When one listens to NIU senior quarterback Chandler Harnish talk about his day, it's like listening to a caffeine-addicted auctioneer.
"Starting Monday, I'm up at 7 a.m.," Harnish said. "I eat breakfast, then I go to the Yordon Center and get the lift done, then eat again, then I watch about an hour to an hour and a half of film, then I go home and I usually find time to take a nap. Throughout the day, I'll work on homework. Sometimes I like to go back to the Yordon Center and watch a little bit more film, and then I'll start preparing for my night class in Naperville, and I'll be gone from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 for that. Then I'll get back home and eat again, then I go to bed, then the next day I wake up early and go through that whole process again."
Every NIU student has a schedule that they follow, and these schedules can be hectic, overwhelming and, sometimes, frustrating to get used to.
However, the busiest day of an average student still doesn't compare to that of a student-athlete; in particular, those of the football team members, who must cram studying, weight-lifting, film study, homework and practice all into one day.
Sophomore defensive back Jimmie Ward also has an extremely busy schedule.
"I get up every day at 8 a.m.," Ward said. "I go to the Yordon Center, eat breakfast, then I either start lifting weights or I go and work with my tutor. Then I go to class, and I have four classes to get through. After all the classes are done, I have to come straight here and I have maybe 10 minutes to get ready for practice. Then I practice. Then after practice, I work with another tutor."
What about after that tutoring session?
"Sometimes I don't have to go to my tutor, and I get to finally go home, but I still have to do homework," Ward said.
So where does time of personal enjoyment fall under these player's schedules?
"It's not easy," Harnish said. "You have to remember to eat, and you have to be able to get sleep at night. Time management is the biggest key, which was the first thing I learned my freshman year. And once you figure that out, it's not as hard as it might be."
Harnish isn't just a regular student; he's a graduate student at NIU working towards his master's degree in finance.
At some point, stress has to become a major factor.
"Sometimes you can get stressed out because you have so many things going on," Harnish said. "Especially for me being a grad student now. I have so many group projects, and my group is always relying on me to do my job."
The group may rely on Harnish to do his part, but they'll have to wait for practice to subside first.
"I've had to tell them that they're going to have to work around my schedule, because from about 1 p.m. to about 7 p.m., I'm busy with football," Harnish said. "But they understand that and they know I try to do as much as I can."
Those are enough activities tightly packed into one day that would make anyone complain, but lucky for NIU fans, Harnish wouldn't change a thing.
"We like to think of this as our full-time job. We put in a lot of hours and we get compensated for it with a full-ride scholarship, and I wouldn't have it any other way," Harnish said.