A - Academics.
Yes, you're an athlete - and that may be what ultimately linked you to the school you're headed to - but you are a student first. The priority on campus for you is to get an education, to build towards a successful future.
A student athlete must understand that some things will change over time: the games and seasons will come to an end, the records and scoring streaks will be written into the history books, and the physical ability, undoubtedly and unfortunately, will eventually diminish.
There is one thing though, that certainly will not change: the education that a student athlete receives is something that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.
Quick Tips for Working Towards Being the Best STUDENT Athlete Possible:
1) Take advantage of the tutors and academic support that is offered to you. They are there to help! Oftentimes, if the student athlete has needs in a subject area not covered by one of the current enlisted tutors, the school will do it's best to hire someone to give that student the best academic assistance possible. These tutoring sessions, however, are not meant as a substitute for actual class time, they are so that student athletes can review the material learned in their classes and lecture halls, giving additional explanation and guidance as required. The tutor or tutoring coordinator tracks each session, reporting back to the student athlete's academic advisor, and, of course, their coaching staff.
2) Use study halls wisely. Many people consider being a student athlete a full time job - if that is the case then study hall should be considered part of the 9 to 5. Come prepared to work, to review, to STUDY. Have the notes and books you need with you, and have plenty to do for the entire period. If you finish what you had planned to do, don't hesitate in getting work done on a future paper or project - there is NO time for a student athlete to procrastinate with his or her schoolwork. The same level of effort that a student athlete puts in on the field, court, or ice, should be replicated in study hall (and then some!). Lastly, and it should go without saying, but be SMART about your smart phone usage - no tweeting, texting, posting, poking or sharing. You are in study hall for the singular purpose to study - begin and end each session with the same focus that you'd bring in to a game with you.
3) Communicate. Just as you communicate with your teammates and coaching staff, you'll need to be just as adept at communicating with coaches and professors off the playing field. Don't understand the subject matter of the lecture? Ask questions. Feel that extra help would be beneficial to you in boosting your 'B' to an 'A'? Do not be afraid to schedule extra help. Do not skip class and do not miss practice because you feel that the other is "taking up too much of my time". Your coaching staff and your academic advisors understand that you are balancing academics and athletics and want to see you succeed - they will help you the best that they absolutely can. That said, student athletes WILL miss classes - due to games, tournaments or other NCAA sanctioned events. The key is communication - let your professors know (in advance) when you will be out - they will work with you and your academic advisor to make sure you have the notes you need and the assignments that are required.