the 133-pound title at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in the 2016–2017 season, becoming the first NYU wrestler ever to take an individual national title.

Cindy Nowicki is a writer and content strategist in NYU’s Office of Marketing Communications. She enjoys meeting with students to learn about their experiences and telling the stories of all the wonderful things happening at NYU. Cindy holds a BA in English from the University of Richmond and studied English literature at the University of Bristol, England. A Brooklyn native, she still discovers new things about New York City every day. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young sons.