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Day in the Life of a Student-Athlete: Ashley Lahey

My family's love of the outdoors and physical activities encouraged me to play a variety of sports growing up. One of the many games I engaged in was tennis, which I've been playing since I was three years old. Wanting to continue to play and grow in the sport during college, I chose to attend Pepperdine in order to work with Per Nilsson, the women's tennis coach and the best college coach in the nation, in my opinion.

Ashley Lahey, intently focused on the tennis ball in front of her, arm outstreched, in position to return the pass

Day in the Life

My day usually starts around 6:30 AM. I'm a morning person, and I don't have the ability to function late at night, so I'm usually asleep between 10 and 10:30 PM. I like to start the day by reading scripture, even if it's just for a few minutes. The morning gets going pretty quickly after that because I typically have practice or some homework to get done.

We have our team practice every day from 2 to 6 PM. That includes two to two and one-half hours of training, an hour of fitness, and time to cool down and stretch. On Saturday, team practice is from 9 AM to noon, and we have Sundays off.

In addition to team practice, I try to get in a morning practice with just the coaches three to four days a week. Morning practices are only an hour to an hour and one-half, since I usually have to squeeze them in between classes. One of the hardest parts of my day is getting done with practice and having 10 minutes to shower, change, and sprint up the never-ending stairs to get to class on time.

Eating Like an Athlete

I eat almost all my meals at the cafeteria on campus because I don't have time to cook for myself. I try to eat healthy, carbohydrate-rich foods about two hours before practice. I live for oatmeal and berry breakfasts and eat that almost every morning, but I love all kinds of foods and I'm not picky at all. I usually vary my lunches and dinners, because it's good for your health to eat an assortment.

The main thing I focus on is eating what I think will help me perform best. Thanks to my major, I have a good sense of what that is. Still, I have an overwhelming love for chocolate that often gets the best of me.

Ashley Lahey, smiling, with one hand in a fist and the other grasping her tennis racquet

Balancing Athletics and Academics

Balancing athletics and academics is just a matter of time management. I try to use each moment to my advantage. If I have a half-hour break in the day, I will use it to get something done. Those half hours add up and allow me to stay on track despite my hectic schedule. Since the weeks are so busy with class and practice, I often have to get a lot of homework and studying done during the weekend. I don't see my daily workload as a to-do list full of tons of things I need to check off because I love doing what I do, so I don't mind having less free time than the typical student.

My professors are very understanding of my travel schedule, and my classmates are incredibly helpful. My friends are always there to record lectures and take notes in classes that I miss. I wouldn't be able to stay on track while traveling if I didn't have so many people going out of their way to help me. Being a student-athlete at Pepperdine requires me to be deliberate about how I spend my time, but it is the community support that really makes it possible.