Cura Personalis in College Athletics: A Case Study of Student-Athletes at Georgetown University
Genovese, Nicholas E
College presents a rich opportunity for student-athletes to develop their athletic talents, advance their intellectual abilities, form lasting relationships, and grow in their understanding of who they are and how they fit in the world around them. This holistic approach to student formation is valued at Jesuit, Catholic institutions, such as Georgetown University, grounded in the Ignatian principle of “cura personalis,” meaning care of the whole person. However, student-athletes at Georgetown often encounter lofty expectations to balance their time and energy intensive participation in athletics with a rigorous academic experience. In meeting these extensive demands, student-athletes may miss out on key opportunities to grow in their understanding of who they are and to better prepare for life after Georgetown. This case study of ten student-athletes at Georgetown aims to broadly understand how student-athletes articulate their key life experiences and identify themselves. In acknowledging the key role that college athletics plays in student-athletes’ daily lives, this study delves into four areas of student-athletes’ lives and ways of identifying themselves. These areas include: 1. their transitions to and from Georgetown, 2. their college experiences across academic, athletic, and social contexts, 3. their identities and faith lives, and lastly 4. their social media uses and opinions on Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) legislation. In our conversations, student-athletes at Georgetown demonstrate a deep understanding of their identities that suggests their college experiences at Georgetown have well prepared them to transition beyond college athletics into lives filled with meaning and purpose.
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