Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a full-time student and an athlete at the same time? Or how someone has the time to work on their passion and finish up their degree? Well, I’m here to give you a look in to my day and how I make it possible to be a student and race car driver. Hopefully it will inspire you to follow your passion and dreams.
Julie Nataas is a 21 year-old marketing and business student at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She is also an NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster pilot who travels on the weekends with her team, Randy Meyer Racing.
I’m fortunate enough to be a morning person (yes, I say fortunate, because I love being a morning person) and I like to think I learned it from my dad, who has always been, and still is, a hard working entrepreneur who works around the clock to make his business as successful as it is. He made me realize that if I wake up before everyone else, I have a couple hours to work productively without any interruptions. So what do I do? I wake up between 5-7am everyday, even when I want to sleep in I wake up earlier than the birds. But don’t think I’ll stay up late at night. I can’t miss out on my beauty sleep so a reasonable bedtime for me is between 9-11pm. Not exactly the bedtime you would imagine a college student to have, but I like to think that I’m not a normal college student anyway. You can imagine me yawning when I go out for a drink or two with my friends in Santa Barbara.
I have a to do list that is made the night before, but I don’t go straight to my to do list for the day, I hit the gym. Yes, you have probably heard that one before, but the hard work, sweat and endorphins gives me energy, puts me in a better mood and makes me more productive throughout the day. I can’t forget about the fact that I’m driving a car with 4,000 horsepower, that can accelerate at 3-Gs from the starting line, and go 280 mph down the racetrack. The gym is definitely necessary for me.
Now that we have taken a look at my mornings it’s time for school. A class at Antioch lasts for about three hours. I take 15 credits which is the same as 5 classes, each quarter. After I started racing here in the states I had to change my schedule. I went from having morning and midday classes throughout the week to having one online class (which is the maximum of online classes an international student can have) and I try to fit the rest of my classes on Tuesday and Wednesdays. This makes it easier for me to travel out of Santa Barbara on Thursdays and return on Mondays. It doesn’t always work, like this quarter I have two classes on Thursdays. I’m taking the advantage of being allowed to miss two classes. If I travel more than that I have to fly out of Santa Barbara on Fridays instead. As school is a top priority right now, I work around my school schedule because there is only so much time we spend in school. With one more quarter to go I’m graduating in September which means that there is not that much time left before my focus can go toward combining my degree with racing.
During my busiest weeks, I spend my days either in class or in the library getting my assignments done. This is when my to do list is important for me. Without a to do list, I would have been all over the place. Every week I look at what has to been done, when I travel, or don’t have time to do homework, I first make a to do list for that week. Each day I make a new one and cross things off as I get it done. I have also noticed that during my busiest times it’s important for me to stay on track with my routine, specifically staying active. I have a few workouts that take me no longer than 30 minutes that I can do in my garage, at a racetrack, or wherever I need a “quick fix.” At the end of a week it’s normally time for me to head out of town and fly out to meet my team at a racetrack. Today, as I’m writing this I’m two days away to start my trip to Virginia. I’m prepared and ready to focus on my race car again as I’m crossing of my weekly to do lists as the days goes by.
Heading out of Santa Barbara I have the most important things with me: my racing gear, school books and computer. A couple hours flight means that I have time to work and I look at an airplane as a library. Some of my flights have internet too! On my upcoming flight to Virginia I plan to do assignments that are due in weeks from now. Not because I have to, but because I like to be productive and I look at this as a perfect opportunity to make sure I’m ahead of my schedule. I actually do assignments weeks before if I have the time, even when not on an airplane. It feels good and you have the time to focus on other things like racing and loved once.
My schedule can be crazy sometimes, but not as crazy as some other race car drivers, students, or entrepreneurs. I’m working everyday to become a professional drag race driver. I have made my first step by taking my racing career to the U.S. Thanks to Antioch University I get to apply my learning in every aspect of my life. In my classes I can use myself as an example in my assignment and get constructive feedback. This quarter I have a class called video marketing and I’m making a marketing video about myself for my social media. I get to practice what I learn in the classroom by relating it to racing. I learning environment where we can work in teams, get tips, ideas and last but not least get a grade on my work. If you want to be a student and an athlete, entrepreneur or simply just put more effort into your passion, do it! Time management, passion, and dedication is all it takes.
*Featured Photo-Rick Belden Photography