Competing priorities: student athlete managed priorities and still got some sleep

Story by Daniel Celvi

woman hitting golf ball out of sand trap
Elisabeth Rau is a Warner College alumna who was on the CSU Golf Team and University Honors Program during her time in the Department of Geosciences.

Time management is a big deal for most people, college students especially. Jobs, homework, classes, and time to relax and unwind are all important, and quickly eat up time. Recent Warner College graduate Elisabeth Rau started school with a pretty big extra time commitment: she was a student athlete on the Colorado State University golf team, playing her entire time at CSU.

Rau entered CSU as an undeclared student, ultimately deciding to study geophysics and participate in the CSU honors program. Her interest in geologic processes and volcanoes was formed at an early age, in part due to an excursion to Hawaii Volcanos National Park, and seeing the road suddenly end due to an active lava flow “The sight enamored me, and my head filled with questions of the process that made the road impassable.” The push to declare her major came after an entry-level geology course where the TA’s infectious enthusiasm for geosciences helped her make up her mind.

cool lava flow over road in Hawaii
A lava flow abruptly ending a road Rau was driving on with her family sparked an interest in earth sciences.

Finding a home on the golf course

She started playing golf when she was 8 years old, and began competing at 11. Initially, her father started Rau and her sister with golf as a means of socializing, and both of the girls took to it and kept playing competitively. By the time Rau graduated high school, she was offered a split academic and athletic scholarship at CSU. Playing golf in college though meant a big time commitment – tournaments involved significant time spent traveling and could involve over 12-hours on the course. The training involved three hours of daily practices, along with weightlifting and kickboxing – for hip flexibility – several times a week.

Success through time management

So, how did she remain successful in school while balancing her golf career? “When it comes to balancing work, you just kind of prioritize ‘this is what’s important.’ And organize to do lists – this is what you have to do for the month,” Rau said. “You can always find time if it’s something that means a lot to you.” Rau said. And as with all students, late nights were sometimes involved.

“Sometimes you have to make sacrifices if you want to be successful, and especially when you want to be successful in an athletic and academic career.”

She’s done with competitive golf for now, but she thinks those time management skills and discipline for all those years will help with her next venture. She’s now pursuing a master’s degree in Geosciences at Baylor University in Texas.