How to be a Successful Student Athlete

High school is almost like a full time job really.  You arrive by 8 am Monday – Friday and spend your day learning and discussing details on new topics and discovering solutions to problems you may or may not have known existed.  The demands of the classroom can be overwhelming at times with daily in class work to complete, the never ending homework load, project deadlines and of course, studying for multiple finals that are right around the corner.  In a way, it feels like a juggling act.

On top of your busy daily routine you are also an active athlete, the kind that puts in 2 hours of practice each day, stays an extra half hour or so after practice, working on skill development and improving your game.  You are defined as a disciplined, hard working athlete.

After your first few years of high school experiencing that “full time job feeling”, and battling to put the time and work into being an asset to your sports team, it isn’t uncommon to experience a bit of senioritis when you hit your senior year.  With the pressure of juggling pretty much “two full-time jobs” it can start to weigh on you, leaving you feeling frustrated.  For some, the frustration they feel leads to a decline in motivation and performance.

So…How does one learn to become a successful student athlete?  Here a few tips on how you can work through these tough times when the going gets tough!

Work on time management.  Treat your life as a full time job, make sure you honor each commitment.  While you may enjoy athletic life more, putting the time in and respecting your classes is just as important.

Communication is key.  Keep lines of communication open between your coaches, teammates, instructors and fellow students.  If you have to miss a class or a practice, notify the right people and let them know your plan for making it up to them.  People really appreciate this, it shows respect for their time and shows you care.

Challenge yourself.  You might be well known as a talented athlete, but it doesn’t mean you have to put yourself in that box and stay there.  Be open, engage with different groups of people outside of our circle of teammates. Venture out and try an activity or two that’s out of your comfort zone.

Stay true to yourself.  Be sure to own who you are and keep the “brand” of you.  To know who you are and staying true to that, says a lot about your character.

Learn from your failures.  Whether it’s a loss on the court or a poor grade in the classroom, don’t let failures affect your goals and winning spirit.  Failures and mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow. Embrace them.

Don’t ever stop learning.  Be an active reader.  Learn all that you can, whether it’s within your sport or in your classwork.  One of the best ways to keep growing, is to remain open to new knowledge and insights.  Trust me, this habit will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Keep the big picture in mind.  Your day-to-day life may be hectic, but really try to plan down the road as well.  Keep communication open with the key people in your life and never burn your bridges.  Continue to network, communicate and stay connected with people around you. These skills will help you in all areas of your life.

Good questions are important at student-athlete recruit meetings.  Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for in a school, ask relevant questions.  Some examples are: What is the retention rate of the school? What are some common majors among the current team members?  What is the team’s overall grade point average? Really determine what is important to you, and leave each campus with answers.

Plan A and a plan B.  You should always shoot for the stars and go after your dreams.  In some cases though, life takes us on a different journey or you might experience a few setbacks and bumps in the road.   It’s a great idea to have a well thought out plan and also good to have a backup plan if your first one doesn’t work. You just never know what life has in store.  So keep an open mind!


Being a successful student athlete isn’t easy.  It requires effort, hard work and commitment, demands dedication, discipline and desire.  But.. If you want it bad enough, you can have it! Get your game face on, put in the work and go out an earn it!  


So… How bad do you want it?!


How to have a great Semi-Formal Experience!

Semi-formals are one of the special high-lights of the high school experience.  I remember all the chatter in the halls at school, all the talk and excitement everyone felt, girls talking about the latest dress styles, how they were going to do their hair & makeup and of course, who their date was going to be.  It’s a night full of fun, laughter, time spent with friends and of course, dancing! There are moments in high school you won’t forget, and a semi-formal dance, is one of them! Here are some important steps to take to help make this a night you simply won’t forget!


Plan your Appearance


It’s all about the dress.  Set a time and a date ahead of time with friends to go pick out the perfect dress.  It’s best to start looking a couple of months before your semi-formal. There are various styles and types of dresses you might want.  Be sure to choose something that you love and that you feel the most confident and comfortable in. You want to feel great in what you are wearing!


Find the perfect accessories to match.  It’s a great idea to choose accessories to go along with your dress, after you picked out the perfect one and the shoes to match!


Will it be a tuxedo or suit?  Tuxedos tend to be more on the formal side and traditionally worn at evening events.  A suit is more casual and is considered appropriate for both daytime and nighttime occasions.  If you know who you will be taking to the dance, you might want to check in with her and ask what color her dress is.  You can add a little color and flare to your outfit by adding a few colors to match her dress.


Hair do’s & dont’s.   Decide first who you want to have do your hair.  If you are going to create your own style and do it yourself, start thinking of how you would like to have it. Once you’ve decided on a hairstyle, buy any products or supplies needed (hair spray, clips, curlers etc.) ahead of time, and start practicing so you get your desired style dialed in!  If you want to have a hair stylist do your hair, be sure to book your appointment in advance to secure your spot. Don’t dye your hair right before the dance because you never know what could go wrong! It’s always best to dye your hair a couple of weeks before so you have time to fix any mistakes that might happen.


Decide how you want to do your makeup.  Look at makeup styles online that you like and buy the makeup you will need to perfectly execute the look you are going for.  Practice before the dance so you have it down on the day of. Be sure to only wear the amount of makeup you feel comfortable in.  It’s your choice if you want to go with a lot of makeup, a little or even none. The most important part is that you feel comfortable and beautiful on your night!

Get Ready with your Friends


A little get together.  What better to get ready for the big day then to be surrounded by your friends!  Spend the day talking, laughing and helping each other look your best! There’s nothing like being around positive energy and creating memories you won’t forget!


Dates to the Dance


Your date.  You don’t need a date for a formal dance, but if you want one start figuring out who you might want to take in advance.  If you don’t have a significant other, think about a friend you could ask to go with you as your date or who you think might ask you.  Choose someone who you think you will have fun with!


Going with a group.  Whether you go with just your friends or with a date, go to the dance in a group.  Plan your group a few weeks before the dance. Ask your friends, your date’s friends, and their dates if they want to go together.  It makes doing all of the pre-get together and after activities a lot more fun!


Take pictures


Decide where to take photos.  Once you have your formal group determined you can then decide where you want to take photos before the formal.  There are many different places in Humboldt county you can take some great photos: a backyard, an elegant staircase, a garden full of flowers, on a hilltop overlooking a valley, or along the bridge near the Benbow Historic Inn just to name a few.


What’s for dinner?


Plan where to have dinner.  Have dinner somewhere that everyone in your group likes before the dance.  The restaurant should be near where the dance will be held. Once you have all agreed on a place, make reservations ahead of time because the popular restaurants fill up quickly!


How are you getting to and from the dance?


Figure out your transportation.  There are many options for getting to formal, depending on your budget and what you are wanting.  Taking a limo is definitely a fancy stylish way to arrive to the dance, but may not always be in everyone’s budget.  You can always select a parent or two to drive!


Make a plan afterwards!


What to do after the dance is over.  What you do after the dance is entirely up to you.  Have an idea in mind of what you want to do. A group of your closest friends over for the night is a great way to end an evening!  You can stay up late reminisce about your favorite memories from the dance around a bonfire in the backyard!


In the blink of an eye you will be graduating and your high school years will be over before you know it.  Take moments like the semi-formal dance, and make memories you won’t forget!


Parent's Guide to make it through Senior Year

The time is here, the official countdown. Six months out, from a soon to be empty nest.  Your first thought and temptation is to spend the year in a sad state of mind, thinking about all of the “lasts” you will be experiencing.  The last first day of school, the last varsity game, the last prom picture or the last birthday at home (this one is the real heart stopper).  It’s easy to feel overwhelmingly sad at such a monumental moment of your life after all, you’ve been there from the start!  As emotional as this moment will be for all of you, I would like to pull you out of the rabbit hole that’s so easy to fall into and instead create a Parent’s Guide to making it through Senior Year, perhaps better known as a “bucket list”.  So here it is!

Hire a professional photographer.

Senior and family photos are two very important moments you want to capture, and you want them to turn out flawless.  Try for that one perfect set of family pictures or that one unique senior pose that captures the heart of who your son/daughter truly is.  I know it seems like the kids are all grown, that the need to document their gorgeous faces has lost its urgency as the transitions slow.  Wrong.  That just-finished-childhood-not-quite-adult look is fleeting.  Get someone who knows what they are doing to capture it. 

Failures - talk about them.

Open up and talk about your own failures and how you recovered from them.  Don’t be afraid to be honest and detailed.  We loom so large in our children’s lives as the people who once held superpowers.  Let them know how those powers often failed you as both an adult and a parent. This will be a conversation that sticks in their mind and that they will thank you for. 

Give a gift they won’t forget.

This moment, these last days, are worthy of a gift you both won’t forget.  Although jewelry and watches seem to be traditional choices for senior year, you can also expand on this and choose something unique and original.  Remember, beauty and meaning, not expense, are the key factors in this purchase. 

Share some of your secrets.

This is the time to disclose what they just might not know about you, things about your life that you glossed over, but now realize that they are old enough to understand.  You will be letting them know that things may not always be as they seem, and that they are now a trusted near-adult, worthy of sharing family secrets. 

Before they are gone, let them go.

Some parents keep their children on an insanely tight leash their senior year.  Monitoring their every move, making them check in constantly.  This behavior drives them crazy, also making them feel they are not worthy of your trust.  Once they are on the downhill slope of their senior year, and that college admission check off list is complete, go ahead and let them take a few victory laps!  Let them go out on a school night here and there or stay out a little later than normal.  They need a little taste of freedom after all, they earned it!

This is the time, for those painful talks.

This is the time to sit down and have the discussion, the one you will wish you had if, God forbid, anything was to ever go wrong.  I’m not talking about where your will is or how you would like to see your possessions disbursed.  I am speaking of the talk where you recognize that you are speaking to a near-adult and you tell them things like, why you love or loved their other parent (this goes for divorced parents also), what makes a good marriage, how shocking it was to find yourself a parent and yet how amazing, what kind of wife/mother husband/father you hope they will one day be.  Keep in mind this will feel sad, but while you are still in that day-to-day high school routine, take a moment to talk about the really big things in life. 

Grab them tight and hold them close.

This is the time to revive some of the things that slipped away from what was once, your everyday normal routine.  Go ahead and give them that morning hug, or kiss on the forehead that was, for years, a nightly routine when they were little.  Don’t be afraid to sit by their bed with a hand on theirs.  This is the moment when we clench them even tighter, hold them close enough to take our breath away, and then, we let them go…

Your child’s senior year is going to be filled with many “lasts” and it’s going to be one of the most difficult times of your life.  This will also be one of the most important teaching opportunities as a parent you will ever have.  Pull strength from within, stand up and face this hardship and make every single moment count.  No one ever said parenting was easy, but it sure is worth it!  You will never get these moments back, so make them count!

Parky's Pics Photography 2019 Senior Reps

I just spent the last couple of weeks working on my 2020 senior magazine. I have loved going through the images and seeing what I have accomplished this past year, as well as what I am planning for next year. I am currently accepting applications for 2020 senior Spokesmodel’s. Senior spokesmodel’s help represent Parky’s Pics Photography. We do a fun get to know each other mini session shoot with hair and make up and boutique clothing. You also get a full senior session as well as other styled sessions and perks. These seven ladies below were the 2019 senior spokesmodel’s. We met together and they got pampered with hair and make up and wore clothes from the Boot Leg in Garberville. Once they were feeling beautiful, we did a short mini session. Once all of the mini sessions were finished, we shot a camping themed styled session. We all had a blast. Seniors and their moms included. : ) If any of this sounds like fun to you, contact me to learn more about the program. Message me at Parky’s Pics on Facebook or DM me on Instagram or email me at parkyspics@gmail.com and I will send you all the deets in an online guide and if it sounds perfect for you, I will send you a link to the application! This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on!