One on one with Gabas Maldunas '15

by Rebecca Asoulin | 8/6/15 7:45pm

The National Association of Basketball Coaches included three Dartmouth students on its 2014-15 NABC Honors Court, announced at the end of July. Alex Mitola ’16, Connor Boehm ’16 and Gabas Maldunas ’15 met the requirement of earning a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade point average during the 2014-15 academic year. The NABC recognized Maldunas last year. The Dartmouth sat down with Maldunas to discuss balancing academics and athletics at Dartmouth.

What challenges come up in daily life when trying to balance academics and athletics?

GB: Balancing both together is hard, but its obviously possible as many people do it. The biggest challenge would be that you don’t really have time for anything else other than your academic life and athletic life. You have to balance your life without a social life as much. I think our sleep schedule is different and you just don’t have time to do as many extracurricular activities. When you play basketball you have morning lifts so you have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. so you can’t stay up late and do your homework. You have to manage to do it in between classes or during dinner. You have less time to hang out with friends, call your parents or a bunch of other stuff. You have to get rid of other stuff and just focus on academics and athletics.

How do you prioritize?

GB: I feel like the most important thing for me is to have enough sleep and to have energy. So, if I have workout at 6 a.m. and I have an assignment I still haven’t done for the next day I would chose to sleep rather than finish the assignment. I would try to finish the assignment before class. Without sleep you can’t really perform well. For example, if I have a big test and a night practice I would rather go to bed than study more for the test. Sleep is the most important thing you can have in order to have good performance not only in athletics, but in academics as well. For tests, you have to be prepared and aware and you can’t be sleep deprived for that. Sleep is the most important part of balancing both.

Can you talk about a time it felt impossible to balance academics and athletics?

GB: I’ve never felt like it was ever impossible. What I mentioned before, sometimes when I’ve needed sleep I’ve had to sacrifice studying. It wasn’t impossible, but I did chose sleep over studying more.

Is there a time you were really proud of how you handled a difficult situation related to that balance?

GB: The past winter term was challenging for me because I was taking two language courses with drill and also taking an economics seminar class. So I had lots of work and obviously we were also in season playing Ivy League games. As the captain of the team, I had to make sure everyone stays together and we were losing a bit at the beginning of the term. I feel like the whole term was a big accomplishment for myself and for the team as well. For me, I was busy all day waking up at 7 a.m. going to drill every morning and then German class, Italian class, going to my economics seminar and going to practices. The whole term made me feel like I accomplished a lot of stuff by balancing both academics and athletics.

What do people assume about your academic ability or intelligence if they know you’re an athlete? How do these assumptions, if they exist, affect you and your teammates?

GB: I feel like all athletes — hockey, basketball, soccer — joke around about not being as smart as other students. I don’t feel like people talk about that stuff often. We ourselves know that we have to try even harder at school because as SAT and GPA scores are lower.