By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Dedication, drive and time management: the lives of CWU student-athletes


Shaylee Coulter-Fa’amafu (Jacob Thompson)
Oscar Treacy (Jacob Thompson)

Oscar Treacy


Meet Oscar Treacy, a junior Winger from Melbourne, Australia, majoring in economics and finance at CWU. He’s a key player on the CWU men’s rugby team and is set to graduate in 2025.

Treacy’s journey in rugby commenced at the age of four, heavily influenced by his family’s New Zealand roots. With a lineage deeply ingrained in rugby, he explained that his path in the sport was inevitable, despite brief forays into other sports, “including basketball, Australian Football League (AFL) and track & field,” Treacy said.

Balancing classwork

For Treacy, the core essence of time management revolves around crafting a well-structured schedule that ensures each day runs seamlessly. Amidst a packed academic and athletic schedule, finding time to eat can be a challenge, which he mitigates by prepping meals in advance to facilitate a smooth day.

“The key to managing sports and academics is creating a good schedule and having your day planned out,” Treacy said. “One of the most challenging things is finding time to eat, I find that having food prepped and ready to eat helps massively with making the day go smoothly.”


Adaptability in study strategies is of great importance for Treacy, as he tailors his approach based on the subject. However, a consistent factor in his academic success is minimizing distractions, which he effectively achieves at the library, keeping procrastination at bay.

“The way I study for classes changes from subject to subject but the key for me is removing distractions. For me, the thing that works is going to the library; I find that I am less likely to sit on my phone and procrastinate.”

Treacy offered practical advice for fellow student-athletes seeking a balance between academics and sports—stick to a well-structured system. Maintaining a consistent schedule leads to a stress-free academic life and ensures you don’t fall behind, a situation that could have detrimental consequences for your athletic performance and scholarship eligibility.

“Pick a system and stick with it; having a schedule will allow you to remain stress-free and prevent you from falling behind academically,” Treacy said. “Being behind in the classroom is extremely detrimental to your athletic performance because it causes stress off of the field, and you can become academically ineligible. So, you need to make sure you have a good plan to be in class and get assignments done.”

Student-athlete resources

Treacy revealed that academic coaches and tutors were a major resource that he took advantage of during his early collegiate years. While the coaching initially provided crucial guidance, he now has developed his own academic strategies to manage the workload effectively.

“We are fortunate at CWU to have a fantastic athlete support program. This includes tutors and academic coaches [which]I have used both [of] in the past,” Treacy said. “I found that the academic coaching was useful in my freshman years at CWU to point me in the right direction, but now that I have my own systems and strategies, I’m able to manage the load myself.”

Shaylee Coulter-Fa’amafu


Meet Shaylee Coulter-Fa’amafu, a junior from Brisbane, Australia, and a standout member of the CWU women’s rugby team, where she excels in the lock position. Majoring in business marketing with a minor in digital marketing, she is set to graduate in 2025.

Growing up in Australia, Coulter-Fa’amafu explained that her introduction to rugby was not her first athletic endeavor. She spent her first two years at CWU playing on the CWU women’s basketball team. However, her athletic journey took a turn this year when she switched to rugby after a conversation with the men’s rugby coach last spring. With a background deeply rooted in Australian rugby, she embraced this shift, and her debut 15s game last Saturday marked the start of an exciting new chapter.

Balancing Classwork

Coulter-Fa’amafu is no stranger to the intricate art of time management. After three years of honing this skill, it has become second nature. As a freshman, she wrestled with the adjustment, but by her sophomore year, she had mastered the art of organizing her life. 

“Honestly, after three years of having to learn to manage my time effectively, it’s become something that is second nature now,” Coulter-Fa’amafu said.

At the beginning of each month, Coulter-Fa’amafu sits down to create a detailed schedule on a whiteboard calendar in her room. Having a comprehensive schedule offers a clear picture of how she can allocate her time effectively.

“This helps a lot with seeing what I have to get done every day, classes and all, and then it’s good to see how much spare time I have as well to either do homework or relax,” Coulter-Fa’amafu said.


Coulter-Fa’amafu’s approach to studying adapts to the specific subject at hand, but one constant factor is minimizing distractions. Her go-to location for focused study sessions is the library.

“I spend most afternoons/nights at the library with my former teammate, Tori Maeda, getting as much homework done for the week [as] I possibly can,” Coulter-Fa’amafu shared.

She even revealed her favorite study spot right outside of the Family Resource Center (FRC). This space allows her to complete her studies and engage with fellow athletes and friends in passing. 

Coulter-Fa’amafu understands the significance of finding time for socializing, especially amidst the busy life of a student-athlete. She prioritizes completing her homework during the week, allowing her to have the entire weekend for quality time with friends. 

“Amongst all the madness that comes with juggling the student-athlete life, getting away and spending time with friends is really important. I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say it helps calm the head noise …” Coulter-Fa’amafu said. “… Pushing myself in the classroom and with my class work during the week so [that] I have spare time on the weekend to socialize and just enjoy myself is really important to me.”

This balance helps her unwind and find respite from the demands of her academic and athletic commitments. Furthermore, Coulter-Fa’amafu uses some of her spare time to watch practice films to study the game more comprehensively and identify areas for personal improvement.

“It might be weird to others for me to spend my own time doing this, but as an athlete, it doesn’t really feel like a chore or anything; it’s enjoyable to me,” Coulter-Fa’amafu explained.

Student-Athlete Resources

Coulter-Fa’amafu shared her journey of growth as a student-athlete, recounting her early experience of going to study hall for four hours a week as a freshman. She found it to be an instrumental step in developing time management skills and figuring out effective study routines.

“This [was] mandatory for all first-year athletes, but honestly it really helped me with learning time management and figuring out what study habits best work for me,” Coulter-Fa’amafu said.

In her initial years at CWU, her basketball coach connected her with an academic tutor, which was an invaluable resource that proved essential for excelling in her economics classes, according to Coulter-Fa’amafu.

“The athletics department is really helpful with this kind of stuff and tries their best to make sure we understand that although we are ‘student ATHLETES,’ we are all students first,” Coulter-Fa’amafu said.

In her role as a peer mentor at the FRC, Coulter-Fa’amafu aids other student-athletes in organizing their priorities, encompassing basic needs, class schedules, practice and lifting times, adequate sleep and study hall hours if necessary. Peer mentors can also guide athletes to tutors for subjects they may be struggling with, making this resource crucial for achieving academic excellence.

“I really recommend this to other athletes, even if it’s just for a quarter; it is so useful,” Coulter-Fa’amafu shared. “Austin Lee, the director of the FRC, suggests that if you really buy into the process, it will work wonders, and I agree!”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Observer welcomes feedback and commentary on our stories. We moderate comments to ensure they are relevant and civil, but the content of each comment is the responsibility of its original author. We do not accept comments in languages other than English or which include personal attacks, unprotected speech, vulgarity, promotional material, or statements which are nonsensical or irrelevant to the article being commented upon. You may also consider submitting a letter to the editor or an opinion piece. Click on Contact Us for details.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *