Bram ten Berge is a University of Mississippi tennis senior from the Netherlands. He has a 3.97 grade point average majoring in Classics with a minor in German. He was recently named the recipient of the H. Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Sports Writer Parrish Alford talked with Berge about his honor and the challenges in succeeding in both areas.
Q: How difficult is it to balance academics with the travel and other demands of your sport?
A: Honestly, it’s a lifestyle, but it’s something I became used to in high school, combining athletics and academics at a level that was competitive already. The difference now is I don’t have to travel an hour to get to the playing center. You have to get into a routine to do things, and if you don’t, things won’t get finished on time. One of the tricks is to do homework and assignments while you’re traveling and not put them off to the last second. It has to do with being smart about it. It’s a discipline.
Q: Are you viewed differently among your student peers because you’re an athlete?
A: My classmates recognize the fact that there’s a lot of work to be done, and that I have to make an effort to combine things. They recognize the talent of being able to combine things in an effective way. Other than that, I don’t think I’m viewed as anything special or different by my classmates. We have good communication and small classes, so everyone knows everyone else well. They recognize I might not have as much time as they do, but we are all very well prepared, so in the end it doesn’t really matter who does what with extra-curricular activities as long as the work in the classroom gets done.
Q: What does the McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athlete Award mean to you?
A: First of all it’s a great honor to be the representative of one university, of Ole Miss. We have so many great student-athletes here. Then to be chosen the overall winner, of every school and every sport in the conference … it’s an amazing honor. There are so many who balance academics and athletics extremely well. To be the recipient of an award covering so many people is mind-blowing.
Parrish Alford/Daily Journal